At age 13, she became one of the youngest ever to play international cricket when she took the field for the Ireland women's team. Two weeks short of 18, she made her senior international debut for the Irish hockey team, in 2016. Now, all of 20, dual international Elena Tice has a Hockey World Cup silver medal to her name.
In a breakout run at the recently-concluded Hockey World Cup, where Ireland made their first appearance in 16 years, Tice and her team finished runners-up following a 6-0 hammering from eight-time champions Netherlands in London on Sunday. The unprecedented campaign culminated in a best-ever finish for Ireland at an international event, who are expected to break into the top 10 in the next update to the world rankings.
A student of Economics, and defender at University College Dublin (UCD) club, Tice holds the distinction of being among the few elite female cricketers who have represented their country in two sports. Australia allrounder Ellyse Perry (football), New Zealand captain Suzie Bates (basketball) and allrounder Sophie Devine (hockey) are some of the pre-eminent members of the club. A defender at the UCD Club, Tice has more than a hundred international caps split across the two sports - 40 in cricket alone. Having largely played as a legspinner in a currently dormant cricket career, her last international appearance came in 2015, in a T20I against Australia.
Born in Basingstoke, Hampshire, Tice moved to Indianapolis in the USA when she was four. There she picked up baseball and, at age six, the family moved to Vienna. During her three years in the Austrian capital, she made her first foray into cricket and went on to play for the Austria Cricket Club later. At nine, she moved back to Ireland where she began playing school cricket for Aravon School while also lining up for the Merrion Cricket Club. The same year marked her initiation into hockey too.
Growing up, Tice dabbled in several other sports, including football, rugby and horse-riding, and Evented (an equestrian event) until about age 13. But juggling cricket and hockey became challenging for the widely travelled Tice, especially while representing the Irish Under-16 and Under-18 hockey teams. Extension of the season deep into summer would mean the cricket season had to be compromised with.
For Tice, developing an interest in myriad sports has been a natural phenomenon. Youngest of three siblings, one of her brothers, Patrick, represented the Ireland's Under-19s and Cambridge University as wicketkeeper-batsman. The other, Dalton, played rugby with the Leinster under-19s. A long-time supporter of the English football club Manchester United, she looked up to the legendary Paul Scholes and allrounder Andrew Flintoff for his charisma.
With her sights set on the qualifying tournament next year, Tice's career goal is to play in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. And if her advice to young hockey players, as it reads on her Hockey Ireland profile page, is anything to go by, rest assured Tice is likely to "be the person who works harder than everyone else."