DANBURY, Conn. – Following a tremendous career on the turf for the University of Delaware field hockey squad, Heather Hartman (Fredericksburg, Va./Mountain View HS) will be recognized once again for her triumphs off of the field as she was recently chosen to receive the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Award of Valor.
Alongside Andrew Avelino (U.S. Military Academy), Josh Morgan (Plymouth State) and Richard Suarez (Rowan), Hartman will be honored at the 2014 ECAC Honors Dinner on September 28 at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth, Mass.
The ECAC Award of Valor is awarded annually and was established in 1985 to honor ECAC student-athletes whose courage, motivation and relentless determination serves as an inspiration to all. The recipients of the Award of Valor exemplify strength of character and perseverance and deserve recognition as being truly triumphant.
“I am humbled and honored to be nominated for such a prestigious award,” exclaimed Hartman. “It is such a blessing to be recognized for my journey and I am grateful for all that the ECAC has done. I feel so blessed to be healthy and alive. I know my hardship was given to me for a reason and if I can inspire just one person to keep persevering through, it is humbling.”
Hartman, who started as a defender throughout most of her time in a Blue Hens uniform, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in the spring of 2012 after noticing a lump near her collarbone. While undergoing extensive chemotherapy to battle the disease, Hartman insisted on continuing to take classes on campus. The elementary education major continued to excel in the classroom and finished the spring semester strong with a 3.94 grade point average.
Despite her own misfortune, Hartman showed her character, integrity, courage and selflessness by continuing to help others. She asked that all money that was raised for her in a variety of fundraising events be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to benefit others instead.
Following the completion of her treatment, Hartman regained the strength and endurance needed to compete as a Division I student-athlete. She returned to play in all 20 games during her junior year, starting 17, and finished as Delaware's leader in assists with eight.
Back at full strength in 2013 for her senior campaign, Hartman was voted team captain and started all of UD's 22 contests. She contributed a goal and eight assists for a Blue Hens squad that recorded a program-record 17 victories in addition to earning both the CAA regular season and tournament championships en route to the fifth NCAA Tournament berth in school history.
“Heather's positive influence and leadership is what every coaching staff dreams of,” remarked Delaware head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof. “Heather has allowed others to learn more about themselves and rediscover what is really important in life. It has been a privilege to not only coach Heather, but to know her. She has changed my life, impacted a program, and will continue to enrich the lives of others. Coaching is not limited to the ‘X's and O's,' it is about the lives we touch and the relationships we create. We choose to coach to teach life lessons through the game, show our players' compassion, deepen their passion, and help them grow as individuals. Heather Hartman revitalized this perspective.”
Hartman concluded her career ranked ninth on Delaware's all-time assists list with 19. Earlier this year, the Colonial Athletic Association honored Hartman as the recipient of the 2014 John H. Randolph Inspiration Award.
Prior to graduating in May, Hartman learned that she continues to be cancer-free. She currently lives in Charlottesville, Va. and attends the University of Virginia, where she is studying to get her reading specialty certification. In addition to attending grad school full time, Hartman is also a nanny for newborn twin boys while coaching field hockey part-time at Albemarle High School and for the C'ville United Club team.