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Claudia Negrete Garcia: The Spanish star dominating Miami field hockey

<p>Despite playing a shortened season in 2020 due to COVID-19, senior Claudia Negrete Garcia is top five all time for Miami University field hockey in goals and points.</p>

Despite playing a shortened season in 2020 due to COVID-19, senior Claudia Negrete Garcia is top five all time for Miami University field hockey in goals and points.

Coming off the team’s fifth straight NCAA tournament appearance and Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament title, the Miami University Field Hockey Team has big aspirations for this season. A big part of its historic run has been from the feature senior, Claudia Negrete Garcia. 

Garcia, who’s been a member of the team since her first year at Miami in 2020, has played a massive role in the team's offense and overall performance.

Garcia was recruited out of Spain by Head Coach Iñako Puzo. There, she played for Sardinero HC and attended Colegio de Fomento Torrevelo-Penalabra in Mogro, Cantabria, Spain. Sardinero HC was a part of the highest division of women’s field hockey in Spain, and Garcia was able to succeed on that team, winning scoring titles and medals at events like the World Cup in 2018.

Despite this success, Garcia said her transition to American field hockey was no easy challenge.

“Back in Spain, it’s completely different,” Garcia said. “The first thing I learned was the culture behind how we play in America. Learning to be professional on the American college level and how to act on and off the field with teammates was challenging.”

In Garcia’s first season in 2020, she started in 13 of 15 games and won honors such as MAC Freshman of the Year and an All-MAC Second Team honor. Garcia finished second on the team in goals (9), points (23) and shots on goal (36).

Garcia has had an outstanding collegiate career so far, landing herself in Miami’s record books. She has posted a total of 49 goals, 24 assists and 122 points, putting her top five all-time for Miami in career goals and points. Since her first season, she’s earned honors such as first-team All-MAC and All-Region team placements, MAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2021, and membership on the Spanish Under-21 National Team.

Even though Garcia has many personal achievements, she credits her success to her teammates and Puzo.

“I feel everybody makes a huge impact on the team, everyone is very important to our success,” Garcia said. “Coach Puzo is the main reason the team and I are here right now. He’s made such huge progress for Miami Field Hockey.” 

Puzo was not short on praise for Claudia either. Puzo said Garcia is an electric player who can lead the team not just through her play but also through her emotions and personality.

“Claudia is a person you always want to have on your program and is someone who will always have your back,” Puzo said. “She’s a people person. A close family person. She is the kind of player that can fix any problem you have on the field. She can change the momentum; she can finish the game. All she needs is one shot and she’ll put it away.”

Garcia and the team have their eyes set on the MAC championship and the NCAA Tournament. Even though the team hasn’t dropped a MAC championship this decade, it has no desire to end the run now.

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“We really want to win the MAC,” Garcia said. “That’s our first priority. We also want to do better in the NCAA Tournament if we get there. We just really want to win.”