FARMINGTON — Rileigh Blanchet’s role as goalkeeper on the Maine Majestix field hockey team requires focus and lots of practice.

Blanchet, 15, a sophomore at Mt. Blue High School, joined 13 teammates from six Maine counties, including Oxford, Somerset, Kennebec, Cumberland and Piscataquis, for games at the National Field Hockey Festival held over Thanksgiving weekend in Phoenix, Ariz.

Blanchet’s team was one of 215 teams competing from Maine to California, said Renee Blanchet, who accompanied her daughter to the four-day festival.

The event was well-organized, definitely the best in the nation, playing with a goal to advance to the next level, Renee Blanchet said of the 18 fields filled with games held from early morning to evening.

Teams were divided by age, under 16 and under 19, and skill levels. Blanchet played in six games at the under-16 level.

The Majestix tied a team from Beverly Hills and lost the other games, but the experience of going and “tougher teams playing against you” provided compensation.

The teams had higher skill levels than she experiences on the high school level, where the balls are shot toward the goal at foot level, she said.

“With the higher skill levels, you can’t tell where the shots have gone,” she said.

That’s where the focus comes in.

“My coach told me to focus on the ball all the time, zone out people. Look through the ball to the stick and focus on someone hitting the stick,” she said.

Despite the added pressure and heavy equipment that made it hard to walk at first, Blanchet always wanted to play goalie.

“I like the pressure of trying really hard. I can’t slack off,” she said of the position that makes her a leader of the team as from her position she tells other players where they should be.

Blanchet started playing in seventh grade and now plays field hockey at Mt. Blue High School. During a summer tournament, a recruiter was watching and invited her to try out for the statewide team based in the Waterville area.

She’s only been with the Majestix team since mid-September but has devoted the hours and effort to practice and prepare for the National Festival. The team normally plays other teams in the New England area.

Practices held at Colby and Thomas College and a one-on-one coach have kept her parents, Michael and Renee, and brother, Drew, providing transportation to Waterville four days a week, including an early Sunday morning practice where she arrives at 7 a.m. for her own practice before the team practice held at 9 a.m., all while maintaining a high grade point average at Mt. Blue.

According to the Majestix website, premier teams attend USA Field Hockey-sanctioned tournaments such as the National Festival “to provide advanced training and preparation necessary to become a successful college student and field hockey player.”

“These tournaments are used as primary recruiting tool by college coaches. Our goal is to get Majestix players national exposure in hopes of giving them the opportunity to play at the college level in the future,” the Majestix website says.

More than 100 college scouts from all over the country were watching the play in Arizona.

Blanchet, a sophomore who hasn’t decided on future aspirations yet, cannot speak with the scouts until her junior year, she said. One requirement for playing on the team, though, is to develop a field hockey sport resume to be sent out to colleges, she added.

“It’s about improving by doing. I’ve improved a lot,” she said of the preparation for the Majestix team.

She’s already on the Majestix 2012 indoor field hockey team and is considering joining the spring team.

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