Leah Echard, signs with DeSales University to play Division III field hockey in Fall of 2019
Congratulations to Leah Echard, a senior at BMS, on her committment to play field hockey at DeSales University, Allentown, PA! Leah's mom, Michelle said, "We are certainly proud that her hockey career started in the fields of BMS and ended in the gymnasium signing onto a college to further her athletic future."
Jeff Fishbein, sports editor at the Lewistown Sentinel, reported on the following on November 13, 2018:
BELLEVILLE — Two years ago, Leah Echard was facing a potential end to her field hockey career.
On Tuesday, she took a step toward its next phase.
Echard, a senior at Belleville Mennonite School, committed to play college hockey at DeSales, a Division III Catholic university south of Allentown. The Bulldogs play in the MAC-Freedom and are part of the ECAC.
Belleville Mennonite ended its field hockey program due to a small turnout, but forged a cooperative with nearby Huntingdon. Echard said it was a positive experience.
“The Huntingdon girls have been so welcoming. The program up there definitely was such a blessing to us BMS girls,” she said. “We are so excited that they took us in and just adopted us into their family. It’s been quite the journey, and it’s been awesome up there.”
The Bearcats were happy to get her, their coach said.
“We definitely got an asset to our team with her — she definitely held our midfield together,” Shayla Bishop said. “Our girls and Belleville girls both had something to look up to, a goal to reach toward. We are definitely going to miss her on the field.”
Echard said DeSales reached out to her, but she went because it was a good fit.
“It was kind of a decision together,’ she said. “I went there and I felt like I was at home. It was just a really great feeling. I really think it was kind of a joint decision.”
The Lehigh Valley will be a big change, Echard admits, but it’s another challenge she looks forward to.
“It is a smaller school but it’s definitely way bigger than BMS,” she said. “The team there is a family and I think that’s something I take for granted here. That’s something I’m excited to have again there.”
Bishop sees no issue adapting to the new environment.
“Even coming up to Huntingdon was a change for Belleville and Huntingdon girls alike,”she said. “She adjusts to whatever I give her. No matter where I put here she’s willing to try anything. I think the adjustment will be different but she’ll do very well at it.”
Athletic Mission Statement
The Belleville Mennonite School athletic program is an extension of the family, school, and church. It is desired that the athletic program will bring honor and glory to God in the realm of interscholastic competition, both as spectators and players. We trust that the discipline developed in doing this will carry over into other areas of life.