Goal Setters
The Reinprecht sisters establish Philadelphia as a hockey hotbed of a different sort
by Jocelyn Murray

Even though the Flyers remain “on ice” amid the ongoing National Hockey League labor dispute, the region’s hockey heritage continues to get richer and deeper—both on the ice and on the turf. The Philadelphia suburbs, in fact, have become something of an incubator for some of the world’s best women’s field hockey players.

Katie and Julia Reinprecht are two of them. Born and raised in Perkasie, the Reinprecht sisters have done basically everything together. Through their academic and athletic progressions at Mount Saint Joseph’s Academy and Princeton University, the two sisters have built a bond over a shared love of field hockey—one that led them to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Through their dedication and constant support of one another, the two young women (Katie turns 23 this month, and Julia is 21) were able to have the incredible experience of playing together on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Field Hockey Team, along with six other natives from the Philadelphia area. (See sidebar.) Following their Olympic appearance (the team finished 12th), Suburban Life caught up with the sisters to reflect on their shared journey.

Suburban Life: What was it like playing in the 2012 Olympic Games?
Katie: Playing at the Olympics was an absolutely incredible experience and one that I will never forget. It’s challenging to accurately describe how extraordinary the Olympic Games truly are. There are not many experiences (at least that I’ve encountered in my lifetime) that equate to the feeling of standing on the playing field, listening to your country’s national anthem, on the world’s most prestigious athletic stage.  For an athlete, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Julia: It was an honor. I never thought I would be surrounded, let alone play with and against the best athletes in the world. The Olympic Games are a very unique and momentous experience for athletes, and it undoubtedly lived up to all my expectations.  

SL: What has it been like experiencing all of these things together?
Katie: I thought I was fortunate enough to simply be selected as one of the 16 athletes to participate in the Olympics. However, to be able to share this experience with my sister made the Olympics that much more enjoyable. Not only do I think Julia is one of the best teammates one could ask for, but also I consider her my best friend. That particular experience will be one that we can enjoy time and time again.
Julia: Taking off an entire academic year and moving across the country was not an easy decision, but having Katie by my side was a reassurance that it was the right decision. Certainly we fight at times, but she was there for me and vice versa through the terribly stressful process of Olympic selection. I found out that I made the Olympic team in the meeting before hers, but I honestly could not fully enjoy the moment until she came out of her meeting with the same good news.   

SL: What advice would you give young women hoping to do something extraordinary?
Julia: Take chances. I decided to leave school for a year, delay my graduation with my friends, leave my Princeton field hockey team and move to California to train with the National Team. I was named to the team in June, and decided during that same summer to take the year off. … I really had no idea where I stood in regards to making the Olympic team, but taking this chance was really what enabled me to develop and earn my spot on the team.
Katie: They should never, ever doubt themselves. You will be amazed at what you can achieve if you truly devote the required amount of time and effort. Be honest with yourself when evaluating how much you’re willing to invest in order to achieve your goals. If your goals are worth it, you will find a way.