Katie Trombetta first picked up a field hockey stick when she was 7, idly tapping balls around the backyard. It would be several years before she picked up the sport. But with her mother, Patti Trombetta, a high school coach at the time, an influence was never far.
The Sachem East star will now follow in her mom's footsteps . . . and step on her old stamping grounds.
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University of Michigan.
Katie Trombetta will don the maize and blue to play field hockey for the Wolverines, just as her mother had.
"I'm so excited and I'm anxious," said Trombetta, 17, who last fall concluded a high school career that featured two state championships and three All-American selections.
She verbally committed to Michigan during her junior year and, Wednesday, fulfilled that by signing a national letter of intent.
"I went back for my official visit in the fall and seeing everything again made me realize why I chose this school," she said. "And the fact that my mom went there is really cool."
Michigan is renowned for its academics and the field hockey team reached the Big Ten Tournament last season. The university recently began construction of a field hockey facility that will host the 2015 NCAA championship.
"I couldn't be more proud of Katie and I'm thrilled for her," said Patti Trombetta, who played left back for the Wolverines and later coached at Harborfields. "The bonus is that when I visit, I'll be able to see some of my old classmates who are still around."
What Michigan gets in Trombetta is a versatile midfielder and one of Long Island's most decorated high school athletes. She also is a member of Team USA's junior national squad.
"Katie is a leader by example," said Flaming Arrows coach Tina Moon, who played at UConn. "She's always set the bar high for herself and teammates and strives to reach it."
Blessed with athleticism -- her dad, Chris, played lacrosse at Delaware -- Katie worked diligently to harness her talents. She was a four-time All-Long Island selection and was named Newsday's Long Island Player of the Year as a junior and senior.
Katie, who is also a lacrosse standout, had several suitors, including Duke, Virginia and North Carolina, though she declined lacrosse offers. Her sophomore sister, Cara, recently committed to Florida for lacrosse.
"I loved all my options, but it was a feeling," she said. "[Michigan] showed a lot of interest in me right away, and I felt comfortable there."