RICHMOND, Va. - After posting the country's third-best turnaround during the fall season, the VCU Field Hockey program continues to build on that success, inking six very talented student-athletes for the upcoming 2013 campaign.

McKenzie Bowler (Stafford, Va./Stafford), Kelsey Hideshima (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty), Kaylee Maunz (Yorktown, Va./Grafton), Krystal Mayers (Parsippany, N.J./Parsippany), Alexis Schramm (Fairfax, Va./South County) and Sydney Weise (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) all inked National Letter of Intents to join the Black & Gold this fall.

"This class of six is a very dynamic and diverse group," Head Coach Shannon Karl said. "We are excited about their arrival in August and look forward to working closely with them, as we strive to further develop each individual as a student and an athlete."

"As a staff, we'd like to officially welcome McKenzie, Kelsey, Kaylee, Krystal, Alexis, Sydney and their families to the VCU Field Hockey family. Each member of our newly signed class comes from a high school or club background in which they found great success. All of them will bring a great will to win and a new dynamic to our team that makes us excited for the future of our field hockey program."

McKenzie Bowler - Back/MF - Stafford Senior High School (VA)
Bowler is a hard-working defender that impressed VCU's coaching staff with her consistent backline leadership for both her club and high school squads. She led Stafford to three straight Northwest Regional Championships, as well as a berth in the 2011 VHSL AAA State Finals. As a senior, she was named District and Region Player of the Year, as well as First-Team All-State and All-Area. Her hard work doesn't stop on the field as she holds a 3.8 cumulative grade-point-average.

Quote from McKenzie on joining the VCU Field Hockey Program: "I chose the VCU field hockey program because of the inviting atmosphere from both the team and coaches. The entire program has such a passion for the sport and a strong work ethic, I felt it was the best fit for me."

Quote from William & Susan Bowler: "We felt welcomed and embraced by the reception of the staff and it seemed as we were greeted as part of the VCU family from the start."

Karl on Bowler: "I've had the pleasure of watching McKenzie develop as a player for the last four years. Her high school and club teams have very much depended on her in their backfield. She's a strong tackler and a consistent defender that will do everything it takes to keep the ball out of the goal cage. I love that kind of mentality."

Kelsey Hideshima - Back - Archbishop Mitty High School (CA)
Hideshima is the second California product to join the Black & Gold in the past four years (rising senior Emilie Soares is the other). The San Jose, Calif. native brings an incredible IQ to the game and back line that helped her team to a 18-3-2 record and the Central Coast Section Championship this past season. For her efforts, she was named First-Team All-League and Central Coast Section.

She'll come to VCU as a biomedical engineering major that boasts a cumulative high school GPA of 4.28.  

Quote from Kelsey on joining the VCU Field Hockey Program: "After visiting VCU it was an obvious choice that it was the school for me. The strong athletics and diverse community were the major factors that led me to my decision and I cannot wait to become a Ram!"

Quote from Howard and Elaine Hideshima: "VCU's field hockey program has the drive, passion and commitment to inspire their athletes to do their best both on the field and in the classroom. We're glad our daughter will be part of a team where there is respect and support for each other to make her college experience successful. Go Rams!"

Karl on Hideshima: "Kelsey is a very talented defender that uses the combination of strength and intelligence when she plays. She has great vision, makes smart decisions on the field and possesses the qualities to be very successful at the collegiate level. Kelsey works hard in the classroom and on the field and is as driven as they come. We are excited about the impact she will make as a Ram."

Kaylee Maunz - Forward - Grafton High School (VA)
Maunz brings great size and athleticism to VCU's front line, along with a winning background  coming from her club team of FOCUS Field Hockey, who was the top-ranked club in the state and ninth in the country, in addition to her high school, who reached the State Finals in 2011 and quarterfinals in 2010 and 2012. She tallied 20-plus goals in each of her final two seasons at Grafton, where she earned All-State, All-Region and All-District accolades. She boasts a 3.77 cumulative GPA with an intent to major in pre-nursing.

Quote from Kaylee on joining the VCU Field Hockey program: "I cannot wait to be part of an outstanding athletic program that will help me continue to develop into a better athlete. I am so fortunate to spend the next four years as a Ram."

Quote from Peter & Diane Maunz: "The quality of the VCU Field Hockey program and coaches are a direct reflection of their commitment to excellence."

Karl on Maunz: "Kaylee's size and reach remind me of another Grafton alum and current VCU player, Kacie Yang. The difference between the two lies in the positions they play. Kacie is a back that will punish you with her long reach and strong tackles, while Kaylee will use her long strides and pulls to eliminate defenders en route to goal. She was the primary scorer on her high school team, notching 21 goals and 10 assists in her senior campaign.  We are excited to add her to our forward line."

Krystal Mayers - MF/Forward - Parsippany High School (NJ)
Mayers is dynamic player that has a commanding presence on the field. Her leadership helped guide the Red Hawks to a 19-2 record during her senior season. They earned a berth in the Morris County Tournament final and the Group 2 Semifinals. She earned All-County, All-Conference and All-Group honors, in addition to being named the 2012 Shoprite Athlete of the Year.

Quote from Krystal on joining the VCU Field Hockey Program: "The vision of the coaching staff and attitude of the players made me want to become part of the VCU Field Hockey family."

Quote from Leroy & Claire Mayers: "VCU is a great academic choice by Krystal and Coach Karl and her coaching staff provide a cohesive environment for the players on the team to excel and succeed, both on and off of the field."

Karl on Mayers: "Krystal is a speedy and dynamic player that commands a presence on the field, her versatility will allow her to contribute very quickly. Krystal's drive and "fighter mentality" on the field will help this team to achieve a higher level of competition in training and against opposing teams."

Alexis Schramm - Forward - South County High School (VA)
After posting 71 points in her senior season, it's tough to ignore the offensive ability of Schramm. The Fairfax, Va. native has history with Coach Karl as she played four years of  club hockey with Karl's mom, Starr, in Northern Virginia. Schramm helped South County to a regional championship in 2011 and a district championship in 2012. She also earned All-District, All-Region and All-State accolades during her senior campaign.

Quote from Alexis on joining the VCU Field Hockey Program: "I've always had interest in VCU. When field hockey became an option for me to play there, I was excited. After spending more time there with the team and the coaches, nothing else was an option. I am a Ram and so excited about it."

Quote from Adam and Kirsten Schramm: "When thinking of a program to be a good fit for Alexis' athletic and academic success, VCU was hands down our first choice. The coaching staff is as dedicated to the success of the student in the classroom as they are to their success on the field. We couldn't be more excited knowing that Alexis will be a part of a program that will be as supportive as the one VCU has assembled under their coaching staff. GO RAMS!"

Karl on Schramm: "Alexis will join us after a decorated high school career at South County, under the tutelage of her high school coach Leah Conte. She also played four years of club hockey under my mom, Starr Karl, whom I believe is one of the best fundamental coaches in the state.  We are excited about the level of coaching Alexis has received and even more excited to continue to develop her at the collegiate level."

Sydney Weise - Back/MF - Freehold Township High School (NJ)
Three division championships and three group championships is a pretty solid winning resume and that's exactly what Weise brings to the Black & Gold. She's a strong player who creates opportunities for her teammates and has an infectious winning attitude. In addition to earning All-State, All-Region and All-District honors for her high school squad, Weise comes from one of the best club programs in the country, Jersey Intensity.

Quote from Sydney on deciding to join the VCU Field Hockey program: "I am so excited to become a part of such an amazing team and to continue doing what I love at such a high level. From the moment I met everyone, I knew that the VCU field hockey program was something that I wanted to be a part of. I truly believe that this is the right choice for me and I am literally counting down the days until I get there."

Quote from Bob & Georgia Weise: "We are thrilled that Sydney has chosen to continue her education and field hockey career at VCU. The excitement that surrounds VCU is contagious and we are so happy to become a part of it. The future is bright at VCU."

Karl on Weise: "Sydney is a strong and solid player that will fit very well into our system. She makes great decisions on the ball and distributes very well. She plays for one of the best club teams in the country and has been very successful at the high school level. Simply put, she is a winner, and winners make everyone around them better."