Sturm was the Blue Ridge Conference Player of the Year this fall, after earning First Team All-Conference honors in each of her three previous seasons. She was also a VISAA First Team All-State performer in 2012 and 2013. Additionally, Sturm has helped raise the profile of North Cross field hockey under the direction of Head Coach Katherine Kelly.
“Avery's field hockey skillfulness and knowledge of the game has heightened the level of play for the entire North Cross team,” Kelly said.
“Playing field hockey at North Cross School has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Sturm said. “In four years, our team has gone from not winning any games all season to being the runner-up in the state. The North Cross field hockey team has become my second family, and I wouldn't have wanted to spend the past seven years with any other team.”
Kelly credits Sturm’s work ethic and athleticism for her success at North Cross and ability to attract Division I attention.
“Avery works harder than any athlete I have seen to improve her game on a daily basis. She is a smart player, which, combined with her athletic talent, makes her virtually unstoppable,” Kelly said.
“Ever since the ninth grade, I have worked extremely hard to achieve my goal of playing collegiate field hockey,” Sturm said. “Although I am really nervous to play at this level, I am excited to expand my skills and learn to play among some of the best players in the nation.”
Sturm is also an All-Conference soccer player for North Cross, but her talents are not limited to the athletic fields. She carries a 3.98 grade point average and is an AP scholar. Her interest in business helped make her decision for Miami.
“After visiting Oxford last fall, I realized that Miami University was the best fit for me as an individual,” Sturm said. “Its excellent business program combined with its amazing field hockey team has allowed me to feel comfortable at the school.”
Sturm’s path from North Cross to Miami University has certainly required the effort of many. Field hockey is not a staple in southwest Virginia, so Sturm and her family turned to many different resources to help her reach her goals.
“When I decided that I wanted to play collegiate field hockey, my family quickly realized that I would have to work extremely hard to catch up to the athletes who had been playing the sport for their entire lives,” Sturm explained. “My dad woke up at 4 am every day and watched field hockey videos until he learned how to play the sport, and eventually became my coach.”
Sturm also developed a relationship with Keli Smith Puzo, the wife of Iñako Puzo and Olympic athlete, who became a coach and mentor to her.
“We travel to Ohio several times each year to play with Keli Smith Puzo and her club team,” Sturm said. “I have been lucky enough to train with two other Olympic field hockey players and travel internationally to watch and play the sport.”
Sturm will officially sign her NLI tomorrow at 1:15pm in Old Slack Hall on the North Cross campus.