Boy Helps Somerset-Berkley Girls’ Field Hockey Team To Undefeated Regular Season

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A boy helped the Somerset-Berkley High School girls’ field hockey team to an undefeated regular season this year.

Somerset-Berkeley capped off its regular season at 17-0-1 last week, and freshman Ryan Crook played a role in the team’s success.

A boy who also plays baseball, Crook has excelled for the girls’ field hockey team this season.

For example, he had a goal and an assist in the team’s 6-0 win over Seekonk on October 17, according to The Breeze, the student newspaper at Somerset-Berkley. Additionally, when the student paper covered the team’s 3-1 win over Apponoquet on September 5, he had an assist; and when it covered the team’s 7-1 win over Durfee on September 12, he scored two goals.

While Crook’s complete stats are unavailable, he had more than 10 goals and 10 assists during the regular season, according to the school’s athletic department X (formerly Twitter) account.

Somerset-Berkley will now compete in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 2 statewide playoff tournament; further information about the tournament, including seeding and which teams will face off, is scheduled to be released later in the week. Given the team’s strong regular season performance, Somerset-Berkley could make a deep tournament run.

In any other state, a boy who identifies as a boy playing on the girls’ team would be unheard of. However, Massachusetts is the only state where boys not only can play high school field hockey with the girls but do it every year and make major impacts on their respective teams.

Crook’s family is no stranger to field hockey. His mother, Jen Crook, is the head coach at Somerset-Berkley, and both his older brother and sister excelled for the team in high school.

His sister Cami, who graduated from high school in 2021, plays women’s college field hockey at Providence College, an NCAA Division 1 school.

Meanwhile, his older brother Lucas, who graduated from high school in 2020, is the leading scorer in Somerset-Berkley school history (142 goals and 122 assists). The older Crooks helped Somerset-Berkley win back-to-back Division 1 state championships in 2018 and 2019; Lucas scored the game-winning goal in overtime in his team’s 2-1 state championship win over Nashoba in 2018. Additionally, he was named South Coast Conference most valuable player as a senior — and he was named to The Boston Globe All-Scholastic team.

The state allows boys like Crook to play because of the 1979 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision in Attorney General v. Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. In it, the court ruled that the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s policy of the time that stated “No boy may play on a girls’ team” was unlawful because in the court’s view it violated the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution.

The Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution states:


All people are born free and equal and have certain natural, essential and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness. Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed or national origin.


The Equal Rights Amendment was relatively new at the time. It passed at the ballot in the November 1976 general election with 60.4 percent supporting and 39.6 percent opposing, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office. Every single county voted in favor of the proposed amendment.

Boys playing on girls’ teams is more common in girls’ volleyball than in soccer — but far more prominent in field hockey. During the 2019-2020 school year, the most recent year for which data is available, 15 boys played high school volleyball for girls’ teams in the MIAA while 41 boys played on girls’ field hockey teams, according to the MIAA. Those figures include freshman, junior varsity, and varsity teams combined.

Additionally, there have been other instances of boys playing on girls’ teams, as NewBostonPost has also reported. This category includes a boy on the Carver High girls’ soccer team in the fall of 2021 since Carver had no boys program, plus a boy who identifies as transgender competing on the Brookline High girls’ cross country and track teams; the runner who identifies as transgender, Chloe Barnes, helped Brookline win an MIAA Division 1 state championship in the winter 2022-2023 season, coming in fourth place in the 55-meter hurdles at the state meet.  


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