From Burlington to the ‘Boro: Aida Ingram’s journey to the Rowan Field Hockey team

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Aida Ingram looks to make a save. Ingram's recorded 46 saves this season. Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. - Photo via Lee Kotzen

If you have ever played a sport before, you know that a lot of people have many superstitions and pre-game rituals that must get done before the game or it isn’t gonna be good. Aida Ingram, the goalie and leader of the Rowan Field Hockey team has a unique one; she wears the same underwear and bra before every game, but changes the pair season to season, believe it or not.

Ingram, a fifth-year student, is a well-rounded and motivational person who also happens to be nothing but a team player and competitor.

 “I’m just a natural athlete. You give me a chess board and I’ll probably beat you in chess,” Ingram said, knowing that she has only played chess once or twice in her life.

The 5’5″ goalie grew up playing many different sports, such as soccer, softball, basketball, lacrosse, and swimming. As a kid, she was always aggressively active and moving around, which is why P.E. was her favorite class throughout school.

To some’s surprise, field hockey was a sport that she wasn’t too fond of early in her life for just one reason, and it had nothing to do with the actual game.

“Before I started playing field hockey, my old eighth-grade gym teacher told me to join, and I said ‘no, the skirts are ugly, and field hockey is not a sport. You will never see me on the field’. She replied back ‘well, if you’re a goalie you don’t need to be in a skirt’, and I said ‘BET!’” said Ingram.

Since then, field hockey has been her primary sport and she flashed her potential early. Head coach Michelle Andre was one of the first people to notice that.

“We had seen Aida play in high school. Aaron [goalkeeping coach] and I went to Burlington Township to watch her play and she was athletic, raw, and just coachable. She was such a team player and a good teammate,” said Andre. “She is a very good communicator on the field, but we also knew we had somebody that we could work with at the goalkeeping position to give her skills that she didn’t already have.”

When committing to Rowan, Ingram was supposed to be a dual sport athlete. However, before actually committing to both sports, she decided to just stick with field hockey because she felt like would have too much on her plate. In addition to sports, Ingram is also a student in the Health and Education department.

During her first few seasons on the team, she only started in three games because she was behind Abby Hainsworth, who was the starter the season prior to her committing to Rowan.

“It was rough,” Ingram said. “There would be times where I said ‘I want to play and I want to be on the field,’ but also I had to remember at the end of the day, I just want a national championship trophy, and that’s what we want. And if Abby Hainsworth is gonna lead us there, then so be it and I’ll wait my turn.”

All of the great qualities Ingram has on the field, she uses off the field as well in her day-to-day life with her aspirations of being an elementary school P.E. teacher. She is currently a student teacher in Cinnaminson, which is about an hour drive from Rowan’s campus. She teaches third to fifth-grade P.E., and she absolutely loves it, which she said, makes the drive worth it.

“What’s challenging about it is maintaining my time,” Ingram said. “I have to make lesson plans and PowerPoints. I have to wake up, eat, take care of my body and mental health.”

With all of that in her day, you wonder how she gets it all done.

“I wake up at 4:20 a.m., get out of bed, and go for a mile-and-a-half run,” Ingram said. “I like to run in the morning just because I’m always late to practice, and usually I miss the 10 to 15-minute runs… I have some Eggo Waffles and a protein shake, pack my lunch, and head out the door around 6:50 to drive an hour up to Cinnaminson.”

As of now, Ingram has her students doing cooperative activity games such as hula hoop relays and the floor is lava. Furthermore, starting this week she will transition her students into the soccer unit where they’ll learn all the basics of how to be a good soccer player.

“My long-term goal is to motivate all the way and teach my students that they can be active, healthy, join sports, or maybe not join sports if that’s not their thing,” Ingram said. “But as long as they’re staying active and doing a physical activity that makes them happy that’s all that matters.”

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