Gab Maisto has always had an interest in attending Montclair State University to play field hockey. As a dedicated and growing athlete Maisto has been to many of Monclair’s camps, clinics, and games. Maisto currently plays for West Essex High School and NJ Grit Field Hockey Club. She cherishes the memories made both on and off the field, like going to tournaments and growing close with teammates, coaches being tough while also making herself and teammates laugh, and getting through tough drills and games together. As Maisto began her recruiting process, she looked for similar team cultures. “Montclair State appealed to me because it was really the only school I saw myself at, the only school I’ve wanted to play at. It reminds me of West Essex, I liked the team vibe a lot” said Maisto about her decision.
Maisto prides herself on her work ethic and leadership skills and felt that Eileen O’Reilly, the Montclair Field Hockey head coach, really noticed these attributes in Maisto as well. “She noticed I was always willing to go into drills I might not have been too familiar with and she liked my overall attitude” said Maisto. Maisto feels that O’Reilly’s goals for their team align well with what she wants to achieve as a collegiate field hockey player. “I had a conversation where she was telling me she wanted me to come to Monctair and help us beat TCNJ, our longtime rival, and make history. It made me feel like I have a purpose to go do something and make history there. It motivated me and really pushed me to go to Montclair.”
At Montclair, Maisto will major in Exercise Science which gives her an opportunity to focus on both medicine and athletics. “When majoring in Exercise Science, you have a lot of different paths you can go down which I like a lot.” Ultimately, Maisto hopes to become a physical therapist. “It’s a career that has always interested me. I like the aspect of understanding what is going on with your body while playing sports. You get to learn about the body and learn how to solve different problems and injuries. It’s something new everyday and I don’t think I’d ever get bored.”
Throughout the recruiting process, it was important for Maisto to stay at a competitive level both physically and mentally. Maisto prioritized staying in shape all year around. This included motivating herself in the offseason, pushing herself and teammates during training, and working on individual skills such as stick skills or footwork. She also had to continue to enhance her mental strength. “I am definitely a bit of a perfectionist, I would get frustrated throughout the recruiting process. I had to continue telling myself not to worry about everything so much and allow everything to fall into place.” Looking back, Maisto wished she told herself that more and reminded herself that everything happens for a reason.
Maisto also considered finances throughout the recruitment process. “It made sense and balanced itself economically. I wanted to go to school down south but I knew I wouldn’t be able to play in the south. I also knew I didn’t want to be in debt.”
As Maisto thinks about her future at Montclair State she already has relationships with her future teammates. Lizzy Cimmiluca, a West Essex High School graduate and current NJ GRIT Field Hockey coach is currently a senior at Montclair State. “It would be really great to get to play with her and it’s been great to have her there.” Maisto has also already found her potential roommate, who she thinks will be a perfect roommate for her! “One of my future teammates is actually a player for Eastern. We met at one of the games, went to lunch together, and we seem to be really similar in many ways. We talk a lot through Snapchat and texting. I think it’s really funny that she goes to Eastern!” (Eastern is a major field hockey rival of West Essex)
Maisto looks forward to improving her confidence and stick skills on the field. As for her personally, “I am excited to live on my own and am really looking forward to being independent.” With all the excitement, Maisto looks to focus on her school work while also excelling in athletics and ensure she is able to balance her time.
High School/Grit History
Maisto started playing field hockey in 7th grade because her friends had joined the middle school team. She wasn’t sure what the sport was but was willing to give it a try. “I noticed I was a good runner and thought to myself, ‘I can do this and this is a lot of fun’. From that moment on I just kept building and improving.”
At West Essex, Maisto’s proudest moment was when she made varsity her junior year. “I pushed myself and worked really hard all summer. I was motivated and came into my junior year with a vengeance and when varsity was announced I was really proud of myself for accomplishing that.”
“I want to first thank my mom because she basically paid for me to do all these amazing things. I wouldn’t be able to do field hockey without her and she has supported me in every way; even at times when I was mean to her” she said with a laugh. Maisto also thanks her coaches and teammates for giving her the opportunity to learn from them. “I loved being able to learn things from my teammates and their work ethic always motivated me 100%.”