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Local awards honor staff

Neil named Field Hockey Coach of the Year

Head field hockey coach Andrew Neil received the “Field Hockey Coach of the Year” award from the St. Louis Field Hockey Association. He was nominated and voted for by multiple coaches in the area.

Neil said he is grateful when people acknowledge the dedication he has put into the field hockey program to improve and expand the program.

“It’s very appreciated that people see the hard work I’m putting in and the things you’re trying to grow with the program and the things we try and do as a whole to help field hockey become better. I definitely feel like we’ve grown a program here at Summit over the years that is competitive,” Neil said.

Assistant coach Mark Matusiak said Neil earned this award because he goes above and beyond to help run the field hockey program and make it better, not only at Summit, but also other schools in the area.

“I’ve said multiple times that he deserved it over a decade ago. What a lot of people don’t see that I do see is that he’s on the phone with other coaches building relationships with them, sharing practice ideas, and sharing insights. Also, he is in charge of scheduling the middle school field hockey team for all of the schools and if he wasn’t doing it no one else would,” Matusiak said.

Senior Margaret Schnieders said that having Neil as a coach has helped her because he builds a bond with the athletes, is attentive towards the players’ feelings, and doesn’t only focus on the sport.

“Neil has made me a better player because he’s a coach in a way that he cares about his players rather than just caring about how they play. I think that it’s really important that he knows what’s going on in our lives and is invested so when we get onto the field he knows how to make us better players and encourages us rather than just screaming at us,” Schnieders said.

Neil said he enjoys being able to spend time with students outside of class because it establishes a stronger relationship with them. He wants the athletes to be engaged in field hockey but also make them into better people.

“It’s fun to interact with students at Summit in a different avenue than just the regular classroom environment. The coaching provides that opportunity to build a different type of relationship with kids at Summit. I hope that we’ve developed a culture where girls want to be involved and they enjoy their time practicing and playing games and making a good person, not just a good field hockey player,” Neil said.

Matusiak said that Neil is dedicated to helping every athlete, and he always pushes himself to improve by bringing in new skills to help the athletes and does not settle for less.

“[Neil] is putting in the time and effort for all athletes in the area. He never stops trying to outdo himself; he’s not okay with just settling. So whether it’s getting better at learning how to do some offensive or defensive play or bringing a new skill into the girls he spends the time and effort to do that,” Matusiak said.

Schnieders said Neil cares about all of the field hockey players, not just the ones he coaches because he believes that it’s important to help everyone improve and become better.

“I think he deserves the award because all of the time and effort he’s put in over the last [17 years] because even when I was a freshman [on C team], Neil knew my name, and he cared about the lower levels all the way up to the top and was invested in making us better from the bottom to the top. I think he deserves it because he puts effort in everywhere, not just [the varsity team],” Schnieders said.

Matusiak said he enjoys being able to coach with Neil, he finds pleasure in working with him because they encourage each other to improve and do the best they can.

“I would say it is not like it’s a job; it’s fun. We push each other to be better. There’s always seems like an adventure with him. It’s very fulfilling and I look forward to it in the fall and again in the spring when we do the middle school field hockey together,” Matusiak said.

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About the Contributor
Sonya Phillips, Business Manager
Class of 2025 Time on staff: 2 years Favorite newspaper memory: Trivia night when we all dressed up for zigs funeral but we were really the ones who committed the murder. Then we demolished the entire game Favorite song: "Back to December" by Taylor Swift

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