Dallastown High School graduate Molly Childress plans to play NCAA Division II field hockey for Seton Hill University.
Dallastown High School graduate Molly Childress plans to play NCAA Division II field hockey for Seton Hill University. (YORK DISPATCH FILE)

It's a moment I'll likely never forget.

It's one I now look back on fondly and laugh. At the time, though, it made me want to cower and whimper away.

The moment came on a Wednesday evening in late October back in 2012 on the sidelines at Central York Stadium. The Dallastown field hockey team had just been upset in the opening round of the District 3-AAA Tournament, coming in as the No. 2 seed and losing to No. 15 seed Hershey on a controversial second-half goal that proved to be the difference in the Wildcats' 1-0 loss.

Afterwards, as the Dallastown players were packing up on the track, I was looking for Wildcats' goalie Niki Bream to get her thoughts on what had happened.

Except I had trouble finding Bream. I can't remember exactly if I had asked someone where Bream was. I probably did. But I do remember the reaction of teammate Molly Childress as I hovered around the group of players.

"Really? You want to bother her right now? After what just happened?" Childress exclaimed.

A sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach engulfed my senses, like I had just been yelled at by my mom. If I were a dog, I would've tucked my tail between my legs and walked away with my head slumped.

A couple years later I was chatting with Childress' dad, John, who had just been named the new Dallastown wrestling coach. I ran this story about his daughter by him.

"Sounds like Molly," he said.

Molly agrees, although she has no recollection of her heated quip in my direction two years ago.

"I think I've always been like a talkative person," she said recently. "I'm always loud and funny and everything. I'm not one of those people to be shy. I always like to communicate with people on the field."

She also plays field hockey with an intense passion. And she'll soon take that fiery spirit out west. This fall, Childress will begin her studies toward a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and suit up for the field hockey team at NCAA Division II Seton Hill, about a 3 1/2-hour drive west of Dallastown.

Childress said recent Susquehannock grad Alesha Herman is also going to play field hockey this fall at Seton Hill. They'll join New Oxford grad Carly Castle on the roster.

This might not come as a surprise to some. Childress is just another top player from the successful Dallastown field hockey program going on to play college ball. Except it wasn't that easy for the 5-foot, 2-inch midfielder.

In her four years at Dallastown, Childress helped the Wildcats win a pair of York-Adams League Tournament titles and three Division I titles while posting a 65-14-5 overall record. However, Childress didn't put up eye-popping numbers. She tallied nine goals and 14 assists last fall in her senior season and a total of 19 goals and 27 assists in three years as a starter. Good. But not outrageous.

She didn't play year-round field hockey, either, instead working part-time as a cashier at the Giant grocery store in Windsor Township.

"I never really thought that I would really be playing at the higher level," Childress said. "And it (club ball) is so expensive and everything."

The club circuit is where many, if not most, high school field hockey players get noticed by college coaches. Perhaps it's why Childress was lightly recruited by just one school (NCAA D-II Kutztown) to play field hockey at the next level. Plus, she waited until the last months of high school to begin looking into college.

Seton Hill only came into the picture because Dallastown grad Brian Tucker recently took over there as the wrestling coach and has now recruited three Dallastown wrestlers in the last two years.

Childress filled out an online survey for high school students interested in playing field hockey at Seton Hill and heard back from Coach Whitney Harness immediately.

It was on a visit to Seton Hill in January, alongside four other high school recruits, when Childress made herself unintentionally stand out. The recruits were chatting with Harness, with most of them talking about the club teams they were on and all the field hockey showcases they attended.

When it got to Childress, she simply stated: "I work at Giant."

Her tell-it-how-it-is approach won over Harness.

"She (Childress) has a passion for field hockey and that's what we like to see with our incoming freshmen class," Harness said in an email earlier this month. "Her work ethic and relentlessness will set her apart from others."

— Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.