NEW YORK – Columbia field hockey head coach Marybeth Freeman has unveiled the recruiting class of 2017 this afternoon. The Lions will welcome Rebecca Bard, Meredith Kalberer, Claire Kneizys, Kendall Kuntz, Taylor Mills, Katherine Ruesterholz and Caroline Trimble to Morningside Heights this coming fall.

Rebecca Bard - Back | Mohegan Lake, N.Y. | Lakeland High School

Why Bard Chose Columbia:  “Columbia was the best place for me academically and athletically. It is the perfect opportunity to challenge myself in both areas. Once I stepped on campus for junior day, I was sold. There was no other university that could possibly fulfill all of the things I wanted out of the next four years of my life.”

Bard completed a successful career at Lakeland High School under the direction of Sharon Sarsen, who also coached her Hudson Valley Club team. While at Lakeland, she helped her team win four state, league, section and region championships. Following her senior year, she was named a Regional All-American in addition to earning all-elite, all-state and all-conference honors.

Bard was a three-time participant at Futures Elite.

A member of the National Honor Society, four year honor roll student and three-time student of the month at Lakeland, Bard intends on going pre-med at Columbia. She is the daughter of Michael and Audrey Bard and has one sister, Sarah.

Freeman on Bard: “Rebecca is a communicative backfield player and her strength on the ball will be valuable for our combination style hockey. Not only does she have balance in her defensive footwork, but she understands the tactics of the game. She epitomizes what we want our Columbia student-athletes to represent.”

Meredith Kalberer – Forward | New Berlin, N.J. | Eastern High School

Why Kalberer Chose Columbia: “I chose Columbia because of its perfect mix of academics and athletics. I get to be surrounded by the best city in the world and a wonderful coaching staff and team. As soon as I stepped onto campus I knew, without a doubt, I had found where I wanted to spend my next four years.”

Kalberer is a standout offensive player that comes from another winning program at Eastern High School, where she was coached by Danyle Heilig. Eastern has been the No. 1 team in the nation the last two seasons and has racked up four state titles in Kalberer’s career. In addition to earning numerous honors at Eastern, she has played at the 2010 Junior Olympics and the 2012 Futures Elite Championship. Kalberer continued to have a winning touch with her club team, Spirit of USA (coached by Lori Boyle) where she picked up 10 major medals in the past four seasons.

In the classroom, Kalberer has been on the honor roll the past four years, is a board member of Eastern's Chapter of the National Honor Society, and an Academic All-American. Her parents are Tracy and Timothy Kalberer and she has a sister, Megan.

Freeman on Kalberer: “Meredith is explosive, crafty and efficient with the ball,” said Freeman. “Capable to play anywhere in the front field, Meredith’s game sense and running lines put her in position to be successful across the field. Having played at the Futures Elite Championships, Meredith’s ability to be effective against the top athletes in her age group makes her a standout player.”

Claire Kneizys – Back | Newtown Square, Pa. | Episcopal Academy

Why Kneizys Chose Columbia: "I love the opportunities provided by Columbia with its strong academics, diverse student body, and city environment. I wanted a college experience that would engage me internationally and enable me to grow as a student, an athlete and as a person. Columbia is the perfect fit for me because of its endless choices in concentrations and emphasis on a global understanding.”

Kneizys was a First Team All-Inter-ac and All-Main-Line selection while being named Second Team All-Delco at Episcopal Academy, where she won a conference crown in 2012 with Gina Buggy at the helm. Her team also took PAISA first place honors the past two seasons.

Her club team, WC Eagles coached by Richard and Jun Kentwell, claimed first place at the Disney Showcase the last three years.

Academically, Kneizys is an AP Scholar with Honor and has earned National Merit Commended and Academic High Honors. Her parents are Marie and Christopher Kneizys and she has two sisters, Kathleen and Corinne.

Freeman on Kneizys: “Claire has been incredibly consistent with her play since the recruitment of her began. She is a wonderful fit for the personality of this team; she is eager about using the resources of the city and with her reliable play in the backfield, will bring a lot of success to the program. We’re lucky to have her!”

Kendall Kuntz – Goalkeeper | Baltimore, Md. | Garrison Forest School

Why Kuntz Chose Columbia: “I chose Columbia because of the team, coaches and academics. Its location is unbeatable, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to play with such talented players. From the first time I came to campus, I knew this was the school for me.”

Kuntz was an NFHCA Mid-Atlantic Region First Team selection and named Baltimore Sun Player of the Year following a brilliant high school career with head coach Traci Davis at Garrison Forest School where she complied a 70-2-3 record from 2010-12 on the varsity squad. She was also picked first team all-state and second team all-metro in 2012.

While Kuntz was on the varsity, Garrison claimed three IAAM Conference and Tournament Championships with Kuntz in net.

She played with fellow incoming first-year Claire Kneizys with the WC Eagles, who won the National Futures Championships from 2009-12.

Kneizys, a member of the NFHCA High School All-Academic squad, has been in the Cum Laude Society the last two academic years and won the Classical Etymology Exam Bronze Medal in 2011 and 2012. She has been named a Top Scholor Honorable Mention and to the High Effort and High Honor Roll. Her parents are Debra and Michael Kuntz, and has one brother, Taylor.

Freeman on Kuntz: “Technical skills, work ethic and athleticism are just a few things I really like about Kendall. As a goalkeeper, she organizes well, she is agile and controls her circle with confidence. I’m looking forward to working with Kendall and to build on her already strong goalkeeping foundation.”

Taylor Mills – Forward | Sayville, N.Y. | Sayville High School

Why Mills Chose Columbia: “I chose Columbia based upon its uniqueness. Columbia offers the promise of an outstanding education accompanied by a standout field hockey program, all located in the best city in the world. Most importantly, what drew me to Columbia the most was the extraordinary coaching staff, truly unlike any other. The opportunities at Columbia are endless, and I cannot wait to become a member of the community.”

Mills will trade in her Long Island digs for Manhattan this fall after a earning a plethora of honors at the high school and club levels. At Sayville High School, Mills played for Patti Fedele where she was a four-year starter and was named to the all-state and All-Long Island teams in 2011 and 2012. Mills had a breakout junior season where she was Long Island’s high scorer. In total she was named all-conference in 2009, all-county from 2010-12, and earned all-state and all-Long Island team honors in 2011 and 2012.

Mills competed at the Junior Olympics and the AAU Junior Olympics with her club team, Strong Island Field Hockey, coached by Tina Moon. She was also a Futures Level 1 participant in 2012 and 2013.

She is a member of the National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society. Also, Mills is an AP Scholar with Honors and has received the Suffolk County Field Hockey Association Exceptional Senior Award and the 2012 Nancy Cole Award. The daughter of Susan and James Mills, she two siblings, her brother Griffin and sister Madison.

Freeman on Mills: “Taylor has an excellent balance of fundamental skills and knowledge of the game. She is a fierce and smart competitor who reads the game and developing play nicely. She has an excellent touch on the ball and a skill set I know will benefit the team.”

Katie Ruesterholz – Forward | Basking Ridge, N.J. | The Pingry School

Why Ruesterholz Chose Columbia: “I chose Columbia because it not only offers an unparalleled education in an unbeatable location, but also because its field hockey team is a united group determined to work hard in order to win!”

Ruesterholz will cross the Hudson River to attend Columbia after tallying 48 goals and 37 assists in three years on the varsity squad at the Pingry School, coached by Judy Lee. She earned first team all-conference and all-county, while securing a spot on the All-State Second Team. In 2010, she was garned with third team all-state, second team all-conference and second team all-county accolades.

She also played club hockey with Bobby Issar and Marc Waldron of the Spirit Eagles.

Ruesterholz is a four-year honor roll student and an AP Scholar with Honors. Her parents are Virginia and Kevin Ruesterolz and has one brother, Scott Patrick.

Freeman on Ruesterholz: “Katie is Columbia Hockey! With the combination of speed and athleticism, Katie’s knack for finding the goal is at top-caliber level. Her coach-ability, drive for on and off field success and passion for Columbia field hockey is exactly what we want to help elevate our program.”

Caroline Trimble – Forward | Saucon, Pa. | Saucon Valley High School

Why Trimble Chose Columbia: “Going to Columbia will provide me with an opportunity to get an amazing engineering education at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, while also taking liberal arts classes at Columbia College. Plus, I can spend four years doing two my favorite things: playing field hockey and being in New York City!”

Trimble came into her own in her senior season at Saucon Valley under the guidance of Phil Danaher, who also coached her Mystic Hockey Club team. She picked up first team all-league and area selections. She was a two-time captain and MVP at her high school and earned varsity letters on the swimming and track teams.

Trimble has also achieved at an extremely high level in the classroom. She is a part of the Lehigh University High School Scholars Program and has been awarded the Cohen and Feely Best of the Best Scholarship. Her parents are Kathleen and David Trimble and has one sister, Elizabeth.

Freeman on Trimble: “Caroline is creative and productive when she has the ball and puts herself in good support lanes when she doesn’t. Her explosiveness and general on field speed plays well when building the attack and when in transition on defense. Her energy is what we are looking for in our front-field players.”