Senior Rishi Bhargava is finally seeing his years of hard work pay off at the national level. After attending the weeklong Junior National Camp over the summer and a draft clinic several weeks ago, Rishi was among the 25 players from across the nation to be selected to play on the 17-and-under national field hockey team.
To put things into perspective, there are over 21,000 registered field hockey players in the United States, according to USA Field Hockey. There are a lot of star athletes on campus, and several that even compete at the state or national level. Although Rishi is among the top field hockey players in the nation, many people haven’t heard of his accomplishments in the sport.
Before qualifying for the national team, Rishi played field hockey day in and day out on the Stanford Storm Field Hockey Club. Rishi began playing at the age of six after his older sister’s friend introduced him to the sport, and he’s been playing ever since.
“I go to two practices a week that are two hours each,” Rishi said.
Now, as a part of the 17-and-under national team, Rishi and other players on the team will practice several days before games and big tournaments. Rishi’s summer will also be devoted to training at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. Rishi and his new teammates have already played the Canadian field hockey team this year in a three game test series.
To some, Rishi’s success may seem abrupt, but it didn’t happen overnight.
“It makes me really happy because I’ve been playing the sport for over 10 years,” Rishi said. “Even during cross country and track, I go to practices. If I have… a meet, I’ll go to the meet and then to practice.”
Rishi has no plans to stop playing and hopes to play field hockey competitively in college.
“I’ll play club in college; a lot of colleges have a club or a co-ed team,” Rishi said.