Ever since Hannah Dickman was little, she wanted to try lacrosse. So once she saw a flyer about the sport in seventh grade -- the first year of Stillwater's junior high program -- she was in.
"We had parent-coaches reading books; all of the dads had books out and we were trying to learn how to play," Dickman said, laughing while recalling the early days.
As expected, she wasn't very good at first.
"Then, I don't know ... something just happened," Dickman said.
She became a points-machine. Now, the standout senior attacker finds herself among the growing crop of high school talent coming out of Minnesota. Before Wednesday night's game, she was tied for the state lead with 60 points (41 goals, 19 assists).
Dickman made big sacrifices to get to this point, including quitting hockey -- a sport she loved and one in which she helped Stillwater win a state championship in 2009. The past three hockey seasons she came down with mononucleosis, so she didn't want to risk anything this time around. It was a tough decision, but one she felt necessary to achieve her primary goal: play a Division I college sport. It worked.
Dickman became the first girls' Ponies lacrosse player to commit to a Division I school after she signed her letter of intent in April to attend the University of Detroit Mercy.
Stillwater coach Rick Reidt called her his most competitive and clutch player. Dickman scored the Ponies' section semifinal game-winning goal with five seconds left a year ago.
"If a goal needs to be scored at the very end of the game in really tight situations, she can score," Reidt said.
The weaving attacker continues to tack on goals with teams now double- and even triple-teaming her. She is also one of Stillwater's top defenders, leading the team in ground balls and turnovers.
Dickman honed her skills with the Minneapolis Lakers, an elite girls' club team where she owed a lot of her success to coach Janet Holdsworth. She played for the Lakers the past two summers even though she didn't even expect to make the team.
"Coach Jan saw something in me, which I am so grateful for," Dickman said.
Coaching and traveling around the country gave her the development and exposure she needed to achieve her goal, but Dickman said she couldn't have accomplished anything without her teammates.
"I'm lucky to have team there with me to support me," Dickman said. "If it wasn't for them assisting me, I wouldn't be scoring the goals."
One of those teammates is best friend Sammi Reiter, who also played for the Lakers and will play both hockey and lacrosse for Concordia University in Wisconsin. They both also tried out for the United States under-19 team in Maryland this past summer.
"Me and Sammi like to call ourselves Hammi," Dickman said. "It's our little name-play because we always know where each other is going, what we're thinking."
The explosive, speedy and strong Reiter has tallied 39 goals and six assists, also among the state's best.
Together, they have helped lead the Ponies to another stellar start. Stillwater is on track to win its third consecutive Suburban East Conference title, but that alone won't satisfy.
"It's my senior year. I wanted to work hard and we want to go to state," Dickman said.