Favorite athlete: Lauren Crandall
Favorite team: Philadelphia Flyers
Favorite memory competing in sports: My favorite memory from Quakertown High School field hockey was last year when we beat North Penn in a home game. The game was amazing! North Penn always makes it to states with a winning record, and Quakertown, a definite underdog, beat them! Being a part of that game was an unforgettable experience.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: Two years ago against Souderton when I was a sophomore, I realized during the first five minutes of the game that my mouth guard was on the sideline in my bag. During an offensive play (I was playing defense), I sprinted off the field, grabbed my mouth guard and sprinted back on. Coach was not too happy about that one!
Music on iPod: I use my iPod for running. On my running playlist, I have upbeat songs by LMFAO, Avicii, and Afrojack.
Future plans: I plan to go to college and major in nursing. After majoring in nursing, I would like to return to college and become a nurse practitioner or a doctor.
Words to live by: ‘You make your own luck.’
One goal before turning 30: My goal is to graduate from college with a nursing degree and to have my own business.
One thing people don’t know about me: My first patient was my kitten Simba. I rescued him from a farm where he was dying of parasites. He was one of the reasons I realized I liked helping people. To this day, Simba, my orange cat, is healthy and alive!
By Mary Jane Souder
Stephanie Thompson became a field hockey player by default.
The Quakertown senior went out for hockey - at her mother’s suggestion - after she was cut from her travel soccer team the summer before her seventh grade year.
“I was pretty upset for about a week,” Thompson said. “I was crying all the time, and my mom said, ‘I’m not going to let you sit around and mope. You have to start a sport again.’”
Thompson obliged, and in retrospect, getting cut might have been the best thing that could have happened to her. She excelled almost immediately on the hockey field, and by the end of her eighth grade hockey season, Thompson had joined the highly competitive club circuit as a member of FSC.
“Ever since then, I started excelling at the sport, and I just had a really good time,” Thompson said. “Because I played soccer, I felt like hockey was easier for me because the way people move in soccer and field hockey is kind of the same, and I had that background.”
Perhaps no one is happier that Thompson choose field hockey than her high school coach, who knew she had inherited a special talent.
“She never played for our freshman program,” coach Peach Draper said. “As a freshman, she played jayvee, and as a sophomore, she played varsity.”
This year Thompson anchors the Panthers at both ends of the field as the center midfielder.
“She has really, really good stick skills because she plays indoors and plays club,” Draper said. “She really shines when we play on turf. She has a great hit, so those two things combined make her a great hockey player.”
Just as she excels on the hockey field, Thompson excels off of it as well, and competing in sports is just a small part of the senior captain’s life. An honors student, Thompson boasts a weighted GPA of 4.0.
“It’s hard,” she said. “It’s a lot of late nights, a lot of last-minute essays. I don’t like getting less than I can. My mom has pushed me every single day to get the best grades I can.”
Thompson is also an executive student council member, one of six elected members. She also is a member of the National Honor Society, and she is involved in the Best Buddies program as well as Key Club and Spanish Club.
“I really like helping people,” she said. “I do Key Club, which is a lot of community service.
“I’m half polish, and every year my grandmother signs me up to be a member of the Polish National Alliance. Every year I find myself at the Polish Harvest Festival dishing ice cream, selling perogies to raise money. I just like helping people.”
It’s that desire to help others that has played a prominent role in Thompson’s career choice. She will be pursuing a career in nursing with her sights set on one day becoming a nurse practitioner or doctor.
“For my senior project, I shadowed a nurse, and I got to do little things,” she said. “It made a big difference to me. I would much rather be helping people than just sitting in a desk in an office. I want to be hands-on.”
According to Draper, Thompson also would be a natural fit in the role of a teacher.
“She has such a good game sense,” the Panthers’ coach said. “She’s academically really smart, so she’s able to direct other people. She’s vocal, and she’s very good at teaching people.”
Thompson was quick study when she joined FSC, a club team that has allowed her to compete in the National Indoor Hockey Tournament three times, the National Hockey Festival twice, and the club indoor championship in Virginia Beach once. She also twice participated in the Disney College Showcase.
“It gave me a lot of confidence,” Thompson said. “I remember after (club) field hockey that first year, my track coach said, ‘You are so much faster. You got so much better.’ Others started to notice.”
When she entered high school, Thompson gave up track and threw all of her energy into field hockey. This past year, she earned a spot on FSC’s ‘A’ squad that was coached by Temple assistant coach Kelly Driscoll. A personal highlight was when her club team qualified for the National Indoor Tournament in Virginia Beach last February.
“We worked so hard,” Thompson said. “We practiced three times a week during the offseason. We basically had a preseason in the middle of the school year.”
Thompson had another thrill in the hockey realm this summer when she traveled to London and saw the United States take on Belgium in field hockey in the Olympics.
“My dad lives in London, and he happened to get field hockey tickets,” Thompson said. “When they first put out the bidding, he bid on field hockey tickets and got the most he could.”
Thompson also saw a field hockey game between Brazil and China as well as two soccer games and a badminton game.
“It was amazing,” she said. “There were so many people in London. I’ve been to London before, but the atmosphere was so much better.
“Everyone was so into it, and everyone just came together.”
Making the experience even more memorable was the fact that earlier this year Thompson had met US National Team captain Lauren Crandell when the former Central Bucks East star led a clinic for her FSC team.
“I had a chance to meet her, I got a picture with her,” Thompson said. “It was great, and then I got to watch her play. It was amazing.
“She started playing field hockey in eighth grade, the same time I did. She’s just a great all-around person.”
Thompson is enjoying her final high school season with her sister Megan, who is a sophomore. Her younger sister, Anna, is in eighth grade but received permission to play on the freshman team.
“It’s not an issue as far as getting along,” Draper said of the siblings. “When we partner up, Stephanie will partner with her sister. You rarely see that type of thing.”
Thompson admits that hockey is a family affair.
“Everyone jokes around, ‘Here comes the Thompson team,’” she said. “It’s really not that bad. Megan and I work well together on the field.
“It’s hard seeing each other all the time – at field hockey, school and home, but it’s really okay, and I think we’ve gotten closer because of it.”
Thompson is hoping to play hockey at the collegiate level, most likely at the club level if she attends a Division One school.
For now, she is helping to lead her high school squad and enjoying every minute of her final season with her sisters.
“It’s going to be bittersweet,” she said. “I’m definitely going to come back and watch them.”