Autumn Bartush always felt at home at Merrimack College.
After all, she had made countless trips to the Andover, MA-based campus to see her older sister, Samantha, play field hockey for the Warriors.
Come the fall of 2022, Merrimack becomes Bartush’s own home away from home for the next four years as the Greens Farms Academy senior field hockey standout has signed an official National Letter of Intent to play field hockey for the Warriors, as well.
“I’m so proud of myself, and of what I’ve accomplished. I’m living my dream,” Bartush said.
When Bartush would go to see her sister’s games, so much of her visit would be based around Merrimack’s athletic facilities. As she started looking at options for her own future, she began looking at the rest of the school and liked what she saw even more.
“When Sam was there, at first it was just another college,” Bartush said. “But then I started loving it. I loved the environment and how it’s small. Just the whole thing. It felt like it was home. I was like, 'Yeah, this is where I want to go.'”
Bartush verbally committed to play for Merrimack as a junior, but like an unlucky bounce on a penalty corner, things could have gone awry when Merrimack’s coach at the time announced she was leaving the school, and a new coach was coming in.
“The previous coach did have a role in me going there, but it happens,” Bartush said of the sudden change.
Unlike many athletes who might decommit under such a circumstance, though, Bartush loved the school first and foremost and waited to meet the new coach before making any rash decisions.
“I met the new coach and I liked her a lot,” Bartush said. “I’m still very happy with my decision. I can’t go to a school just because of the coach.”
GFA coach Liz Schuellein knows the Warriors are getting a special player.
“I think Autumn has been such an example for the team to look up to to learn about hard work, perseverance, and tenacity,” Schuellein said. “She single-handedly can take control of a game and we’ve seen that this season. We’re so excited that she’s playing on the next level and we cannot wait to see what she can do.”
Like many young athletes, Bartush played a lot of different sports growing up, including soccer and gymnastics. She followed her older sister into field hockey, though, and the sport became a passion.
“I just kind of fell in love with it more and more,” Bartush said. “And I’ve had so many great coaches, including Liz, and all of them have helped me grow as a player. I just love the sport.”
Bartush started her career at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk, but her twin brother Mikey had entered GFA as a freshman wrestler and her transfer was soon initiated.
She made an immediate impact on the program and her legend grew from there.
Bartush now owns multiple school records at GFA—including most goals in a career (61) and season (32), most career points (61-25—147), most points in a season (32‑10—74), and most hat tricks in a season (4) and career (8).
And while Bartush helped change GFA field hockey, the school also helped changed her future.
“The level of field hockey, or just any of the athletics, is great here and at a higher level,” Bartush said. “It was like an attitude shift and that helped me grow, not only as a player but as a student as well.”