By Mariah Le Beau '20
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Clara Ambrose '93 did it all during her time at Wesleyan.
The three-season athlete took her talents to the field hockey, lacrosse and squash domains, as she served as a two-sport captain, to go along with earning team MVP honors and being recognized with the prestigious Female Athlete of the Year award.
Ambrose's stellar athletic achievements did not stop after she turned her tassel at Wesleyan. She recently was named to the U.S. Women's Masters Over-45 Squad for field hockey. The accomplishment did not come as a surprise to her former head coach at Wesleyan – Patti Klecha-Porter – who has been at the helm of the field hockey program in Middletown, Conn., since 1985. Klecha-Porter remembers vividly the competitiveness that permeated through Ambrose's bones in a Cardinals' jersey from 1989-92.
"I am not surprised Clara was named to the U.S. Masters Team," Klecha-Porter said. "She remains very involved in the sport as a club coach and remains very fit. Clara did whatever it took to win."
Ambrose of Westport, Conn., was a standout midfielder during her tenure at Wesleyan. The Cardinals accumulated some great moments with Ambrose on the team, finishing with winning seasons in 1991 and 1992, including an impressive 9-6 mark in 1992. The 1992 squad qualified for the ECAC New England Division III Tournament for the first time in program history, as Ambrose served as a captain and garnered All-American honors that year.
Ambrose took a decade-long break from field hockey to concentrate on a business career, which included working for the global firm, Accenture, where she did consulting work. Her heart was always tied to the field hockey pitch, and she decided to get back involved in her craft, especially after having four children – three boys and one girl.
Ambrose, a USA Field Hockey (USFHA) Level I Certified Coach, has served as the director for the Westport Field Hockey Youth Program, and she has been active with Westport PAL Girls Lacrosse.
Ambrose is trying to instill her passion for the game into young athletes, as she has been very active with the youth in athletic settings. She was motivated to get involved in a coaching role when her own daughter started developing an affinity for the sport.
Working with various youth programs reactivated Ambrose's love for the game, and she decided to start competing at the club level.
Although Ambrose's first love was gymnastics, she started to play field hockey in middle school and fell in love with it. Ambrose describes that she has "so many fun memories" from the game, and thinks that "the game itself is complex and requires a lot of different skills." She appreciates the diverse nature of the sport, and names just a few of the skills required, including speed, agility and hand-eye coordination.
"She always raised the bar to do skills faster, stronger and better," Klecha-Porter said. "She made her teammates better by her dedication, commitment and work ethic. She was a true leader on and off the field."
Ambrose, who has been active on the Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame Committee, never envisioned herself being in a position to represent her country on the field hockey surface. She was talked into trying out by her friends.
In the next couple of months, there will be a series of practices with the group, as well as further selections to determine a final unit to compete in the 2018 World Cup. She is thrilled to be on the team, and thinks it holds "a lot of meaning to be representing (her) flag." Ambrose is hopeful that she will make the final roster, but regardless, she still feels privileged to even be named to the squad.