EDMONTON (CUP) – Carolina Romeo isn’t just the new kid on campus – she’s also the newest Dino on the University of Calgary’s field hockey team. And if that isn’t enough excitement, she just celebrated her 16th birthday earlier this year.
Romeo is making history as the youngest athlete to ever play for the university, and if her academic record is any indication, she’s got experience in facing challenges head on. An exceptional student growing up, Romeo skipped two years of junior high and found herself in grade nine a little earlier than usual.
“At first it was a little challenging, but whenever I thought about it, I didn’t think that I was ahead,” she said.
“It was just the work I was supposed to do, so whenever I thought that it was hard, I just thought it was probably the same for my friends in their grade.”
When she was only eight years old, her family relocated to Canada from South America. The opportunity provided her with a new learning environment and the chance to excel.
“I was born in Argentina, Buenos Aires. [I have a] family of six – an older brother at U of Victoria, an older sister, and a younger sister. We moved as a family with my parents in December of 2000 straight to Calgary,” Romeo said.
Her love of sports – particularly field hockey and ringette – is deeply routed in her family life.
“My family is very involved in sports; all three of my siblings play and my dad used to as well,” she said.
It didn’t take long for her to make an impression on Calgary’s athletic community. During her years at Centennial High School, Romeo was a star athlete in addition to being a straight-A student. She was named most valuable player of Centennial’s field hockey team in 2007, and was also awarded the Carol Erickson Award for high school field hockey in 2008.
Now she’s enjoying the perks of the $10,000 Chancellor’s Club scholarship while playing with the Dinos fulltime.
Romeo has also just begun her degree at the Schulich School of Engineering, but balancing school life with her athletic career hasn’t proved too hectic for her yet.
“I’m finding that it’s taken me the week to settle down from the whole summer holidays and starting to do work. My schedule [includes] practice before or after school. It’s been sitting perfectly,” she said.
On top of that, living in residence has thrown the young 16-year-old into an accelerated adulthood.
“It is different. I really have to get around and do everything by myself.
“But it’s a lot easier to get around campus; I can walk everywhere. I don’t have to leave an hour before everything,” Romeo said.
As for the Dinos, their first game of the season took place on Sept. 13 against the University of Victoria Vikes. Despite the 2-1 loss, Romeo is looking forward to what lies ahead.
“I’m just excited for the year. It’s finally here after the whole grade 12, trying to figure out where to go for university. It was hard, but I’m glad with my decision.”
Editor’s Note: Romeo played all 12 games for the Dinos this season,
The University of Calgary struggled to a last place finish in the Canada West conference with a record of 2-8-2.