For Maddie Ayles ’11 and Allee Ayles ’12, playing field hockey is a way of life that began for both of them at DCD! After being exposed to field hockey in fourth grade, when given a choice of sports to play in sixth grade, Maddie chose to play field hockey, while Allee didn’t pick up a stick again until the beginning of eighth grade. Both girls continued their field hockey careers at Nobles, and both were recruited to play for Brown University.
What they both loved about athletics at DCD is that they could play a variety of sports; they were encouraged to try different things during their tenure here. Maddie discovered her love of the game early on. Some of her fondest field hockey moments are from playing on the DCD team. In seventh grade, she was one of only three seventh graders to play on the varsity team. One of her clearest memories is a game against Nobles, the team’s biggest rival. “When I scored the first goal, it was so exciting to have all the eighth graders run up to me, pat me on the back, and be truly excited for me. There was always so much great team camaraderie, and our coach, Deb White, was awesome. She created a team atmosphere that was
a great introduction to competitive athletics in a very supportive and fun environment.”
Allee was a relative late-comer to the sport. After a brief stint in fourth grade, Allee chose to focus on soccer at DCD and other sports outside of school. She recalls not being interested in playing field hockey at all. But, after watching her older sister play in a tournament one weekend, she decided to try it again, this time as a goalie. She wanted to do something different. She participated in a goalie clinic in seventh grade and had her first real season of field hockey during her final year at DCD. Switching sports in eighth grade was a totally acceptable thing to do at DCD, and the team welcomed her with open arms! There were a couple of other girls trying field hockey for the first time, too, so Allee remembers it as a supportive environment andfun experience. Growing as a goalie at DCD paid off when she made the Noble’s varsity team as a freshman. “Field hockey went to a whole new level for me, and having Maddie on the team was really nice.”
When asked about the challenge of being a varsity athlete and a conscientious student, the girls both acknowledged that it was difficult at first, but it’s all they’ve known and agreed that “you get used to it.” It’s not just playing the sport at school; it’s also the intensity of club teams and managing high school homework demands that take up all your time.
“We just learned that there wasn’t enough time to do all the social things we wanted to do and had to make some compromises and sacrifices, but it was definitely worth it!” says Allee.
Reflecting on her time at DCD and the impact that had on her at Nobles and now at Brown, Maddie believes that it was here at DCD that she developed
a well-rounded foundation. “I played the cello, I focused on academics, I played field hockey, and I also danced outside of school. Experiencing so many different things leading up to high school, I learned that it was possible to be a good student, a high-performing athlete, and have deep involvement in the arts.” She sees this foundation as the key to her success at Nobles and expects it will pay off at Brown as well. Allee attributes her willingness to try new things in high school to the fact that she was so used to doing that at DCD, from arts to athletics to academics. And it enabled her to meet lots of new people in the different activities in which she became involved. Nobles was challenging and definitely a step up, but she had grown used to high expectations and deep participation from her time at DCD.
Field hockey is definitely a calling for the Ayles girls, who earned many distinctions as high-school-level players. Both were committed early on in their Nobles careers to play on Brown University’s Division 1 team. Now a freshman and a sophomore, Allee and Maddie are back at it—playing field hockey together and studying hard!