When people first meet Sara Ellis, one of the first topics of conversation usually becomes exactly how she got her nickname, “Booter.”
But these days, Ellis is becoming known more than just being the Delmar High field hockey player with the interesting nickname.
Ellis, a junior midfielder for Delmar, was named the 2012 Field Hockey Player of the Year by Delaware Interscholastic Field Hockey Coaches Association after leading the Wildcats to the DIAA state championship game for the second year in a row.
It is an honor well-deserved, according to Jodi Hollamon, her coach at Delmar.
“[Ellis] brings an intensity to the field that spreads to the others around her,” Hollamon said. “Her athleticism is unbelievable. She has speed, game sense and leadership. But most of all … if you ask her, she wouldn’t talk about herself, she is all about team.”
Ellis, who scored 24 goals and had seven assists last season, credited her teammates.
“It’s nice, it definitely is, but I couldn’t have done it without a lot of people behind me and the good old Lord,” Ellis said. “It’s not just me. I think it should be our whole team because the whole team steps up and they’re awesome.”
Even opponents marvel at Ellis’ skills.
“She’s strong,” said Alexis Prillaman, a talented junior from Caesar Rodney. “I just remember her sticking out like a sore thumb. She’s awesome and I wish her the best of luck. I know she’s going to go far in field hockey and she’s a really good player.”
Ellis said she has enjoyed the past couple of seasons, despite the fact that she and her Wildcat teammates came up short in the state championship game by just one goal two years in a row to Cape Henlopen.
She is already back playing with the Shorebirds club travel team that will compete all winter and into the spring. Ellis said she can’t wait for her senior season.
“I’m ready,” said Ellis, who started playing field hockey in the sixth grade. “We want to be back [in the state championship game] and we know we will, no matter what. If it takes working harder than it did this year, then we’ll be back there.
“We’re going to get [Cape Henlopen]. They’re a great team and they’re tough competition, but we want to be there and we want to come out with a victory next year – third time is a charm.”
Oh, and about that nickname, “Booter.” It has nothing to do with the sport of field hockey.
When Ellis was born in Salisbury, Md., 17 years ago, her parents Bobby and Marti Ellis couldn’t exactly decide on a name for their new baby. Ellis’ siblings immediately started calling her “Booter.” Her parents officially named her Sara about a month later, but it was too late. “Booter” stuck.
“For about a month I didn’t have a name,” she said. “It’s just been ‘Booter’ ever since then. I love being called ‘Booter.'”
On the field hockey field, Ellis is also know as a leader. She is committed to play at William and Mary but isn’t really looking that far down the road just yet. Right now, she’s still having the time of her life playing for Hollamon.
“In the eighth grade, Hollamon kind of took me and she helped me out a lot,” Ellis said. “She’s like my second mom and I love her to death. She’s does so much for me and she’s one of the major factors in how I got to this point. It’s just really nice to have someone like that.”
Hollamon hopes her other players will try to emulate Ellis. It’s not just the goals that make Ellis such a complete player. It’s her eye for defense and willingness to distribute the ball that round out her game.
“She would be just as likely to pass the ball as she would to shoot,” said Hollamon. “She would quickly praise her teammates and never want to take any credit. As a junior, she is only going to continue to grow and develop and keep getting better and better, which is a great thing for 2013 and Delmar.”
Ellis is also big on her school, which is one of the smallest in the state.
The biggest thing she said she wanted for Christmas was “a new turf field for Delmar High School. That would help us out a lot.”
“Delmar’s an awesome school,” Ellis said. “We’re definitely a close family here and I think everyone has your back when you go into situations. They’re there to cheer you on and they’re there to catch you when you fall. It’s a great school with a great staff and great people.”
Delaware All-State Field Hockey team
Player of the Year, jr., Delmar, NFHCA All-Region, 24 goals, 6 assists
jr., Tatnall, 15 goals, 15 assists
sr., Tower Hill, 27 goals, 8 assists
NFHCA All-Region, sr., Cape Henlopen, 7 goals, 5 assists
sr., Brandywine, 17 goals, 8 assists
so., Charter of Wilmington, 6 goals, 15 assists
NFHCA All-Region, jr., Cape Henlopen, 4 goals, 2 assists, 6 saves
sr., Wilmington Friends, 12 shutouts, .913 save percentage
so., Sussex Tech, 12 goals, 6 assists
sr., Polytech, 3 goals, 3 assists
NFHCA All-Region, jr., Ursuline, 8 goals, 5 assists
NFHCA All-Region, sr., Concord, 12 goals, 10 assists
jr., Archmere, 6 goals, 3 assists
jr., Mt. Pleasant, 10 goals, 7 assists
sr., St. Mark’s, 13 goals, 7 assists
NFHCA All-Region, sr., Caravel, 11 goals, 18 assists
jr., Delmar, 20 goals, 7 assists
Mary Aleixo, sr., Ursuline; Jen Davis, jr., Tatnall; Maddy Ellenberger, sr., Sussex Tech; Anna Frederick, sr., Cape Henlopen; Danielle Gallagher, sr., St. Thomas More; Jackie Gillen, jr., Caravel; Tessa Jarvis, jr., Delmar; Katrina Kashner, sr., William Penn; Danielle Kuller, jr., Wilmington Friends; Morgan Lamey, jr., Charter; Celeste Lancaster, sr., St. Andrew’s; Caitlyn Moloney, sr., Brandywine; Kelly Ogle, jr., Wilmington Christian; Carol Thompson, jr., Red Lion Christian; Tressie Windsor, jr., Delmar; Julia Wise, sr., Polytech; Sara Young, sr., Cape Henlopen
Katie Burslem, sr., Brandywine; Chardonnay Hope, jr., William Penn; Mary Mannion, sr., St. Thomas More; Zosia Roberts, jr., Wilmington Christian; Kendal Robino, sr., Tower Hill; Peyton Shockley, sr., Milford; Katelyn Sterling, jr., St. Georges; Katie Thompson, sr., Middletown; Bekah Yanacek, sr., Milford; Rachel Zane, sr., Padua; Coach of the Year: Susan Wiley, Caravel
Teams selected by the Delaware Interscholastic Field Hockey Coaches Association.