Maryland to Host National Championships
May 23, 2012
Former Terrapin O'Donnell Gears Up For 2012 Olympics (The Washington Post)
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The nation's top players will come to College Park June 1-8 to play in the Women's National Championships and try out for USA Field Hockey's national teams, including the 2012 Olympic Team.
Athletes will compete for the title of regional champions, but more importantly vie for a spot on the National Squad roster and the opportunity to represent the U.S. on the international stage. The Women's National Championship serves as the only selection opportunity to the National and Development Squads.
The 8-day showcase event that begins on June 1 features eight competitive regions playing in five matches, including the finals on June 8. Athletes will be assessed to continue on towards participation with the National Team, including the Olympic Games. U.S. Senior National Team head coach Lee Bodimeade is in search of the highest quality athletes to represent the U.S. and bring Olympic success to the program.
Former Terrapins Katie O'Donnell and Keli Smith Puzo are current national team members that will be playing in the National Championships. Current Terrapins Maxine Fluharty, Dina Rizzo, Jill Witmer, Katie Gerzabek, and Ali McEvoy, as well as O'Donnell and current assistant and former player/Olympian Dina Rizzo will all be on the Mid Atlantic Regional squad. Current Terrapin Natalie Hunter will be on the California squad and former player Melissa Vassalotti will be on the New Jersey team. Terrapin great Carla Tagliente will coach the North team and Smith Puzo will be on the Midwest team.
For the full schedule, log on to http://www2.teamusa.org/USA-Field-Hockey/EVENTS/2012/June/01/Women-National-Championship.aspx.
All fans planning to attend without a campus parking permit should park in the Paint Branch Visitor's Lot prior to 4 p.m. for the remaining days of the WNC. Fans parked in lot 11B without a permit are subject to ticketing. For a parking map, please click here.
"The Women's National Championship is the selection trials for our senior squad, which undoubtedly carries a lot of weight," Bodimeade said. "The National Team and Development Squad will be named and athletes will be given the opportunity to represent the U.S. at not just the upcoming Games, but in Rio (2016) as well. It is our premier domestic competition in which we determine what athletes are going to contribute to the program's future successes."
"Every year there has been an elevation in skill level and more depth in the player base. The University of Maryland is a great hockey complex for us to compete at and we are excited to see who will put their hand up and push for selection to the National Squad."
From the new pool of athletes named to the National Squad, Bodimeade will select 16 women to represent the U.S. at the Olympic Games. The 2012 U.S. Olympic Women's Field Hockey Team is set to be announced on June 23, subject to approval from the United States Olympic Committee board of directors.
Maryland's Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex will be home to the games of the Women's National Championships. The stadium has played host to two Final Fours and in November 2011, the Terrapins won their seventh national title in front of an NCAA record 2,381 fans at the Complex.
"As one of USA Field Hockey's High Performance Centers, the University of Maryland is eager to host the nation's premier athletes at College Park," head coach Missy Meharg said. "Showcasing the exciting developments of the women's game from eight competitive regions will certainly entertain hockey enthusiasts, especially given the Olympic year."
Admission is free and open to the public. All matches will be held at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex on the University of Maryland campus. Please be advised that graduations will be taking place on campus throughout the day on June 1.