Spleen is California field hockey Coach of the Year

After leading her team to a CIF Open Division Championship title this fall, varsity field hockey head coach and English 9 teacher Courtney Spleen won the MAX Field Hockey award for California Coach of the Year on Feb. 1.

MAX Field Hockey is an organization that focuses on high school level field hockey across the country. The award, a state honor, is given based on nomination and the organization’s own observations.

“I’m obviously very honored to have won the award and honored that I was even nominated,” Spleen said. “It feels good to be nominated and awarded for something that you know comes from the people that matter most in your organization.”

Spleen has been coaching at TPHS since 2019. This season, she not only led the team to a CIF Open Division win against La Costa Canyon High School after two consecutive years of losing in the finals, but also saw the team finish 12th in the West/Mid-West region.

In the fall, the team also returned to the MAX Field Hockey High School National Invitational in Pennsylvania for the second consecutive year, competing against some of the top teams in the nation.

In coaching a top team like TPHS, Spleen focuses on each player individually.

“I’ve really focused on trying to understand my players more … and find out what really motivates them all,” Spleen said. “I realized that not every player handles the same type of coaching style, so it’s important to know what works for some players and what doesn’t work with others.”

Lindsay Bowman, Spleen’s assistant coach and longtime friend of Spleen, said Spleen’s dedication is a crucial component of the team’s success.

“She deserves this award because of the work she puts in, both in & out of season,” Bowman said. “She truly is one of the most dedicated people I know and her stats prove that.”

Avery Austin (12), a four-year varsity field hockey player, agreed.

“She is very personal when she coaches. Especially with me, she takes time to know who I am as a person and knows how to adapt to what I can and can’t handle,” Austin said.

That coaching pays off, the team said.

“This year specifically, we took it a game at a time and really [focused] on each of our competitors rather than solely focusing on [winning] the CIF finals,” Sydney Meltzer (10), a two- year varsity field hockey player and midfielder, said.

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