Yesterday, Michigan field hockey alum Mary Callam-Brandes
returned to Ann Arbor to watch her old team take on Hofstra. Little
did she know that, on her visit, she would witness the repetition
of a milestone in the program’s history: a milestone that she
herself reached 25 years ago.
In 1979, Callam-Brandes set Michigan’s career goal record (64
goals). The record remained untouched, collecting dust along with
other proud moments on the overstuffed shelf of Michigan field
hockey history – until yesterday.
On the quintessential fall afternoon, senior April Fronzoni and
the rest of the current Wolverines defeated Hofstra, 4-1. Fronzoni,
a tri-captain, began the game well aware of the fact that she was
poised to capture the antique record.
About 24 minutes into the game, Fronzoni tipped a field goal
past Hofstra goaltender Jessica Cowperthwait. In the second half,
Fronzoni netted a second goal, etching her spot in history with her
Many would consider this an important addition to Fronzoni’s
already crowded athletic resume, the standout was philosophical
about her accomplishment.
“I’m just the same old April Fronzoni,” she said.
Coach Marcia Pankratz was a bit more enthusiastic.
“I think her speed has made her incredibly dangerous over the
years,” Pankratz said. “She brings a whole other element and
dynamic to our team’s play. I’m proud of her, and I’m happy for
her. She’s not even on the corner unit, and for her to have the
all-time points (record) is quite a feat.”
At the end of the game, Callam-Brandes and Fronzoni walked out
to center field, where the alum presented her with the game ball.
Where many players might treasure this souvenir of a hard-fought
journey toward excellence, the captain believed that there was one
person who deserved it more.
“The ball’s going to my dad,” Fronzoni said. “He’s really been
with me through thick and thin, and I think this might mean more to
him than it does to me. He missed his brother’s wedding to come
watch me tie the points record, and for him to be out here so much
is just awesome.
“He’ll probably sleep with it.”
Fronzoni seemed more interested in meeting Callam-Brandes than
her newest accolade.
“It was really weird, but it was a great honor to be able to
meet her, and it was great that she could be at this game,”
Oddly enough, the legend was unaware that she even held the
school record, let alone that she happened to be attending the game
at which Fronzoni would likely tie it.
“I planned this trip three months ago,” said Callam-Brandes, a
Portland, Maine, resident. “My sister, who is also a field hockey
alum, e-mailed me and said, ‘This girl is going to break your
record.’ I didn’t even know I had a record.”
Quite a bit has changed about the game since Callam-Brandes’
days as a player.
“We had to play on grass instead of turf,” she said. “Now,
during football games, they park cars on where we used to play. It
was a totally different game back then.”
It was not until recently that Callam-Brandes began to follow
Michigan field hockey, her interest rekindled by her high
school-aged daughter with a hopeful future in the sport.
Since her days in Ann Arbor, she has played field hockey
recreationally, but has spent more time focusing on her career as
Fronzoni believes her own record will be a little more
meaningful to her when she returns to Ocker Field as an alum.
“I want to leave my mark on the program, so looking back, I
think this will mean a lot more to me it does now,” Fronzoni
Whatever the future has in store for the pair of record holders,
one thing is for certain; it was anything but an ordinary weekend
for Michigan field hockey.