HomeEast Brunswick SentinelEB SportsCutrone thrives under fast pace of field hockey, lacrosse

Cutrone thrives under fast pace of field hockey, lacrosse

By Jimmy Allinder

If the sport involves a stick, chances are Jenna Cutrone plays it.

Growing up with boundless energy, the Monroe Township native tried cross-country and cheerleading but never felt a connection with either sport. When she entered the eighth grade, however, Cutrone joined the field hockey and lacrosse teams and knew she had discovered two sports that satisfied her need for speed.

“I didn’t know much about field hockey,” Cutrone said. “But once I tried it, I fell in love with the fast pace of the game.”

Later that year, she developed a similar appreciation for lacrosse thanks to a little brotherly love.

“My brothers, Mike and Nick, were always involved in sports,” she said. “They played football, baseball and lacrosse. I watched them and decided I wanted to play lacrosse, too.”

Cutrone will enter her senior year at Monroe Township High School and play field hockey for the Falcons the final time. Her playing days may not be over, though.

“When I decide where to go to college, I plan on joining the club teams,” she said. “I’ve toured a number of schools, and one that particularly stands out is Penn State University. I also hope to visit Florida State University in the upcoming months.”

While the speedy pace was what attracted Cutrone to field hockey and lacrosse, what sealed the deal was the special camaraderie with teammates that was new to her.

“We shared laughs, made a lot of memories and developed a special bond because we wanted to win,” she said.

That the Monroe field hockey team did. The Falcons captured consecutive Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) championships the last two seasons, which included a 19-1 record in 2014 (most wins in school history) and a 17-3-1 mark last fall.

Cutrone’s value has never been about offensive production, as her point totals attest. As a sophomore, she scored four goals and equaled that total as a junior with three goals and an assist.

Sarah Cummings, Cutrone’s coach at Monroe, has nothing but high praise for her versatility on the pitch.

“Jenna has outstanding stick skills, which help us to control the center of the field,” she said. “She also has a sense of being in the right place at the right time.”

“My focus is getting the ball down the field,” Cutrone said. “I try to strategize ways to transition the flow of the play and ultimately help our team score. I want to say in the end, ‘I gave it my all,’ and walk off the field with no regrets.”

The same is true with lacrosse. Cutrone notched four goals in 2015 and this past spring deposited three goals and had one assist.

When Cutrone walks off the field, her focus turns to school. She has achieved a 96.5 average (A) and understands balancing classwork and sports is a difficult task. She has learned to eliminate distractions, even during free time — cellphone switched to off — and always completes her assignments.

“Procrastination is a challenge for anybody, but I get my work done ahead of time and that eliminates a lot of stress,” she said.

In addition to her academic achievements, Cutrone is a member of the Spanish and National Honor Societies and was named Student of the Month during her freshman year.

She also participates in Heroes & Cool Kids and visits middle-schoolers to talk about bullying, sportsmanship, drugs and alcohol.

“My parents (Don and Maureen) never persuaded me to try a specific sport but once I found my niche, they supported me,” she said. “They have been my biggest fans, whether I play field hockey or lacrosse.”

As with many teens, she isn’t consumed by sports 24/7. Independence Day six years ago remains imprinted in Cutrone’s mind as her most memorable moment.

“My cousins from California visited for the first time,” she said. “We hosted a BBQ, invited our family and closest friends to join us, and just enjoyed each other’s company. The night ended when we watched the fireworks, and it was a wonderful experience.”

Cutrone hopes her senior year playing field hockey and lacrosse will be just as memorable. Cummings believes that can happen given her commitment to improve.

“Jenna has been one of our top playmakers and an integral part of our success,” she said. “She has an infectious laugh, an inclusive personality and positive attitude to go with her leadership qualities on and off the field.”

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