By Sheri Duff
Amanda Whitbeck is a playmaker. According to Champlain Valley Union (CVU) head field hockey coach Kate McDonald, “Amanda’s skills have improved tremendously over the past year. She’s matured individually as a player and as a leader for her teammates. She has already made an impact on the field, scoring our first goal of the season and assisting on the second in our 2-0 win over Colchester,” she noted. “Amanda will be a major part of our offense this season, and we’ll rely on her to be a playmaker. I’m thrilled with her progress and am anticipating great things from her this season.”
Born on April 19, 1996, Whitbeck has lived in Shelburne her entire life. Her family includes parents Marie and Bruce and older brother Andrew, a sophomore at Stonehill College.
Whitbeck picked up a field hockey stick for the first time in sixth grade. “I used to play soccer,” she reminisced. “I was a goalie. Because of my height, I found it challenging to play that position when the goals reached seven feet so I decided to switch sports.” She began her field hockey career at summer camp. “I went to a St. Mike’s or UVM camps every summer since middle school. I think I attended camp longer than any other field hockey player.”
Her hard work and devotion is paying off for the Redhawks. “I’m highly motivated. I’m always trying to improve and I think my teammates notice my determination,” Whitbeck said in answer to a question. “I try to lead by example.”
She doesn’t just try; Whitbeck is a shining example on and off the field. A member of CVU’s senior class counsel, a two-year varsity field hockey player, a Hannaford cashier, and a pianist of 13 years, Whitbeck performed a cover of “Skinny Love” at Vermont HAS Talent in March. “Performing on stage at Vermont HAS Talent is my greatest achievement,” Whitbeck said thoughtfully. “I’m not self-conscious about playing the piano, but singing in front of a crowd is very personal. The whole thing was very nerve-wracking,” she admitted. “I’m really glad my friends encouraged me to perform; it was such a rewarding experience.”
What experience has this CVU senior chosen for next year? “I’m going to college,” Whitbeck answered quickly. She has nearly completed her applications and trimmed her essays for her top three college choices. “My top picks [the University of Rochester, Colgate University, and Union College] offer the major I want to pursue—neuroscience or biomedical engineering—and they all have beautiful college campuses. Plus I happen to have nearby family at all three so I’ll be happy attending any one of them,” she added.
Fortunately there is plenty of time for academic pursuits…for now Whitbeck is looking to work hard, find a way to dig deep, and help lead the CVU girls field hockey team back to its winning ways.