For the first in the 135 year history of Mercer County, New Jersey’s Pennington School football, Sabrina Tucci shatters barriers by suiting up for the boys football team. Having played soccer since four years old, she was a natural to extend her game to the gridiron as a placekicker and punter.
Taking into account that the team was looking for a kicker in the off-season, she communicated with Pennington head coach Jerry Eure. In agreeing to let her participate with the team, he has advised that she will not be part of any contact drills.
Although Tucci would relish the opportunity to participate in a tackle after kickoff, she is not the first female kicker in the history of Mercer County football. In 2004, Notre Dame high school student Bridget Catanese became the first to kick a field goal, successfully converting on a 42-yard attempt.
While the team was a little skeptical about a girl playing for their team, she has quickly made believers. Senior quarterback Greg Oldsey was one of the first to stick up for her, stating that the game is one of specialists, and Tucci plays at a specialists’ position. Of note, senior player Marcellus Morris compares Tucci to Mo’ne Davis, a female pitcher whose presence at the Little League World Series of Baseball made national news.
As a side note, Tucci is not the only notable female athlete to have attended Pennington. Having allowed girls to attend the school since 1972, one of the most successful female sporting alumnae includes Amber Brooks. Currently, she competes in the National Women’s Soccer League with the Portland Thorns.
Entering her junior year, Tucci measures in at 5-foot-6 and 125 pounds. Having made field goals from 20 yards away in practice, she has successfully made 10-yard kicks, the traditional distance for PAT attempts. In addition, she is an athletic humanitarian, having spent over 20 days of her summer in Thailand and Australia with a community service organization called Rustic Pathways.
While Tucci has yet to see play during the 2014 regular season, she does not have a uniform number assigned to her either, her presence is one that is of great encouragement for other female students at Pennington. While the school has a 2-2 record and a state rank of 68, it would be worthwhile for morale and her development as a player to see her compete in at least one game this season.