Emily Elderton is passionate about field hockey. And that’s not all. She’s gregarious too. Her outgoing personality flew over the phone lines as we fell into an easy repartee. Rice head field hockey coach Kelly McClintock alluded to her senior defender’s personality, “Emily is a huge presence on the field and she is a rock wall on defense. She is totally committed and has developed a loyal following on the team.” She continued, “She’s goes above and beyond. And although she is absolutely hysterical—she takes field hockey very seriously.”
Born in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Sept. 29, 1994, Elderton and her family moved to Shelburne when she was only two. Her family includes parents, Susan and Jim or “Eldo,” eldest brother “Bert,” a 21-year old sister she calls by her nickname “Geleur,” another brother “James,” a sophomore at St. Michael’s College, and two Cairnoodles named Lucy and Lucky.
Elderton clearly remembers her first foray into field hockey. “Most of my friends started field hockey in sixth grade but not me. I was told that since I didn’t play in sixth grade I probably wouldn’t make the team. Of course I had to prove them wrong,” she insisted. “I tried out and made the team. And that’s how it all started.”
A three-year varsity field hockey player for the Green Knights, Elderton was promoted to captain by coach McClintock halfway through the regular season. “Emily is so passionate about field hockey that I made her a captain this year. She uses her initiative and boosts the team’s morale. She cares so much about everyone. It gives me chills to see how much Emily stepped it up this season.”
“The team nicknamed me Big Mamma because I help everyone. I’m nice, happy, and nurturing. And when something truly amazing happens I do the Big Mamma dance,” she explained. Although Elderton doesn’t want to overuse it, no one would blame her for doing the Big Mamma dance when the Green Knights completed a perfect regular season (14-0-1) or after Rice punched its ticket to the DIII title game for the fourth time in five years.
Surprisingly it is not for her field hockey prowess for which she is most proud. “I have to admit that my greatest achievement was receiving an award for excellence in advance graphic design,” she shared. “I won the award last year and I’m very proud of it.”
After graduation Elderton would like to attend college in Ohio to study graphic design. Why Ohio? “This may sound crazy but I took out a large map, closed my eyes, and pointed my finger and picked Ohio. It’s a simple as that.” For now she is contemplating her options and working on her applications. In fact, she just completed an essay in which she describes how she realized that her moniker Big Mamma was a meaningful nickname. Now that deserves another Big Mamma dance.