Langley Lax Standout Duenkel Committed to JMU

Langley Lax Standout Duenkel Committed to JMU

Q&A: Junior an all-conference field hockey player, enjoys cooking.

Langley junior Halle Duenkel is committed to James Madison University.

Langley junior Halle Duenkel is committed to James Madison University. Photo contributed

It didn’t take long before Halle Duenkel was a two-sport standout at Langley High School.

As a freshman, Duenkel, a midfielder on the girls’ lacrosse team, received second-team All-Liberty District honors and helped the Saxons reach the state championship game.

In the fall of 2013, Duenkel, then a sophomore forward on the field hockey team, received first-team All-Conference 6 honors. Later in the school year, Duenkel garnered first-team all-conference and second-team all-region accolades in lacrosse.

It also didn’t take long for Duenkel to figure out her future.

As a sophomore, Duenkel committed to play lacrosse at James Madison University. Now entering her junior year, Duenkel recently participated in a Q&A via email with The Connection.

*Connection: You're committed to James Madison University. What made JMU the right fit for you?

Duenkel: James Madison was the right fit for me because it is a top-20 Division I lacrosse program and it has a top-20 business school. I love the coaches and I already feel at home!

*Connection: At what age did you start playing lacrosse? When did you realize playing college lacrosse was a possibility for you?

Duenkel: I started playing lacrosse when I was in third grade and realized that playing in college was a possibility for me when I was in seventh grade and quit soccer to focus on my lacrosse career. The recruiting process began so early that I committed in November of my sophomore year. I could have committed sooner but I wanted to take my time and find the perfect school for me.

*Connection: You're a junior. How do you feel about your lacrosse game now compared to when you were a freshman on the varsity?

Duenkel: I feel that there is more responsibility for me to be a leader on the team because when I was a freshman the upperclassmen were great role models for me. I really want to help the team go to states and win a state title for Langley. I'm excited about this year!

*Connection: How much time do you spend working on your lacrosse skills in the offseason?

Duenkel: Between wall ball and running I spend a couple hours every day to work on my skills in the offseason. I am also working on strength training at Max with Doug Vasiliadis to get a stronger shot and be better on defense.

*Connection: What is your favorite lacrosse moment from your first two years at Langley?

Duenkel: Beating Westfield my freshman year in a last-second buzzer beater and advancing into the state tournament.

*Connection: You also play field hockey at Langley. At what age did you start playing?

Duenkel: I started playing field hockey in eighth grade for Potomac Field Hockey. I wanted to understand the game before I played in high school.

*Connection: Do field hockey skills in any way translate to lacrosse?

Duenkel: Field hockey has taught me better body control and to move my feet on defense.

*Connection: How would you describe the Langley-McLean rivalry?

Duenkel: The rivalry is awesome! My mom went to McLean so there is always teasing and fun in our household during that time.

*Connection: What is your favorite food?

Duenkel: My favorite food is a good burger and a milkshake

*Connection: Who is your favorite music artist? Why?

Duenkel: Either Maroon 5 or Gavin DeGraw. I just saw Gavin DeGraw in concert last week at Wolf Trap. I love the lyrics to the music

*Connection: What is your favorite movie? Why?

Duenkel: ‘The Hunger Games,’ because I read the books, so it was interesting to see the director’s spin on the book, or ‘Happy Gilmore,’ because any movie with Adam Sandler is hilarious.

*Connection: What is your favorite hobby outside of lacrosse and field hockey?

Duenkel: I love to cook and bake! I could watch the Food Network 24/7.

*Connection: What location is the farthest you have traveled from the Washington, D.C. metro area?

Duenkel: The farthest I have traveled is San Diego, Calif. The San Diego Zoo was incredible and I got a backstage tour with Shamu at Sea World. You can also just walk up to sea lions in La Jolla.

*Connection: Are you a pro sports fan? If so, who are your favorite teams?

Duenkel: My favorite sports teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Nationals, and Washington Capitals.

*Connection: Do you have a favorite pro athlete(s)?

Duenkel: [Steelers safety] Troy Polamalu, [Nationals third baseman/outfielder] Ryan Zimmerman, and [Capitals right wing] Alex Ovechkin. I love it that Ryan Zimmerman lives in Great Falls now. Maybe someday I can coach his daughter if she wants to play lacrosse. :)