Athlete of the Week: Justine O’Reilly

Sport: Field Hockey

Position: Forward

Year: Fourth

Major: Sociology

Hometown: West Sayville, New York


How Did You First Start Playing Field Hockey?

I was at a lacrosse tournament with my family for my sister when I was in fifth grade and my mom and I went to one of those tents where they sell merchandise and there was a really cute pink and black field hockey stick. My mom was like, “Why don’t we get this for you and sign you up for the Sayville Field Hockey summer camp?” Obviously I said yes because I wanted the stick and when I went to the camp it was just something that I got a lot of joy doing. I was not good at soccer so when I got to middle school, field hockey was the fall sport I decided I wanted to do.

Outside Of Playing Field Hockey, What Do You Like To Do?

I like spending time with my friends and family. I have a very close group of friends from home and I have a great bunch of friends I enjoy spending time with from New Paltz. I’m also incredibly close with my family and enjoy spending as much time as possible with them. 

Who Are Your Biggest Role Models?

As I said I’m extremely close with my family and I think that the four of them are my biggest role models. My mom is one of the hardest working people I know and also one of the most caring. I probably say once a day, “I hope to be half the person my mom is at her age.” My dad would do anything for us and I’ve always grown up admiring how influential his voice is to those around him. As the younger sister I’ve always wanted to be just like my older sister and brother, but as we get older I feel such a sense of pride for the both of them. I try to be the best I can be every day for them.

Are You A Fan Of Any Professional Teams?

Unfortunately I take after my mother in my family and I do not follow sports that closely. I enjoy watching and even attending all different professional sport games, but the only team that I will say I’m a dedicated fan of is the New York Mets because it runs in the family. 

Do You Have Any Sports-Related Superstitions?

I used to think if I played a game really well or if we won against a tough opponent that the sports bra and spandex combo I wore for the game was good luck and I would make sure I wore the same pair for all of our big games. Eventually, I realized that was silly and I don’t do it anymore. I would say the only thing that I make sure I do before every single game now is listen to “A Milli” by Lil’ Wayne since it’s the song that gets me ready for a game.

What’s Your Favorite Sports Memory?

A memory that I always bring up when I talk about New Paltz field hockey is our SUNYAC Championship game my freshman year in 2014. We were the third seed in our conference and we upset the second seed, Oneonta, and fourth-seeded Geneseo upset first-seeded Cortland, so we were hosting the finals. It was a beautiful day and I’ll always remember standing on the field and looking out to see the entire field surrounded by athletes that go to New Paltz. It was so cool to see how everyone came out to support us and it really fueled us, as we came out with a 4-0 win. That day will always remind me why it’s so special to be a part of the New Paltz athletic community.