"I've been going to sailing camp for years, and I've been training girls since I was 9," she said.
Rankin said she thought she would like to sail competitively in college, but she is following in a family tradition of attending small liberal-arts schools. She said she chose Centre because of its program that allows students to spend a semester abroad, and she hopes to make two trips to study overseas during her years here.
Rankin had already made it through one difficult decision to move inland when she left her home in Asheboro, N.C., to attend The Asheville School, a boarding school located some three hours to the west in the North Carolina mountains.
She chose that school because of it's strong outdoors program. The outdoors is another of her passions, and she hopes to land an internship with a land conservancy program.
Making the adjustment to the college game has been tough
Rankin is glad she has the chance to continue playing field hockey, but high school field hockey isn't strong in North Carolina, and she said it hasn't been easy making the adjustment from a small high school team to the college game.
"It's been kind of tough for me," Rankin said. "Field hockey doesn't get as far south as some sports. Girls at this level have already got the basics down."
But once she started showing interest in coming to Centre and playing hockey there, she said coach Tom Hobbs did everything he could to convince her it was a good idea.
"He called me once a week," she said. "He was an excellent recruiter."
Hobbs said he's glad to have Rankin on board.
"Her attitude is just fantastic," Hobbs said. "She works hard and soaks up everything I tell her."
Rankin is part of a nine-woman freshman class that Centre is putting to good use in its first season of Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play.
Rankin said even though field hockey and sailing aren't remotely alike, there are parallels between the two sports.
"They're probably really comparable," she said. "There are similarities between them in terms of discipline."