Pursuing Field Hockey a Plus for Holliston’s Inman

Ken Hamwey, Staff Sports Writer
Whether it’s playing field hockey, assisting as a student advisory leader, or laboring in hurricane-stricken Houston, Grace Inman is a stunning example of a high-caliber student-athlete.
Issue Date: 
October, 2018
Article Body: 

Holliston’s Grace Inman took a pro-active approach on her athletic future, and the results have exceeded her expectations.
The 5-foot-4 Inman played two seasons of soccer for Holliston High’s junior varsity squad but decided to change sports. Now, she’s not only a key contributor on defense for the Panthers’ field hockey team, but she’s also a captain. And, as a junior last year, she played every minute of every game, never leaving the field for a breather.
The switch by Inman was made with no bitterness or hard feelings. She basically assessed her situation and concluded that moving on would benefit her and satisfy a desire to get more opportunities.
“My freshman year in soccer was a plus, playing as a midfielder and striker,’’ she said. “I was hoping to be on the varsity as a sophomore but I was back with the jayvees, this time as a defender. I didn’t get much playing time, probably because the other players were very talented. The competition was strong and that limited my playing time. I felt my skills were declining, because I wasn’t playing, so I opted to play field hockey.’’
The 17-year-old Inman, who had played soccer since she was seven, was often asked by Paul Hickey, the jayvee field hockey coach, to try the sport. She finally was convinced. And, varsity coach Alyssa Wesoly, who first told Inman she’d probably be a swing player, utilized her as a starter immediately at right back and she never missed a minute.
“It seemed crazy, getting all those minutes, but I joined the team in good physical condition and I came in with a positive attitude,’’ Inman said. “And, it seemed like my ability played a role. I like defense, and I like shutting down offensive players. Defense wins games.’’
The personable Inman was aware of how successful Holliston’s field-hockey program was and she felt her competitive drive would be a good fit. “I knew the program was successful and that coach Wesoly was a key component,’’ Inman noted.
Wesoly, who guided the Panthers to a Tri Valley League title in 2015, has led the program to three tournament berths in four years. Last year, her squad posted a 9-6-3 record. She knows talent and she obviously saw some major plusses in Inman’s style and ability.
“Grace is coachable, hard-working, and instinctive,’’ Wesoly said. “Her skills are effective, especially her passing and stick-handling. She’s a leader by example but she can also be vocal, if necessary.’’
Inman’s style is aggressive, but she has no trouble shifting into a patient or finesse gear. Her other strengths include superb field awareness, a high field-hockey IQ and an uncanny knack of knowing where the ball is going. “My overall skills are okay,’’ Inman said, “but I can improve and sharpen my technical skills.’’
Inman’s team goals this season are for Holliston to improve daily, develop cohesiveness and to qualify for the tourney again. So far, the Panthers are off to a slow start this season, going 0-2-1.
“Team chemistry is so important,’’ Inman said. “As for the tourney, we’ve lost seven seniors to graduation, but we’ve got talented players ready to fill the gaps. Getting to the tourney is realistic. For me, I want to keep improving and I’d like to be chosen as a TVL all-star.’’
Inman rates the Panthers’ other captains as key players who not only are skilled, but also are quality leaders. They include juniors Isabelle Larche (midfield) and Kaelin Trombley (forward) and senior Grace Kerr (forward).
“All the captains have different leadership styles,’’ Inman noted. “There’s a good blend. Isabelle has excellent skills and passes well. Kaelin maneuvers effectively on the forward line and Grace is our secret weapon. She’s fierce and impactful on offense.’’
Inman also rates Wesoly as a top-notch coach. “She’s a motivator who instills a winning attitude,’’ Inman emphasized. “And, she strives to make all her players successful.’’
Inman’s most memorable game last year was against Medfield. “On defense, my stick skills were on point and I stopped all the offensive drives that came my way,’’ she said. “The game ended in a 1-1 tie. Unfortunately, I got hit by a stick and suffered a broken nose, causing some pain for a few weeks.’’
Inman, who also plays defense in lacrosse and has been a three-year starter, hopes to attend either the University of Delaware or James Madison University in Virginia. She plans to major in kinesiology and perhaps become a physical therapist, athletic trainer or a physician’s assistant. If she plays sports, it would be at the club level. Besides athletics, Inman is a member of student council and a student advisory leader. She also teaches CCD classes at St. Mary’s Church.
Relying on an athletic philosophy that stresses reaching one’s potential and having fun, Inman, nevertheless, is an ultra-competitive player who values winning. “If one is improving and enjoying a sport, then winning should follow,’’ she said. “I also believe that sports can teach great life lessons. I’ve learned how to handle adversity, to be disciplined, especially with my conditioning, and to develop responsible attitudes.’’
The classy Inman overtly displayed a sense of responsibility during the summer when she and other Holliston students who attend St. Mary’s Church traveled to Houston to assist with relief efforts associated with Hurricane Harvey.
“We worked with our adult leaders painting houses and repairing floors and roofs,’’ she recalled. “It was so rewarding to help. I’m a person of faith — it’s a big part of who I am, and by going to Houston, my faith was strengthened.’’