Each time Nora Struchtrup stepped onto the pitch at the 2019 Train 2 Compete Regional Championship she was fully focused, ready to make an impact for her Island Stingrays team. That doesn’t mean you won’t catch her smiling away on the pitch as a result of her genuine love for the game.
The 16 year-old Victoria native played a huge role in the victory of the Island Stingrays at the Train 2 Compete Tournament. Her first quarter goal in the gold medal game led the Stingrays to a 1-0 win over the Northwest Jellyfish. As a natural forward with her speed and skill on display, Struchtrup’s standout performance has landed her a spot on the U18 BC Stags.
Struchtrup first played field hockey when she was 11 years old with the Victoria Rising Stars program and despite trying many other sports, nothing was ever quite the same.
“I’m a passionate player, I really love what I do,” explained Struchtrup. “I’m aggressive and I have fun while I play which I think is a good blend. I love the running and tipping, trying to beat other people’s speed. As soon as I tried field hockey I was stuck, there’s something about it I just love it.”
Her first experience with Field Hockey BC was in the Learn 2 Train program and she has continued with the high performance program ever since.
“It’s a lot of like-minded girls, we all work hard and push ourselves,” said Struchtrup. “It’s such a great program, it really brings the extra intensity that I love and I think it has played a huge role in my development and continued love for the game.”
In her first year of Train 2 Train, Struchtrup was selected to the reserve pool for Team BC and one week before the National Championships, she got the call inviting her up to the BC White team. She has since played for the U15 BC Stags and last summer, the U18 BC Lions. Her team turned some heads at the 2018 National Championships in Toronto where they came in and defeated one of the favourites in Ontario West on the first night of the tournament.
“That was a crazy game,” reflected Struchtrup. “Normally I remember most of the game, I do not remember a single thing that happened in that Ontario West game. I was so in the zone, we were all super intense and supporting each other, it was such a cool experience.”
After last year’s fourth place finish at Nationals and going into her fourth National Championships this coming summer, she sees the National Championships as a huge motivator to continue to improve and push for the next level.
“The Regional program is already a huge step up and then the Provincial program is amazing, it pushes you physically and mentally, you get to make some new friends and it’s just so much fun,” explained Struchtrup. “I just want to keep coming back and keep playing.”
Struchtrup will be taking another step in her field hockey development this summer, as she will have her first opportunity to play with the Field Hockey Canada NexGen Squad. She was recently invited to the U17 tour in Belgium and the Netherlands which will take place prior to her participation in the National Championships. This opportunity is extra special for Struchtrup as her extended family lives in Germany and will be traveling to the Netherlands to watch her play.
Beyond this summer, Struchtrup has her sight set on making the Canadian National team one day. She also aspires to go to UBC or the University of Victoria to study and play field hockey and with her German heritage, maybe even attend school there and play field hockey for a German club team.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting year coming up and seeing where these opportunities take me.”
The future certainly looks bright for this young athlete from Victoria and we can’t wait to follow her progress at the National Championships and beyond!