Staff Writer: Michael Wayne O’Neill
The Wingate field hockey program started its inaugural season with shutout losses on the road to Frostburg State and Indiana University of Pennsylvania Sept. 1-2, but the experience it took to get here started with inaugural head coach Kat Lind.
Her experience with field hockey as a player and coach is nothing new. She previously started a program at Coker University in 2018. Three years later, she led the Cobras to their first-ever South Atlantic Conference Tournament championship.
Lind was on a campus with a similar Southern feel at Coker in Hartsville, S.C., and her plan is to bring the same vibe here that she left there.
Since her arrival in September of 2021, Lind has recruited 24 players for the program. Regardless of the opening-weekend losses, Lind is excited about starting her third field hockey program from scratch.
“Going into this year, I think the number one focus for the entire season is establishing a really strong culture,” Lind said. “When I came on campus, I felt how strong of a culture Wingate has and just the overall vibe of feeling how competitive all the athletic teams are and I knew that was probably the number one thing to focus on this year because it’s going to set us up for success for years.”
Lind was a four-year member of the field hockey program at American International College and also played lacrosse for one season at the Springfield, Mass., school. She had a coaching change going into her senior year, but it proved successful for her and her former teammates.
Beyond her graduation from American International, Lind landed her first coaching gig at Elmira College in 2011. It followed with stops at Newberry and Coker to start the D2 field hockey programs at those two South Carolina colleges.
Before the Bulldogs went up to Frostburg, they hosted Meredith College in an 11-on-11 scrimmage to “get nerves out, work on formations and see everything in practice come into play in a game-like situation.”
Wingate has 19 freshmen, one sophomore, one junior and one senior on the 2022 team, goalkeeper Gianna Musicaro (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.), who along with Belmont Abbey grad transfer Camrynn Aiello (Centereach, N.Y.), will serve as a captain. Musicaro is the only true upperclassman who had previously been a student at Wingate before this fall.
The Bulldogs will host Lind’s old school, Coker, on Sept. 10 at Graham Gill Field for their first home game in search of a first program win.
Lind can’t wait.
“Especially in our first year with everything being a historic moment, the thing I’m excited about is when we score the first goal in the history of Wingate field hockey,” Lind said. “That’s such a big, moving moment and I’ve seen it with our first win and everything. … Just knowing that I have a family at home, [these girls] are my second family. I’m really excited about all of them.”