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Casey Di Nardo of Team USA Joins STX Family
We are thrilled to welcome Casey Di Nardo, a Team USA Olympic athlete and University of North Carolina (UNC) alum, to Team STX! Casey has already proven herself a force to be reckoned with on the field and we are excited to see what she is going to accomplish in the future.
We caught up with Casey to learn a little more about what makes her tick. Here's what she had to say:
1. Who is Casey Di Nardo, and what do you love about field hockey?
I’m a competitor—I like to turn everything into a competition. I love field hockey because it challenges me every time I step on the field. There are so many different skill elements involved that make the sport exciting. I also love the tactical side of the sport. I think it’s fun to strategize how to play against other teams.
2. Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
When I was younger, I played soccer and my dad was the head coach. Before every game, he would always tell me to “turn my jets on.” I would push the heels of my cleats to make sure my jets were “turned on.” If I wanted to be extra fast I would give them a double push for more boost. It’s a ritual that I do before every single game. It always calms me down and gives me confidence before I play.
3. When you’re not training, what do you like to do for fun?
When I’m not training, I love to bake for my friends and family. I’m always searching through my Pinterest for new ideas of what to bake. My two favorite things to bake right now are homemade cinnamon buns and cookies-and-cream blondie brownies. I made my aunt's cinnamon rolls for a group of friends, and they devoured them - I don't think they took any breaths in between the first bite and the last. Check out Casey's aunt's recipe for Cinnamon Rolls here:
4. What is your favorite memory of your field hockey career thus far?
Winning the ACC Championship my senior year at UNC. As an athlete, you live for the games that are evenly matched and intense until the very end. This game was a hard-fought battle, so it was rewarding to dig deep and get the overtime win. The girls on the team that year were like sisters to me, so being able to play my hardest for them made it more special.
5. What equipment are you currently using and how does it help your style of play?
I’m currently playing with the STX Stallion 800. I love this stick because it helps me eliminate defenders with my first touch. The ball stays right on my stick which makes it easy to quickly change directions. I also wear the Stallion glove when I play. I typically don’t like wearing a glove because I feel like I can’t get a good grip on my stick. After a few broken fingers and bloody knuckles, I decided to start wearing one. I love the Stallion glove because it’s not too bulky and allows me to grip my stick tightly.
6. You studied journalism at UNC, how did you make that decision?
My dad is a high school football coach and my brother played football for Virginia Tech. Football has been such a big part of my life and I’ve always dreamed about being a sideline reporter. I also love writing and being creative, so I thought journalism would be a perfect fit for me.
7. What’s on your pre-game playlist?
I grew up listening to artists like Billy Joel, the Eagles, the Beatles, Elton John, Supertramp, etc. When I run long distance I love listening to both oldies and country. Before workouts and games, I really like to listen to high tempo music. Right now, I’m on a Justin Bieber kick and I also really like The Chainsmokers. Check out Casey's Spotify pre-game playlist here:
8. What advice would you give your younger self in your early field hockey career?
To move on from my mistakes. I am very critical of myself and sometimes I hold onto my past mistakes too long. If you overthink mistakes, then you start to play scared. You just have to move on and focus on the next play.
9. What do you look forward to accomplishing with Team STX?
I love growing the game and I think STX offers great sticks for girls of all ages. I can’t wait to encourage young girls to start playing field hockey. STX is like a family and always supports its athletes, so I am excited to be a part of something bigger than myself.
Catch up with fellow Team STX field hockey athlete Taylor West here.