Jill Bolton did not play field hockey until she got to middle school. She decided to play in seventh grade and started for the Dock Mennonite Academy varsity team as a freshman.
Four years and 111 goals later, Bolton is the 2016 The Reporter, The Times Herald and Montgomery Media Area Athlete of the Year.
Those 111 goals are the most in Dock history, nearly doubling Olympian Jesse Gey’s 58-goal career total. Bolton added 39 assists and 37 defensive stops in her four years.
“I never thought about it when I came in as a freshman,” Bolton said of her prolific scoring. “I think I just came in wanting to set a tone and I think I did, but it was more the hard work paid off. All the extra time I put into the sport that I love has finally been achieved and I was happy to make it known to the Dock field hockey program.”
The Liberty University-bound senior has a long list of accomplishments during her time as a Pioneer. She is the first-ever four-year Bicentennial Athletic League Most Valuable Player and four-time first-team all league selection. She was named first-team all state two times and second team once. She was Dock’s MVP three times, co-captain twice and most consistent player once.
“I’m surprised every year,” Bolton said of her awards. “I’m still surprised I have these awards against all the other great girls around here. Field hockey is a big sport for girls in our area. It’s a huge honor to (be named Athlete of the Year).”
Bolton led Dock to the PIAA playoffs as a senior and won the BAL Independence title all four years. In her career, the team went 50-2 in BAL play.
She also plays softball for Dock, but it’s a distant second to field hockey in her mind.
“(Field hockey is) the sport I’m best at but it’s also so different,” Bolton said. “It’s so hard for people to just pick it up and go. It’s so difficult and you learn something new every single time you play, nothing is the same. It’s so much fun.”
She will continue her education and play Division I field hockey at Liberty University next year.
“It’s not close,” Bolton said of her college decision. “I wanted to go a little far from home. The field hockey program is great — they’re building. This is their seventh year, so they’re new but they just went into the Big East. They’re competitive and they have a great mindset of Christian athletes and its the biggest Division I Christian University, so that attracted me as well. I think it’s the next step in my life after Dock. Dock’s private, but it’s not as big as Liberty and that’s what I’m really looking forward to.”