Class of 2020 in the spotlight: Jenna Dunlop from Danville Park Girls’ High School
The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in schools closing and students learning from home, ultimately leaving no room for sport. One has to feel for the Grade 7’s and 12’s in their last year of primary and high school. The boys and girls worked hard on their pre-season training and looked forward to a year full of excitement, recognition and new experiences, but have now missed out on certain opportunities in 2020. AWSUM would like to give them some recognition as they will never be able to turn back the clock and write their own bit of school history in a year that was to be the biggest in their school career.
AWSUM spoke to Jenna Dunlop from Danville Park Girls’ High School’s 1st hockey team and she plays Centre Link & Defender.
This is a difficult year for the Matrics of 2020, and even more so for the sportsmen and girls. Can you describe to us your personal experience and feelings in this regard? Never would I ever have imagined my final school sporting year would look like this. Finding out that I might never get the chance to play in the yellow and green again really crushed me. I was looking forward to playing my last season with the girls who have been by my side for the past 5 years and even longer. I keep thinking about all the memories we would have made. This has been one of the most challenging obstacles I have had to face, but I have found ways to stay motivated and not let the Danville hockey spirit fade.
What were you looking forward to the most this year? I was most excited for our final All Girls Festival Tour. I have been on this tour twice in my Danville hockey career and I can say that it is honestly the best tour I have been on. The bonds made on this tour are unbreakable and the memories are unforgettable. I believed that this year my team was going to go far, and to captain and lead this incredible team to success, would have been an honour and a privilege.
Who would have been your toughest opposition and why? St Mary’s had a strong team this year and personally I believe they would have been our toughest opposition. Their structure and composure on the ball are unmatchable.
Any outstanding players in your team (in your opinion) that the public missed out on not seeing them play this year? Every single player in my team is outstanding and the Danville first team was ready to take on the season. I must congratulate two players who I have played with for the past 4 years whose determination inspires me. I don’t think the turf was ready for the Kroutz twins this year! They have put so much time and effort into furthering their hockey careers and their efforts paid off. Brooklyn has achieved such great heights as she was selected for the KZN Mynahs team. And Tatum was selected into the SPAR KZN Raiders team as well as being selected for the PSI All Stars team and the SA U18 outdoor team. They have both worked exceptionally hard to get to where they are today and this is only the beginning of their hockey careers. The Kroutz twins are going places.
What makes it special to play for the first team of Danville Park Girls’ High? I have had such an amazing hockey life at Danville with endless memories and laughter. I have had the opportunity to bond with a team that has become my family and every chance I get to play the sport that I love with them is the best memory on the hockey field for me. But if I had to choose one moment that I consider my best memory it would be my first year playing for the first team, where I moved from the defence line to the forward line, and with the help from my team, I scored two goals.
What is your best memory on the hockey field thus far? Playing for the first team is an honour and privilege. It has been my high school goal to play in the first team. Wearing the kit gives me a sense of pride and purpose to fly that Danville flag high. And what really makes it special is that I get to experience all of this with my talented teammates.
Why would you recommend Danville Park Girls’ High to future scholars? Danville’s sporting family is like no other. From grade 8 you are provided with the best of the best. The best sporting facilities, coaches and the friendliest smiles and guidance from the older girls. Nothing will ever match the vibes of playing sports at Danville, as it will be the best sporting experience of your school career. You will make friendships for a lifetime and memories that you will never forget!
What is your focus for the rest of 2020? I plan to keep my head held high and stay fit and healthy. I want to make this season one for my team to remember even if we aren’t all together playing the sport that we love. I want to leave a legacy that the Danville First Team Hockey of 2020 was the strongest team to succeed when the odds were against us. I want to keep my team determined to ensure that they will go off and achieve all their dreams.
A message to your teammates of 2020: To the team of 2020! Your potential is endless. This year has not gone according to plan, but the determination, talent and passion that is inside each and every single one of you is unmatchable. In times like these, our true sportsmanship shows. We will always stand together to support and lift each other up, to keep our heads held high and our bonds unbreakable. You have worked so hard to get to where you are now and just know your achievements are seen and admired. This is not the end for you, use this time to reflect and think about all the opportunities hockey has provided you with. The only difference between you and your goal is the story that you tell yourself as to why you can’t achieve it. Always remember BMT!