Taryn Ringer's 16th birthday wasn't all about receiving.
The Johnstown High School multi-sport standout gave that day, as well.
That was on July 10 when the record-setting goal scorer provided Duke University field hockey and coach Pam Bustin with a verbal commitment to join the Atlantic Coast Conference program for the fall 2021 season.
"I was excited, and at the same time relieved," Ringer said Wednesday.
MAX Field Hockey announced Ringer's decision to play for the Blue Devils Wednesday on Twitter. On the day she committed, Ringer also got her driver's permit.
"Duke has been her dream since Day 1. As long as I can remember," said Johnstown field hockey coach Christine Krempa, who is Ringer's aunt. "This is big. They are only taking six from her class."
Duke topped a list of Division I colleges that expressed serious interest in the rising junior, whose 66 goals are two shy of the Johnstown career record. The list included Columbia, Johns Hopkins and Ohio State, where Shenendehowa rising senior goalkeeper Abby Danson is headed.
"Duke has a great academic and athletic reputation, and such a diverse culture of people," Ringer said. "I also like the coaching staff and the way they push me to be a better player."
Ringer attended an elite camp at Duke last summer, and in early June of this year went back to the Durham, North Carolina, campus for a two-day clinic. Bustin, a member of the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame, made an offer to Ringer soon after.
"They like my coachability," Ringer said. "I love to learn. I'll love to learn from them."
Ringer is headed to a Duke team that has gone 114-54 in Bustin's eight seasons. The Blue Devils made an appearance in the NCAA final in 2013. Duke went 16-6 last season and reached the NCAA quarterfinals.
"They like her speed and strength, and her elimination skills," Krempa said of Ringer's ability to break clear of defenders. "They really love her work ethic and work rate. She never stops on the field."
Ringer earned her second all-state nod last season after setting a Johnstown single-season record with 43 goals while adding 16 assists. Her 102 total points ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 5 nationally. She also tied a state record with seven goals in an 11-0 win over Gloversville, and was selected the New York State Player of the Month for September and October by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.
Johnstown won the Foothills Council title and finished 18-1 after a 1-0 loss to Hoosick Falls in the Section II Class C title game. That was the only game in which Ringer did not score a goal.
"It was painful and disappointing," Ringer said. "It made us more hungry."
"I want the girls to get another shot at it," Krempa said of the Section II title. "I am preparing for our season to begin August 19."
Johnstown coaches, student-athletes and administrators are trying to raise $311,000 to keep modified, junior varsity and varsity sports running after they were omitted from the school's 2019-20 budget. Krempa is a member of the fundraising committee and said $160,000 has been generated thus far.
"So many people are helping," Ringer said. "I think we are [going to play]."
Ringer will be in Holland next week competing against club teams and attending clinics. She was among 100 players from the class of 2021 chosen by MAX Field Hockey to participate.
"I am super excited to meet new people and work on my game," Ringer said. "Not many people get this opportunity. I am so thankful."
Ringer also skis and plays lacrosse. This past spring, she helped Johnstown win the Section II Class D lacrosse championship and finished the season with school records for goals (73) and points (94).
"Field hockey is her passion," Krempa said. "Lacrosse makes her a better field hockey player."