The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

4 state championships for 4 varsity Knights

Senior field hockey captains drive home a legacy they’ve built since grade school.
Abby+Zanelli+%28Bucknell%29%2C+Nicole+Campolattaro+%28Columbia%29%2C+Ali+Simmons+%28TCNJ%29+and+Evie+Minnella+%28Villanova%29+will+all+continue+their+field+hockey+careers+in+college.
Illustration by Alejandra Muñoz
Abby Zanelli (Bucknell), Nicole Campolattaro (Columbia), Ali Simmons (TCNJ) and Evie Minnella (Villanova) will all continue their field hockey careers in college.

It’s a chilly day, but sunny on the turf. The varsity Field Hockey team is preparing for their game. As the new players gather, four seasoned athletes prepare to lead warmups. Seniors and captains Evie Minnella, Nicole Campolattaro, Ali Simmons and Abby Zanelli have been WEFH athletes since freshman year and have won four state championships during their high school careers.

As their chapter as West Essex field hockey players come to an end, these girls have bright futures ahead of them. All four will continue to play field hockey at college. Minnella will be at Villanova University, Campolattaro will be at Columbia University, Zanelli will be at Bucknell University and Simmons will attend The College of New Jersey.

These seniors have been playing field hockey since elementary school and some even earlier. Once they picked up their sticks for the first time, they knew they were going to play for a long time. 

“I grew up around a lot of field hockey and spent lots of time on the turf even before I was playing,” Minnella said. “I ended up actually learning how to play and playing competitively when I was in first grade.”

Some picked up the sport later in their life, but still have as much passion.

“I learned how to play field hockey at the WEFH Edge Camp on the West Essex turf when I was in 5th grade,” Campolattaro said. “I immediately fell in love with the sport and wanted to continue to play it.”

This experience has translated to their success, leading them to win the state championship each year of high school. Their hard work and dedication greatly contributed to this achievement, a triumph that most field hockey players won’t ever experience.

From dancing in the locker rooms to creating fun practice games, they say they will never forget this part of their lives. The past years when these four girls have poured their blood, sweat and tears into the team have given them experience that will help them in the futures. The countless friendships they have made on their journey and the lessons they have learned have shaped each of them into the people they are today.

“West Essex gave me the space to improve my skills by giving me the best coaches and the most opportunities,” Zanelli said. “[It] automatically gave me 20+ best friends.”

“We are one big family on and off the field,” Simmons said. “[I have learned] to never give up, especially when things get hard. [I] always push through and train to win. I’m going to take all of the determination that we brought together as a team and continue to use it for my future.”

They say playing on this team has given the players an immense sense of community and allowed them to become their best selves.

Behind the Byline
Sophie Herman, Sports Editor
Sophie Herman is a 2023-2024 Sports Section Editor for the Wessex Wire. She enjoys running, traveling, and listening to music.
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