Hahn’s journey inspires Huskies

By Todd McMahon

When the wall came crashing down in Berlin, it was an inspiration to an entire Germany. Now, one of its native daughters is an inspiration to this year’s NIU field hockey team.

Kristina Hahn has come a long way from Berlin to emerge as one of the team leaders for Laurie Bell’s young squad. Hahn has begun her third year at NIU after a stellar 1990 season, which included being named to the All-Midwest Second Team of the Collegiate Field Hockey Association and First-Team Midwest Collegiate Field Hockey Conference.

Hahn now must take on added responsibility this season as she and senior Pam Snavely are the only upperclassmen out of the 18 players Bell has. But being a leader is nothing new to the midfielder/defensive back.

Hahn began playing field hockey when she was only eight years old. Before she came to the United States four years ago, she played for a top club in Germany and soon got used to the competitive nature of the game.

She arrived in Seattle, Wash., with the intention of only being an exchange student for her last two years of high school. “I fell in love with the country,” Hahn said, “so I decided to stay.”

She graduated from NOVA High School in 1989 but had nowhere to go to continue her education and field hockey career. “I ended up calling a few schools, including NIU, Northwestern and Ball State,” Hahn said. “In the end, it came down to NIU and Northwestern, but I chose Northern.”

But why come to DeKalb after spending all of your life in big cities like Berlin and Seattle? “DeKalb is different,” Hahn said. “I like the city and its location, but the campus could be somewhat better.”

Now that she has been here at NIU for a little more than two years, Hahn is beginning to feel at home. “It took a while to adjust to the school and the team,” she said, “but I feel a lot better about the situation now.”

Hahn is now trying to ease the new experience of college for 13 of her teammates who are freshmen. “I was in the same boat as them two years ago, so I know what they’re going through,” she said. “Playing field hockey at the collegiate level is a lot different from high school, and the competitiveness is so intense here.

“I like the team we have this year and (Bell) is such a good coach. Things are starting to turn around for us lately, and I see the offense starting to become aggressive. Now we just need to put some wins together.”