Girls Varsity Field Hockey · Former Firebird Rachel Gaines Makes History as Academic All-American

Courtesy of Appalachian State University Athletics

BOONE, N.C. – Rachel Gaines has made more history, becoming the first App State field hockey student-athlete to be named an Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Gaines earned a spot on the women’s third team as CoSIDA revealed its Academic All-America Division I Men’s and Women’s At-Large teams on Friday. She is one of only five field hockey representatives among the 46 total student-athletes who make up the three women’s teams, with other at-large honorees coming from the sports of swimming, tennis, golf, lacrosse, fencing, crew, ice hockey, beach volleyball and rifle.

Gaines is also one of five women’s honorees from a Division I university in North Carolina, as Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Campbell also had one Academic All-American apiece.

A three-year starter in goal for the Mountaineers, Gaines collected 468 career saves and was a two-time MAC Player of the Week selection. She was named second-team all-conference after producing seven shutouts this past season.

One of 23 athletes selected to the 2020 U.S. Women’s Field Hockey National Development Team, she has also been a two-time member of the U.S. Senior Indoor National Field Hockey Team during her college years.

Gaines graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and minors in sport science and coaching in August 2019. She maintains a 4.0 GPA in her master’s program in renewable energy engineering and will begin pursuit of her doctorate at the University of Illinois this fall.

Gaines is a three-time Academic All-MAC selection, a three-time NFHCA National Academic Squad member and a three-time NFHCA Scholar of Distinction.

She was the only field hockey representative from District 3, which covered three states, and she was already the first App State field hockey student-athlete to earn Academic All-District status.