When Georgia Werkiser entered Norristown Area High School as a freshman, she was a three-sport athlete. She played basketball, softball and field hockey. Then a switch flipped.
“When I started playing field hockey in my freshman year, I realized how much I liked the sport,” she said. “That’s when I really started working at it more and more. I started playing club and just tried to get better. I love it so much.”
And thus, field hockey became priority number one. And Werkiser, a midfielder, hasn’t looked back since. She became more focused, more dedicated and, oh, yeah, she got a lot better.
Wednesday all that hard work paid off when the Norristown senior signed a letter of intent to play field hockey at Millersville University, a powerhouse program that won the national title in 2014 and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference title in 2016.
But the funny thing is, it almost didn’t happen.
“I never thought I’d go to Millersville, never,” Werkiser said with a laugh, sporting a jersey with ‘Ville’ across the front. “I went there for a basketball camp once. My dad (Mark) said maybe we should check it out.
“I was like, no way. It’s in Lancaster, Amish country and farms and all. No way I would ever go there.”
That all changed when Werkiser went to a field hockey camp at Millersville at her father’s urging. She still wasn’t sold on the idea of heading to Lancaster to continue her education and collegiate career. But her play at the camp caught the attention of the Millersville coaching staff. A visit was arranged.
“We made the visit and I loved it,” she said. “I knew they had a strong program. The visit was great. I made up my mind then, that’s where I wanted to go.”
Werkiser, a two-time Pioneer Athletic Conference first team selection as a junior and senior and two-year team captain for the Eagles, put up impressive numbers as the leader of a young and inexperienced team. Norristown scored 15 goals this season and Werkiser had 14 of them.
“No one on the team is anywhere near her level,” Norristown field hockey coach Rachel Shuster said. “She knows the game well. She leads the team, speaks up and is very committed. She has all the skills and always works hard. Her stick skills have grown every year.”
That improvement, Werkiser said, came through playing at the club level. In the winter months, when the games are played indoors, the pace is entirely different.
“Playing indoors, it makes your skills better because it’s faster,” she said. “After that, when I went outside, I could see the difference. Everything came easier.”
The last name “Werkiser” is probably very familiar with anyone connected with or has followed Norristown athletics over the years. Her grandfather, Bill Werkiser, was a legendary basketball coach at Norristown and is in the school’s Hall of Champions. And her father, Mark, was no slouch on the hardwood himself. He ended up at Delaware Valley College and had a successful Division III career. So success runs in the family bloodlines.
“She has a passion for the sport,” Mark Werkiser said as he watched his daughter enjoy her moment in the spotlight. “She works hard and continues to develop. I’m proud of her.”
Georgia Werkiser isn’t about to rest on her laurels. She likes where her game is at, and is thrilled to get the opportunity to play at Millersville. But, she was quick to add, there is always room for improvement.
“I’m getting there, but I still have work to do,” she said. “I always feel I have more work to do, because I know I can always get better.”