National indoor field hockey tournament, how 2021 matched up to previous competitions

ZOE MIKLES, Features Editor

     Hundreds of teams, two locations, one trophy. The 2021 national indoor field hockey tournament was spread over three weekends. According to the official USA field hockey website, “The National Indoor Tournament provides a competitive environment for club teams to compete from all over the country.” 

     Due to the large number of teams competing and the limited amount of space available due to COVID-19, the tournament had to occur at two different venues over three weekends. has the NIT schedule, “on February 26-28 U-10 (under 10) and U-12 teams competed, U-14 girls competed on the weekend of February 12-15, U-16 teams played on February 19-21 and U-19 teams competed on February 26-28.” The U-10, U-12, U-14 and U-16 national tournaments were held at Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Spooky Nook is the “largest sporting complex in Northern America”, according to their website. The U-19 tournament was played at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Virginia.

   USA field hockey comments that there were “around 600 teams” competing at NITs in 2020. The 2021 tournaments had more participation than ever before and due to COVID-19, precautions had to be put in place. NHHS junior Hannah Krizek attended the U19 tournament and added that, “NITs were extremely safe this year in regard to COVID.” According to the USA field hockey website, each team was to enter the building at a different time according to the court they were playing on. There were also “plexiglass separated warm up areas.” Krizek explained that, “every morning players had to fill out a health checklist and masks were worn at all times, even while playing. 

     The National tournament is the last indoor tournament of the club season for many and one of the biggest tournaments of the year. Collegiate coaches were not allowed to attend. USA field hockey live streamed the events for free to every college field hockey coach. According to Krizek, “NITs is a huge opportunity for college scouting.” Krizek added that her team’s “nerves were high walking into the arena knowing that there were a lot of people watching,” but her nerves calmed as soon as she began to play. 

     U-19 club teams from all over the country migrated to Richmond, Virginia to compete in NITs.  Krizek commented that, “It was very cool to play teams from other states that [she] hasn’t played before.”  Krizek’s club team played teams from as close as Westminster, Maryland and “as far as Chicago, Illinois.”  For Krizek, her overall experience was, “much more fun than [she] thought it would be, [her] team pulled together and played really well.”  USA field hockey’s official website thanks all athletes who participated and they are, “looking forward to 2022!”