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Garcia plays in AAU field hockey tournament

Jamie Garcia, who will be a junior once Fallbrook High School resumes classes, spent August 2-7 playing field hockey at the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic tournament in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

“It was a lot of fun, great experience,” Garcia said. “It’s a whole new experience for me.”

Garcia had earned a berth in the AAU tournament through her performance in the June 24-30 National Futures Championship tournament, when Garcia was on the California under-16 regional team. Garcia’s team won its pool at the National Futures

Championship and finished 3-3 overall to finish seventh among the 16 teams.

“I think it’s just wonderful that they’ve recognized her skills,” Fallbrook High School field hockey coach Kathy Waite said of Garcia’s selection to the Junior Olympic competition. “It’s quite an honor to be chosen.”

Garcia, a center-midfielder on Fallbrook’s field hockey team, has the distinction of being the only freshman field player to earn a berth on the varsity squad since Waite began coaching the varsity in 1982. “That was a whole new experience because no other freshman had ever done it before, so I was very thrilled that she had picked me,” Garcia said. “I had just worked very hard to be on the team with all the older girls.”

Garcia became a starter on the Warriors as a sophomore and was an Avocado League honorable mention selection in 2009, making her the only Fallbrook High School sophomore to earn all-league honors. She was one of only two sophomores to earn Avocado League honors. “That was really cool,” she said. “That was a big honor for me to be on the all-league team.”

Garcia, who attended Frazier Elementary School and La Paloma Elementary School before two years at Potter Junior High School, began playing field hockey in seventh grade. Her older sister, Noelle, played field hockey in seventh and eighth grades before becoming a cross-country star at Fallbrook High School. “She really liked it,” Garcia said of her sister’s field hockey experience. “I heard the coach was really great, so I wanted to try out.”

Garcia tried out for the Potter team along with her friends. “I just loved it,” she said of the sport.

Garcia was selected as an alternate for the 2010 National Field Hockey Indoor Tournament. She earned her berth in the National Futures Championship from her performance at the regional tournament. “It was cool just playing with different girls that were actually my age,” she said of the under-16 National Futures Championship tournament.

The Junior Olympic tournament teams were named for their colors and were not based on regions. Garcia was one of two Californians and the only Southern Californian on the Navy team. “It was different playing with girls that you’ve never played with before,” she said. “You don’t know their strengths and weaknesses and how they play.”

Garcia was one of three San Diego County players and one of six California players to participate in the eight-team tournament.

Garcia and the Navy team played in six matches at the AAU competition. Although her team didn’t win the championship, Garcia felt that she achieved her goals of exposure and experience at a higher level.

“I’m just so excited for her,” Waite said.

Last year the Warriors reached the CIF finals before a 1-0 loss to San Pasqual. Waite is expected to retire after this year’s field hockey season, which will be her 30th overall with the field hockey program. “We just want to have a really great season this year,” Garcia said.

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