Field Hockey Peak Performer of the Year: Daelynn DeMello, Palmer Ridge

By: Brent W. New
November 24, 2013 Updated: November 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm
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Palmer Ridge's Daelynn DeMello is The Gazette's Field Hockey Peak Performer of the Year. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette

Palmer Ridge coach Paul Lewis thought back for a moment to the success his youthful Bears had this season, and remembered the senior leader who scored more than enough goals to get them to the semifinals - Daelynn DeMello.

He grins when he thinks about what she did not only for this year's mostly inexperienced Palmer Ridge team, but what she did for the ever-evolving sport in Colorado Springs.

"She gave notoriety to this sport around here. I mean, you'll do that when you lead the nation in points," said Lewis, referring to her top standing on with 66 points (22 goals and 22 assists). "She has come a long way from the girl who came onto this field as a freshman."

DeMello came into Palmer Ridge High School with a volleyball background - and not a very successful one at that, she said. So with an itch to do something different - and possibly capitalize more on her natural acceleration - DeMello walked onto the field hockey team and wouldn't leave it for the next four years.

"I was pretty bad at the start in the same way I was with volleyball," said DeMello, who is also one of the Bears' top 100- and 200-meter runners during the spring. "I had some speed, but I couldn't dribble or shoot or really do anything too well. But coach Lewis kept working with me and I eventually made it a year-round sport."

And that's when she started turning heads. DeMello scored eight goals and dished out 11 assists in Palmer Ridge's 2012 run that ended with a nail-biting loss in the state finals. Then she led the state in scoring with a spectacular 2013 season that finally ended in Denver with the 7-2 loss to Colorado Academy in the semis.

"I knew we had a young team, and I knew I had to give us as much production as I could," said DeMello, who scored her final goal and added her final assist in the semifinal loss. "When we played those Denver teams, I wanted to show them that we could go right with them. I think we proved that this year."

And because of Colorado Springs field hockey players like DeMello, the sport is finding itself on the rise around the area's scene.

Take Palmer Ridge - its program is continually growing due to the increased interest from younger kids, Lewis said.

"That's big to get girls going at a younger age. I always say it takes two years to really even pick up this sport," Lewis said. "I think we are starting to do this because of success stories like Daelynn's. Everyone wants to have that and it excites people when you see it from someone who picked it up from scratch and can get even better."

DeMello, along with fellow seniors Jessica Berg and Cheradyn Pettit are in West Palm Beach, Fla., at the National Field Hockey Festival. The tournament attracts more than 200 teams and 3,500 athletes from the U.S., Europe, Canada and the Caribbean to showcase skills in front of a long line of college scouts.

And believe it or not, DeMello said she'll have to be on top of her game there to finally get some overdue notice from collegiate coaches around the country.

"I'm surprised I haven't heard from really any coaches at all yet," she said. "Hopefully I will soon, and hopefully coaches will start to look to Colorado for players in the future."


By the numbers

State leaders


1. D. DeMello, PR, 22

2. B Knop, PR, 15

3. J. Berg, PR, 14


1. D. DeMello, PR, 22

2. S. Van Ede, CA, 16

3. J. Berg, PR, 14


1. D. DeMello, PR, 66

2. J. Berg, PR, 42

3. J. Murphy, CA, 37

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