May 2015

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Page 162 of 162

163 A thousand miles separate Lumberton, New Jersey, and Iowa City, Iowa, a fact that wasn't lost on Brynn Gitt as she looked for a college to attend six years ago. When her father, Michael, asked if she wanted to pursue athletics and study engineering at the University of Iowa, Brynn's answer was quick and short. No way. "I'm not going to come 1,000 miles away from home in the middle of a cornfield to play field hockey and go to college," Gitt said at a University of Iowa Athletics Department All-Staff meeting April 15. But in 2009, Gitt was named to the Junior Olympic team that competed on Grant Field in late July and early August. "I met (former University of Iowa head coach) Tracey Griesbaum and started to fall in love with Iowa," Gitt said. "I came on an unofficial visit and was impressed by the overall organization of the program and the commitment that was clear for athletics and academics, as well as the team being extremely close-knit and everyone striving toward their goals." Gitt eventually enrolled at Iowa where she became a three-time member of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) National Aca- demic squad, two-time Academic All-Big Ten, and two-time NFHCA Division I Scholar of Distinc- tion. ere was early anxiety for Gitt at the UI. Look- ing back on her first days here, she jokes that her parents wouldn't let her drive to Iowa City for fear that she would turn the car around and head back toward New Jersey. "But as I settled in, I realized this was a place I could truly strive and achieve my goals on and off the field," Gitt said. "Whether it was setting aca- demic and athletic goals each semester or having individual meetings with my coaches, I found I was expanding and learning more about myself, and building as both a person and as a player." Gitt felt fortunate that the Hawkeye coaching staff and professors assisted her in finding solutions to field hockey and academic time conflicts. A situ- ation that sticks out was when she was a fresh- man in 2011 and was required to attend a success seminar. Gitt was in-season and the Friday morn- ing lecture added to her stress of being a successful student-athlete. She approached Griesbaum, and Gitt felt relief when she was told to take as much time as she needed in the classroom. "She was 100 percent on-board with me becoming a better engineer and a better person," Gitt said of her former coach. As a junior, Gitt broke a finger and was depressed that she couldn't contribute in more than eight games. "I knew from my coaches that every person on the team had a role and that I was part of our success as a team," Gitt said. "Whether we won or lost, I meant something." Next year Gitt will work in San Francisco as a so- ware engineer for academia.com, a social network- ing site for researchers. "My time at Iowa has taught me so much about organization, time management, being consistent, being reliable, and striving to do your best when no one is watching," Gitt said. For the record, New Jersey is nearly three times as far from San Francisco than it is from Iowa City. More evidence at how far Gitt has come during her time at the University of Iowa.

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