Last Tuesday night, three individuals were honored at George Mason University for their exploits playing field hockey. Niki Manthos, Sara Silarska, and Adriana Risi were at a college signing day event. These ladies were from local high schools in Fairfax County. Risi is the class of ‘21 from Chantilly High School, Manthos from Paul VI High School, and Silarska is from Fairfax High School. Risi is attending Davidson College, Silarska is going to Harvard University, and Manthos to Virginian Wesleyan University. 

These athletes are no strangers to field hockey. With a combined 22 years worth of experience between them, they know college is an achievement. Risi was the team captain in 2018 and won the U19 NIT (National Indoor Tournament) Championship in 2019. Silarska played on varsity her entire high school career, spending three years as a starter. Manthos won a NIT in 2020 and won the Patriot District with her team in 2018.   

“We dreamed of this moment when we were younger,” said Manthos, adding that this moment is a “dream come true.” 

Everyone struggles to get to the top. Risi said that as a freshman, “It was tough to get used to the team and earn a starting spot.”

“I struggled with my confidence at first,” Silarska explained. “I started playing on varsity as a freshman, so I had to prove to the others that I was a good player.” Silarska also noted that as she got older, she gained a new perspective. As a senior, “I grew into a leader after being a follower.”

Going to college is just a new challenge that the three girls are excited to face. “I’m excited about the new level of competitiveness,” Risi said. The keys to success would be “hard work,” according to Risi and Manthos believes that “communicating with teammates” will be the catalyst for success.

Silarska also believes that playing field hockey will help her to deal with COVID-19. “I need this in my life,” she explained. “That’s the main reason why I’m playing in college. For comfort and love of the game.” Risi and Manthos were quick to agree. The future is bright for these three, maybe the college experience is the ticket they need to pull through this tough time.

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