Eight-Year-Old Mary Alice Tryda of Bridgewater Joins Stonehill Field Hockey in Team IMPACT “Draft Day” Ceremony

Skyhawks officially welcome Tryda as newest team member prior to win over #2 East Stroudsburg

BROCKTON ENTERPRISE: "Dear Mary Alice: Letters for Bridgewater girl, 8, going into another surgery"

EASTON, Mass. (September 11, 2018) – The Stonehill College field hockey team officially welcomed its newest teammate when it drafted eight-year-old Mary Alice Tryda, from nearby Bridgewater, through Team IMPACT (Inspire, Motivate, Play Against Challenges, Together) in a ceremony at the College on Sunday morning, prior to the Skyhawks 1-0 win over No. 2 East Stroudsburg University.

Mary Alice on the field with her teammates for the pregame introductions.

Mary Alice, the daughter of Kelly and Brett Tryda and sister of Henry and Annie, joins the field hockey program while courageously battling Connective Tissue Disorder, diagnosed in this year. Team IMPACT, a national nonprofit that connects children facing serious and chronic illnesses with local college athletic teams to form life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes, matched Mary Alice with the field hockey team and they first met during the summer and she will attend Skyhawks practices, games, team dinners, events and more during her time as a member of the team.

"We couldn't be more thrilled to have Mary Alice as a part of our program," said Stonehill head coach Susan Ciufo, in her fourth year. "She has already picked up a stick and I think she's going to be quite the field hockey player. A big focus of our program is character and people first, and Mary Alice and her fight and everything she goes through is just exactly what we want to embody every day."

Mary Alice checks out her new locker.

Mary Alice received her No. 21 game jersey, her own locker in the Stonehill field hockey lockerroom and then joined the team during its pregame introductions following her Draft Day signing on Sunday morning. Mary Alice and her family watched the Skyhawks big win from the W.B. Mason Stadium Presidents' Box and then joined the team for its postgame tailgate. Helping Mary Alice acclimate to her new team are team advocates: senior Morgan Greenberg, juniors Michaela Antonellis and Grace Pickering and sophomores Elaine Bachelder and Abigail Potvin.

Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes. Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched nearly 1,600 children with more than 500 colleges and universities in 48 states, reaching over 50,000 participating student-athletes. The child joins the athletic team and the student-athletes join the child's support team. Throughout the journey, the child gains strength, camaraderie and support while the student-athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency and perspective they can't learn in a classroom.

Team IMPACT has more than 1,000 teams waiting to be matched with children, ages 5-16, who have been diagnosed with a serious or chronic illness and who could benefit from becoming a member of the team. If you know a child who may be interested, visit www.goteamimpact.org for more information.

Stonehill (2-1, 0-0 NE10), ranked No. 2 in this week's Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II preseason poll, is back in action on Saturday, when it hosts Saint Thomas Aquinas College at W.B. Mason Stadium at 1 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market.

Mary Alice Team IMPACT Draft Day Photo Gallery