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Narleski will be attending James Madison University in Virginia to play field hockey this upcoming season. Her tenacity and grit are some of her greatest strengths and is what helped her realize JMU would be a great fit for her. “All of the coaches and players are extremely enthusiastic and energetic, they made me feel like a part of their family immediately. Head Coach Christy Morgan is all about working hard, playing with grit, and focusing on being the best you can be to help your team win championships. That excites me.”
Visiting the campus and getting a true feel for the campus and environment was a critical selling point for Narleski. “The first time I visited the campus, I was amazed by how beautiful it was. It truly felt like home. I could picture myself living there.”
Next year, Narleski looks forward to acclimating to the Division I play at JMU as well as growing as a player. “In addition to continually improving my stick skills, I am working on developing my wide-range shot selection. College field hockey is such a high level of play that you need to be able to shoot from all different positions and angles. I want to get creative with my play.”
Narleski has a positive outlook on this upcoming year at JMU. She knows the transition from high school to collegiate play and life at college will be a big jump and she is prepared and looking forward to it. “I’m more excited than nervous about college. I can’t wait to go to JMU, and play with the team at such a high level of hockey. And I’m really excited to play for Coach Morgan because she has so much wisdom; I think I’ll learn a lot from her not only about the game but life lessons as well.”
Julie Narleski is a hardworking and dedicated player on and off the field. Her high school career and recruiting journey was unique. Narleski endured 2 ACL tears throughout her high school field hockey and lacrosse careers. For many, this would deter them from continuing their athletic career but for Narleski it made her more focused and more determined to not only continue her athletic career but pursue Division I field hockey. “I was anxious about the recruiting process because mine was extremely condensed due to my injuries. My ‘season’ basically consisted of 6 weeks during the summer before my senior year! To prepare, I worked like crazy with my physical therapist to expedite my rehab, and a speed coach to increase my stamina and acceleration.
In addition to NJ GRIT practices, every day I tried to get a stick in my hand, whether that meant going to the turf to play with my family or doing 15 minutes of stickwork in my basement.” For many players, getting recruited during COVID came with some challenges but for Narleski it actually worked in her favor. “I tore my second ACL during the summer of 2020 playing lacrosse and missed my junior year field hockey season. Because of COVID college camps were canceled or postponed, and the dead period kept getting extended, so college coaches were more flexible with recruiting at a slower pace and later than usual in terms of timeframe. So I was able to get strong and healthy before the summer after my junior year to showcase myself.”
High School/Grit History
Narleski is a part of an athletic family. She has an older sister who is currently playing at the Division 3 level as well as a younger sister who is following in their field hockey footsteps as well. She credits her older sister in helping her to get involved with field hockey. “I actually started playing field hockey my freshman year. I quit an intense club soccer team right before 9th grade because the commitment wouldn’t allow me to pursue other sports. My older sister played field hockey so I thought ‘why not give it a shot and have some fun with her before she went off to college.’ I’m very glad I made that decision”.
Narleski has worked hard and has continued to develop and grow through her high school and club career. “I think my speed with the ball and my stick work improved the most this year. I’ve picked up some new skills and through practice reps, I do them without thinking about it. That’s helped to increase my confidence and elevate my game.” When talking with Narleski about her strengths as a field hockey player she highlighted her leadership strengths as well as her physical, on the field strengths. “I would say my biggest strength is my relentlessness. It’s an intangible skill that you can’t teach and it’s what makes me stand out as a player. I’m very persistent in trying to win the ball and move it up field to create scoring opportunities.
At Ridge, I was a very vocal captain and played either center mid or center forward, which allowed me to direct play and distribute the ball up field. My leadership role on my club team is heading the attack. Whether I’m an outside wing or center forward, I’m always trying to create scoring opportunities and connect the midfield to the forward line.”
Narleski is an extremely versatile leader and player for all of her different teams and positions. “I want to thank my mom and dad. They did so much for me over the past 4 years; from getting me the best trainers, driving me into the city for physical therapy, and doing whatever they could to help my dreams of playing collegiately become a reality. They are truly my biggest cheerleaders and I’m so grateful for their love and support. I also want to thank my physical therapist. He pushed me everyday and helped me come back stronger than I have ever been.”