As a high school with 24 sports teams and nearly 2,000 students, Manual’s athletic scene provides many highly-skilled athletes and a diverse range of backgrounds.
One African American student, Alana Fields (10, J&C), is just one of these many students who take the field almost every day.
Fields is a standout on the track and field hockey team and has grown up in the sports community.
“I started running in elementary school for a running club but I started track and field in sixth grade, so about five years ago. I’ve been playing field hockey for four years,” Fields said.
Because of her race, Fields has experienced mental blocks and exclusion as a result.
In middle school, she ran for the Kentucky Fillies and Noe Middle School and now only competes for Manual. She also plays field hockey for Manual and currently, a local club called IFHCK.
Traditionally, track is a Black-dominated sport and Fields took this into mind when adjusting her athletic career.
Proud of all of our qualifiers for the State Meet. Especially Darius Brown (110h), Katherine Farnan (110h/300h), Moji Olayemi (200), Kat Thomspon (LJ), Alana Fields (100), Patrick Huckleberry (HJ) and Boys 4×800. They weren’t favored but stepped up when needed! #manualtf https://t.co/SwePalgvJY
— Coach Holman (@TimHolman1) May 13, 2018
“I always felt comfortable with my coaches and teammates about any and everything,” she said.
After joining her first field hockey team, the range in culture and race took Fields by surprise and presented her with many challenges when motivation took control.
“I was typically the only Black girl on the team. It made me work a lot harder, especially on my club team. I felt I had to prove myself to the coaches and the girls that I was good enough to play.”
Close to the beginning of her club field hockey career, Fields was the only African American player. This came with feelings of exclusion and various comments.
When a coach once asked the team to flip their jerseys to white, some girls laughed and said “we already are”, followed by all eyes on Fields.
“It was comments like those that made me want to quit and just run track because I know I’d always be with people who looked like me,” Fields said.
Despite this multitude of comments over the years and a built-up rage, she kept her strength and powered through her skin color difference. The comments and looks she received motivated her.
“I always played really well so I could fit in. I felt that it was unacceptable to be bad and single myself out more.”
While in seventh grade, Fields would constantly ask her teammates to practice at the park with her.
Combined with the loyal support of her family, friends and coaches, Fields has continued to thrive in the sports world.
Being an African American teenager, Fields has grown in confidence because of this support.
“My parents have truly been my biggest supporters and my mom never lets me give up,” Fields said. “My teammates and coaches have helped with everything too and have provided me with the best athletic experience I could have.”
Many opportunities opened up during Fields’ career. Over the summer, she traveled to Amsterdam for an international field hockey camp.
“I got an email about this field hockey camp and usually I’d delete the email and move on but I took a leap of faith and tried something new and I loved it. [This was the] best decision I’ve ever made I learned so many valuable things on that trip about field hockey and life,” Fields said.
Last year, Fields was a freshman who got moved up to the varsity field hockey team and now, as a sophomore, is a starter on this high team.
Check out our only freshman to make varsity this past season and set a PR while making it to the podium at the state meet! We see you @alana.fields ❤️❤️❤️
As a part of Black History Month, Fields has reflected on her skin color and taken in on how it has established who she is today.
Fields is an African American staple in the Manual athletic community.
“Track and field hockey has provided me with so many great experiences. I’ve been able to travel across the U.S. and world for various tournaments and meets and I’ve got to meet so many great athletes with the same passion as me,” Fields said.