Fielding New Leadership

Two new experienced coaches find their way to the Clayton field hockey team.

The girls field hockey team.

Katherine Sleckman

The girls’ field hockey team.

Barrett Bentzinger and Erin Bingaman

“Our coaches are passionate, energetic, strong, and motivating. They are incredible coaches, friends and role models to the team. Both coaches never fail to empower us on and off the field,” Jenny Braverman, CHS senior and four year member of the field hockey team, said.
With the absence of both former head coach Darby Hille and former assistant coach Donna Weber this season, the Clayton field hockey team is joined by two new hounds, head coach Anne Kinney and assistant coach Irene Taranhike.
Kinney and Taranhike have extensive backgrounds in field hockey. Both have played for upwards of 15 years, and share 15 years of combined coaching experience.
The knowledge Kinney and Taranhike have on field hockey does not go unnoticed by the CHS field hockey team.
“They bring such optimism to the sport and they have caused us to act more like a team than we ever have,” Braverman said. “We are so thankful to have them, they have become really great mentors to us and they make us look forward to practices and games.”
Both coaches have field hockey experience based outside of the US. Kinney played for three years with the Paraguayan international team and found the style of play to be very fun and innovative.
“As a player, I never expected to play hockey internationally. The past three years I played with a Paraguayan national team, competing in another language and playing a really fun and innovative style of hockey – that was definitely not something I ever thought I would do,” Kinney said.
Kinney returned to the US from Paraguay over the summer and wanted to become a coach again, something she has done in different roles for eight years.
“Upon moving back to the US, I was pursuing a coaching opportunity since I would no longer be playing competitively. Clayton contacted me and the rest is sweet history,” she said.
Taranhike, who is a Zimbabwe native, believes that field hockey has had a monumental impact on her life.
“I would not be on this side of the ocean had it not been for field hockey,” Taranhike said. “It opened the door for me to pursue my passions and career – I came to America on a field hockey scholarship and it has continued to surprise me with sweet opportunities.”
Kinney hopes to strengthen not only field skills, but life skills as well.
“Half the lessons one learns in sports are applied not on the field, but in life,” Kinney said.
Taranhike shares her sentiments, agreeing on the importance of applying certain skills on and off the field.
“If you are going to do something, do it well. When it’s time to work-work hard, it’ll pay off but never forget to have fun in the process,” Taranhike said.
The coach’s enthusiasm has also affected the spirit of the players.
“I think that we have become more of a team this season. We win together and we lose together,” Braverman said. “This season, we have learned to focus on our strengths and improve our weaknesses. We have learned different ways to think about the sport.”