Fallbrook High School senior Maddie Ashbrook signed a letter of intent to play collegiate field hockey at Cal.
Ashbrook was one of 132 student-athletes who signed letters of intent during a Feb. 5 ceremony at the San Diego Hall of Champions.
“It was a cool opportunity. It was fun to be with all my friends and be surrounded by other student-athletes who had the same experience as me,” Ashbrook said.
“It was a really cool experience,” Ashbrook said. “Just a really awesome opportunity to be able to sign for a college I love.”
Ashbrook was also considering the University of Massachusetts, Cornell, Boston University, and the University of the Pacific before setting upon the Bears. “I liked the fact that it was in California and I liked the school and the atmosphere and I really liked the team,” she said.
“We’re excited to have her. One of the top kids out of San Diego,” said Cal coach Shellie Onstead.
Onstead first watched Ashbrook during the 2013 Disney Showcase, when Ashbrook was a junior. “I started paying attention and watched her develop,” Onstead said. “Turned out pretty good.”
In her first varsity field hockey season, Ashbrook earned all-league second-team recognition from the Avocado League coaches in 2012. Ashbrook played forward during her junior year and contributed eleven goals and five assists for the 2012 Warriors. As a senior in 2013, she was a first-team Avocado League selection and was also placed on the all-CIF first team. Ashbrook, who was Fallbrook’s center-midfielder as a senior, scored 15 goals and had nine assists for the Warriors in 2013.
Ashbrook was a forward during her freshman year on the junior varsity team before becoming the JV squad’s center-midfielder as a sophomore. The fact that she was both a forward and a center-midfielder on the varsity and earned all-league designation at both positions gives Onstead options. “It depends on the need at the time and what our strengths and weaknesses are,” Onstead said.
Onstead noted that many college field hockey recruits were high school midfielders, since that position requires significant skill and the best high school players are often midfielders. “We’ve got to find kids who have a pretty good basic skill set,” she said.
Ashbrook was also Fallbrook’s varsity captain as a senior.
“So proud of Maddie for all her work and team emphasis to get to Berkeley,” said Fallbrook coach Kathy Waite. “I feel blessed to be a part of Fallbrook field hockey, the team, and her success.”
In addition to participating in the Disney Showcase following her junior field hockey season, Ashbrook also played in the National Indoor Tournament and the National Futures Tournament.
Ashbrook is a member of the Rush field hockey club which also includes Ashbrook’s best friend, San Pasqual High School senior Mara Gutierrez. Gutierrez also signed with Cal during the Feb. 5 ceremony. “I’m really excited. It’s nice to have her go there with me,” Ashbrook said.
Cal also signed La Costa Canyon senior Zoe Randolph. “That’s a good thing, too,” Onstead said.
Onstead explained that the San Diego recruits have experience playing on the same team prior to joining the Cal squad. “Makes a difference,” she said.
Ashbrook played for Rush in the inaugural Moorpark Hockey 5 Christmas Classic Tournament which took place Jan. 2-5. In Rush’s Jan. 3 game she tore her meniscus and her anterior cruciate ligament.
Onstead honored Cal’s scholarship commitment even after Ashbrook’s injury. “That was nice. That was exciting,” Ashbrook said.
“We’ve been through this before and I expect that to be kind of a small bump for her going forward,” Onstead said of the knee injury.
Ashbrook expects a five to six month recovery period. “It’s not as fast as I want it to be, but it’s fast enough,” she said.
Cal will start practice in August, but Ashbrook plans to leave for Berkeley in July to attend summer school and thus complete her rehabilitation there. Onstead noted that one of the Bears players completed her rehabilitation at Cal last year. “It was remarkable how much that helped her,” Onstead said.
Ashbrook expects to be ready to play by the start of the Bears’ 2014 season, and Onstead is willing to utilize her on the field if she is fully recovered. “It’s a timing thing,” Onstead said.
“It’s about the player first. She’s got plenty of time,” Onstead said. “I’m much more concerned about somebody going back too soon.”
National Collegiate Athletic Association rules give a player four years of eligibility within a five-year period after first becoming a full-time student. A player who redshirts, or does not play in a game, does not lose that year of eligibility if she has not already had a year as a full-time student in which she did not play.
“I’m very patient. When she’s ready, fully ready, she’ll play,” Onstead said. “I expect her to help out the team when she’s ready to go.”
Rush played four additional games in the five-on-five tournament after Ashbrook’s injury. She sat on the bench and served as an assistant coach. Ashbrook will continue to serve as an assistant coach for Rush while on the bench. “It’s really hard, but it’s nice,” she said. “I can get better mentally.”
Ashbrook is leaning towards a business major at Cal and is contemplating law school. She took a 3.67 grade point average into her final high school semester. “I definitely got in with the help of Shellie,” Ashbrook said.
Ashbrook has confidence that she can make the transition from high school to Cal both academically and athletically. “I’m just excited to start my journey and I can’t wait for the next four years,” she said. “I’m excited that my next four years are going to be at Cal.”