The future of U.S. women’s field hockey is being shaped this week at American University.
The 2011 Senior Women’s National Championship continues through Friday at Jacobs Field. The tournament pits regional teams comprising collegiate, former collegiate, and current members of the national team against one another and serves as the selection process for the next incarnation of the national team.
“The national coach, two assistants, and the high performance director for all of U.S. hockey will be selecting the top players,” said AU head coach Steve Jennings, who’s one of those national team assistants. “It’s a great event to see top-level hockey.”
All the games are free to the public. Three today, three Thursday, and three Friday culminating in the final at 6 p.m. are on the schedule.
“I think we’ll have big crowds, and certainly for the finals on Friday the 27th,” Jennings said.
AU senior Tatum Dyer and junior Jenn Bradley are participating in the tournament.
“Jenn and I are excited to have this opportunity,” Dyer told AUEagles.com. “We are playing with and against the best players in the country, and we are looking forward to doing so on our home turf.”
Landing the championship is just the latest salvo for Jennings and AU, which hosted the national team’s series of five friendlies against Argentina in May 2010. Each event brings exposure to the university and its field hockey program, which has dominated the Patriot League in recent years.
“In looking for a quality playing surface in a central location on the East Coast and the ability to work closely with Steve Jennings, hosting the Women’s National Championship at AU is an appropriate venue for an event of this stature,” U.S. head coach Lee Bodimeade told AUEagles.com. “These are the most elite athletes in the country. They will be assessed to continue on towards participation in the Olympic Games. We are seeking the highest quality athletes to represent the USA National Team and bring Olympic success to USA Field Hockey.”
Once the team is selected, it will travel to Ireland in June for the Champions Challenge, an international tournament pitting the number 7 through 12 teams in the world. But the biggest prize this year is the Pan Am Games. Held in Mexico in October, the winner will receive an automatic berth in the 2012 Olympics in London.
A loss in Guadalajara won’t end Olympic dreams, but it will make the path to England significantly tougher. The runner up, the third-place team and perhaps the fourth will have an opportunity to qualify at a later tournament, Jennings said.
But for now, the focus is squarely on the competition at Jacobs Field and the best field hockey players this country has to offer.
Teague Moore Named Wrestling Coach
Former Clarion University wrestling coach Teague Moore is the new head man at American University.
Moore is coming off a season in which he was named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
“We are very excited to welcome Teague Moore to American University as the new head coach of our wrestling program,” AU director of athletics and recreation Keith Gill told AUEagles.com. “Teague has the skills, experience, and drive to lead our student-athletes to continued success on the mat and in the classroom. His values are in alignment with our institution’s principles of commitment to academic and athletic achievements.”
Moore replaces Mark Cody, who resurrected the program during his nine years at AU. After being named 2011 national coach of the year, Cody left to become head coach at the University of Oklahoma.
Moore is looking forward to continuing Cody’s legacy of success.
“AU’s wrestling program has proven to be a strong national contender with a very successful record in academics,” he told AUEagles.com. “Both of those elements have been the key to my approach and focus. I’m eager to continue building upon the recent successes of the American program.”