FARMINGTON — Things were not supposed to go the way they went athletically for Nicole Schofield.
The University of Maine at Farmington senior’s daily schedule was not supposed to be this full for the past four years.
She was not supposed to be wearing an athletic uniform while at the university and she certainly was not supposed to be on the school’s lacrosse team, a sport she never played before moving to Farmington.
How did everything change for the Troy native who had all her college plans mapped out before graduating from Mount View High School?
All it took was one conversation and a huge passion for sports for Schofield’s entire plan to receive a makeover.
“Sports is a huge part of my life, they are what helped me become the person I am today,” she said. “Coming to college with the intent on not participating in sports and just focusing on my education I realized I couldn’t just kick sports out of my life.”
As she puts it, she began her new sports journey after having a conversation with a student who, at the time, was on the university’s lacrosse team who invited Schofield to participate in the team’s open tryouts.
“Not playing my normal sports really made me miss the sports industry and I figured this would be my only shot at trying something new,” Schofield recalled. “So I went to tryouts and found myself really enjoying the sport and I have been playing it ever since.”
When Schofield talks about her “normal sports” she means her time at Mount View on the basketball and soccer teams for four years. At Mount View, she was selected as a soccer team captain and a recipient of a sportsmanship award.
In the classroom, Schofield strives to be a good student who always tries her best in every course.
On the field, she works to be the type of teammate everyone looks up to and loves to have around.
“I want my teammates and coaches to know that I am always going to work hard for the success of the team and myself,” she said. “I want to be the athlete that is versatile, competitive and positive. I strive to always work hard and if I make a mistake to work [10-times] harder to make up for my mistake.”
“In the classroom, [Nicole] has found her niche with Community Health Education as well as with her studies in the coaching minor — her grades are reflective of both passions,” said University of Maine Farmington head women’s lacrosse coach Bethany Lebel. “Nikki's growth on the lacrosse field stems from her unmatched work ethic to become better — whether that meant time in the weight room, extra conditioning, repetitions of stickwork, or watching film. She leads by example, never complains, and possesses an even-keeled and approachable temperament. She has been one of our most versatile players in my time here, willing and able to play wherever her team needs. She leaves a unique mark on our program.”
In her four years of lacrosse, Schofield has appeared in 57 games, starting in 47 of them. She collected 26 goals and 13 assists as an attacker.
Thus far in her life, Schofield considers receiving her college education as her greatest accomplishment.
“[College] has really helped me step out of my comfort zone from learning a new sport I had never played to meeting new friends and has helped me become a better person because of all the things I have learned and accomplished throughout my college career,” she said.
Through collegiate athletics, Schofield says she has become more successful in the classroom and become a better friend, on top of improving her organizational skills and punctuality.
“[Lacrosse] has given me a family, the team has been one of the best things that has happened to me coming to Maine-Farmington,” she stated. “Lacrosse to me has become my safe-haven, it’s a place that helps me clear my head and just forget about my problems for just a little while.”
For those contemplating joining a collegiate athletics team, Schofield urges students to pursue those dreams.
“[I]t’s one of the best things you could do for yourself but go in knowing that it won’t be easy,” she said. “But if you put in the work, you will gain a good support system that will help encourage you to strive for better. Once you join a collegiate sport you’re not just in it for yourself anymore, you now have a whole team who will stand beside you through everything so be ready to do the same for them.”
Speaking of support systems, Schofield’s family and friends is what inspires her through everything she does.
“[W]ithout them I wouldn’t be able to do half the things I have already done,” she said. “They keep me focused and on track of what I am striving to achieve.”
Though she finds inspiration from those close to her, Schofield’s motivation comes from within.
“I know I can work ten times harder than I did the first time,” she says of her motivational thought process. “It keeps me focused on what I want and I’m always trying to achieve new things.”
In the future, she hopes to visit Ireland and serve as an athletic coach. In the meantime, she is seeking an internship within the community health field for the summer.
When in the Midcoast, Schofield loves to enjoy the scenery and the waters. In her free time, she enjoys being with friends and family, working out or simply enjoying television shows.
Interestingly, her favorite quote comes from college basketball legendary coach John Calipari: “A successful person never loses ... they either win or learn!”
Reach George Harvey and the sports department at: firstname.lastname@example.org.