BY DILLON KNEUCKER Staff Writer
Oct.1, 2023 marks the last day that a member of Sacred Heart’s women’s field hockey team would be able to wear the number 30. Prior to a 2-1 victory over Quinnipiac at Johnson Field in New Haven, there was a ceremony held to retire the number and celebrate Anna Buhrmann’s legacy as a member of the team.
Last spring, when Buhrmann was a freshman, her career was cut short due to a skiing accident in Colorado that left her permanently paralyzed from her shoulders down. Despite this, the team has carried on her legacy with the jersey retirement, as well as constantly wearing “Anna Stark” on wristbands, jerseys, and more.
“Stark” is a German word that translates to strong. Buhrmann, who is now home in Germany, has had constant support from teammates and coaches.
“Anna was one of my best friends on the team. We’re both foreign and as every foreigner says we have
a unique connection. Just being around her was so much fun because it’s like you’re a little foreign family. She was always such a positive and happy person who always uplifted the room,” said senior Hannah Fawle.
Fawle also reflected on what Buhrmann’s legacy is to her.
“It’s just her positivity. I think through her adversity she’s kind of always pushed through. Right now, I’m going through an injury, and I sometimes look towards her to go to rehab and do all those things and push through because Anna pushes through every single day. Just pushing through and doing better for Anna because you never know when somethings going to happen to you,” said Fawle.
Buhrmann’s resilience left a lasting impact on her team that has motivated them, but also led to high emotions at the ceremony.
“It was really emotional. I tried to hold back tears because you had to play a game after, but it was really great to remember her and know that it was going to keep going forever,” said senior Claire Skumurski.
“We really wanted to win and show up for her. She was able to watch it in Germany so just knowing to compartmentalize those for a really good reason so we could win,” Skumurski said.
Field Hockey head coach Sydney Van Der Merwe was the driving force behind why the team retired Buhrmann’s jersey number. “When we went out to Colorado, I took her jersey with me, gave it to her and I said, ‘You’re done, no one’s got your number,’” said Van Der Merwe. “It was a decision I made on my own, I said to her your jersey is retired and we are going to have a ceremony and play a game for her.”
Van Der Merwe said that his decision was met with overwhelming support from the team as well.
The Pioneers will be back in action at 5 p.m. on Oct. 20 at Johnson Field in New Haven for Senior Day when they take on Stonehill College.
Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.