There is not much better in this world than a close friend; someone to stick with you through the years. Some people are lucky enough to find a friend like that early in life. Brittany Cummings and Kallie Aldus, longtime athletic teammates and schoolmates, are that lucky.

Cummings is the daughter of Roxanne and Michael Cummings, and Aldus the daughter of Kristin and Raymond Aldus. Both families are from Belfast. The young women recently finished their college hockey careers together.

The friends met when in second grade through a YMCA field hockey summer program and have been friends — and teammates — since.

“I can still remember it like it was yesterday,” Aldus said. “She [Cummings] was wearing a purple jumper with yellow flowers to practice and I was jealous of her outfit and that was my first impression.”

“Ever since we have been inseparable,” Aldus said.

“At this time we were just being introduced as friends as well,” Cummings said. “I remember thinking she was really “cool” and wanting to be friends with her and I thought she was really good at field hockey and she had a lot of field hockey friends that I wanted to hang out with too. Field hockey kind of is where our friendship began.”

The two have been playing field hockey since. They played in the YMCA league, at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, in the Futures Program and at Belfast Area High School, where they shared three state championships and went 54-0 in three years. Then they played four years at the University of Maine in Orono.

That is 15 straight years of playing field hockey together.

Aldus said the two always laugh about middle school and how immature they thought they were.

“We obviously were little brats and thought we were the best,” Aldus said. “We just giggle about that sometimes and how when we got taken out even for just five minutes we would be so bitter and just sit alone and pout and cheer for the other team so [the coach] would put us back in”

The two just finished their fourth year playing for the Division I University of Maine Black Bears.

“[Cummings] had a great career here, contributed a lot,” said Black Bear coach Josette Babineau. “She has been a big contributor to our program from day one, Kallie as well.”

However, the coach added Aldus had a knee injury when she arrived and her first-year was a little slower than Cummings’.

“I’ve really enjoyed coaching them,” Babineau said. “They have both been tremendous contributors to our program.“

She added that, on the field, Cummings relies on her technical abilities up front, is quick, tenacious, and goes hard every second she is on the field. Aldus, on the other hand, “is a bit more controlled in her game, is more of a playmaker, setting up her teammates, a good ball distributor, a good defender, maybe a little bit more conservative in her play,” Babineau said.

Cummings, a forward, started in all 17 games she played this season. She had five goals and three assists. This year, Aldus, a midfielder, played in 16 games and started two. She had a goal and an assist. UMaine finished 13-6 this season.

Over the years, field hockey has brought the two young women together.

“Kallie and I are still best friends,” said Cummings. “Experiences here at college and field hockey have brought us even closer, but we have a much more mature relationship now. We are the silliest girls together that you will ever meet, we love being goofy, we have the same humor and have so many memories together that we could laugh about everyday.”

Aldus echoed her friend’s thoughts. “We have been involved in each others’ lives for so long, and created so many memories together that our lives are so intertwined and always will be. We still act like we are in second grade when we are together by being goofy and laughing uncontrollably. Sometimes we just look at one another and bust out laughing hysterically, [which is] not so funny in a team huddle.”

Their shared experiences had only brought the two closer; both on and off the field.

“They entered the [UMaine field hockey] program as best friends and they are leaving the program as best friends as well,” Babineau said. “They have always been together in their time here. We joke because you see them together everywhere they go, whether they are warming up for field hockey practice, passing the ball together or hanging out off the field, really that hasn’t changes between them in their time here.”

“We have experienced so much together that we have just gotten even closer,” Cummings said. “I think it is very rare to know someone for so long and still remain just as close in the end.”

On the field, their connection helps them play a tighter game as well.

“Britt and I have always been the on the same teams, even club teams” Aldus said. “We can read each other very well, and have a lot of confidence in one another on the field. We could play together with our eyes shut because we always know where one another is.”

“It is a huge advantage,” Cummings said. “When Kallie and I are playing next to each other on the field we are so much more comfortable and confident with our own individual skills because we trust each other.”

The coach agrees. “I think that they know where each other is on the field, Babineau said, “they haven’t always played front to back but I do notice when they do play front to back it comes to mind that there is like a familiar play between the two of them.”

Now, the two are seniors and even though they have another semester at the college, they have to move on. The field hockey season — in fact, their playing careers — is over and the future has been on their minds.

“Even though Britt and I will experience a new lifestyle soon, our friendship will never change no matter how far away from each other we are,” Aldus said. “No matter how far away our lives take us, we can always count on one another. I feel blessed to have such a great friendship. She is the one person I know I can always truly count on.”

“We have had our times where we [weren’t] as close,” Cummings said, “but it has always come around and we will always love each other and be best friends.”

Some of the two athletes’ accolades are:

In 2009, Aldus played in all 19 games for the Black Bears, and started two. She notched three assists, was named to the America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll, and was a Maine Scholar-Athlete Award Winner.

In 2008, Aldus started in 16 of 17 games she played, had a goal and an assist, was named to the America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll, was a Maine Scholar-Athlete Award winner, and was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association Division I National Academic Squad.

In 2007, Aldus appeared in seven games, was selected to the America East Academic Honor Roll, and was named a Maine Academic “Rising Star.”

Before college, Aldus was the captain for Allen Holmes at BAHS where the team went undefeated with a record of 54-0 and won three straight state Class B championships. She also scored 20 career high school goals and added 35 assists, was named Miss Maine Field Hockey, was a three-time All-State selection, was selected as a Junior Nationals Future Elite, was a six-year Futures Participant, and was a two-time Junior Olympian.

In 2009, Cummings started all 19 games for Maine, notched numerous goals, took two assists, and was named to the America East All-Academic Team, named to the America East Honor Roll, a Maine Scholar-Athlete Award Winner, named to the NFHCA DI National Academic Squad, and named to the America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

In 2008, Cummings played in all 17 games, starting 10, scored a goal, was selected to the America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll, was a Maine Scholar-Athlete Award winner, and was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association Division I National Academic Squad.

In 2007, Cummings played 15 games, starting eight, and had one assist. Also, she was named to the America East All-Rookie Team, named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division I National Academic Squad and named a Maine Academic “Rising Star” and to the America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

Before heading to UMaine, Cummings was captain for coach Holmes at BAHS during the Lions’ three state Class B championships, 54-0 record and three Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships. She was also a first-team All-State and first-team KVAC selection, received Portland Press Herald first-team honors, was a Junior Olympian, was a four-time national tournament participant, played basketball, and was a member of the National Honor Society.

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.