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Sept. 10, 2008
By Courtney Agnew, Penn State Athletic Communications Student Assistant
Jen Long's life goals are pretty normal: graduate college, find a good career, have a family, build a wedding cake.
Okay, so maybe that last goal isn't quite your average aspiration but it fits into Long's interests pretty well. Long, a health policy and administration major, admits to having an "obsession" with the Food Network, saying that two of her favorite shows include the popular Food Network series "Barefoot Contessa" and "Ace of Cakes" (which could explain that wedding cake goal).
Such domestic dreams seem to be a far cry from Long's actions on the field where she has become a major force for Penn State field hockey. Her career began at Central Bucks East High School where she also played soccer for four years. During her time there, Long earned various honors and awards both for her performance on and off the field including a PIAA state championship, two selections to the Pennsylvania All-State first team and All-State Academic Honors. She also was named to the US Under-21 National Team in 2004.
"I started playing in seventh grade because all of my friends played," Long said. "So I figured, `Why not?'"
That turned out to be a good decision for Long when she chose to continue her field hockey career on a collegiate level. She said choosing Penn State was an easy decision.
"I just loved it," Long said. "It has a great atmosphere and it's very homey. There's an equal balance of athletics and academics. It was different coming to such a large school but it was nice that the older girls on the team were there to show you the ropes a little bit."
Long said that she loves being a part of Penn State athletics because there is a lot of pride in being an athlete and a lot of dedication to the programs. She also said a lot of students are impressed when they find out she is a varsity athlete for Penn State.
"It's kind of weird because I'm just like everyone else," Long said. "I just happen to play a sport."
Looking at Long's interests, one can see that she really is a normal college student. She loves to eat pineapple, watch "Sex and the City" and enjoys listening to Sugarland. Long was born in Seoul, South Korea where she lived for only a few months. She now lives near Philadelphia in Doylestown, Pa. Long admits that she's not a "gung-ho" Philadelphia sports fan but she does try to support the local teams.
However, once she steps onto the playing field, Long transitions from ordinary student to standout student-athlete. Judging by the statistics, it is safe to say that Long plays with passion.
During Long's freshman season in 2005, she was the only freshman to start every game. Long played most of her time as sweeper and tallied assists against Connecticut, Lafayette and West Chester. Long was also named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) National Academic Squad.
The following year, Long continued her spectacular performance on the field, starting every game of the season. She was named to the All-Big Ten second team, the Academic All-Big Ten team and the NFHCA National Academic Squad. Long was also selected to the NFHCA All-Mideast Region first team and a second team NFHCA All-American. She tied for first on the team with eight assists, which was ninth in the Big Ten.
Long continued her dominance during her junior season, leading Penn State to the NCAA Championship game. She led the squad and shared the Big Ten's top spot with 12 assists and was tied for fourth in the league and 24th in the nation for assists per game. Long's solid campaign also earned the opportunity to train with the U.S. National Team in California during the spring of 2008.
Long earned several national honors during her junior season such as first team All-America honors from NFHCA and womensfieldhockey.com. Other honors included being named to the NCAA All-Tournament team, the NFHCA National Academic Squad, earning All-Big Ten first team honors and being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Long was also a finalist for the 2007-08 Honda Award for field hockey. Winners of the Honda Award for each sport become finalists for the Honda-Broderick Cup, which is awarded each year to the nation's outstanding female athlete of the year.
Surely Long will be a force to be reckoned with in her senior season. And it can be assumed that whether she's making assists on the field or building cakes in the kitchen, she will do so with passion.