Published: Jul 01, 2012 01:05 PM
Modified: Jul 01, 2012 03:45 PM
Chapel Hillians’ role in the buildup to the 2012 Olympics continues to grow.
Former East Chapel Hill all-state field hockey player Michelle Kasold has earned a spot on the U.S. National Team that will compete in the 2012 Games in London.
The daughter of Carol and Jeff Kasold, she graduated from East Chapel Hill High School in 2005 and Wake Forest University in 2000, helping both schools win championships, and she also played with the Tar Devils club.
Kasold was named three times as a National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-American, and she played on the U.S. national team that won gold at the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico.
A total of 13 players named to the Olympic team were part of the U.S. squad that booked a ticket to London last October by defeating Argentina in the Pan Am finals.
Three members of the victorious Pan Am team were University of North Carolina graduates – Rachel Dawson, Katelyn Falgowski and Amy Swensen – who also are among the seven players on the 2012 Olympic team who were on the 2008 U.S. team at the Beijing Olympic Games .
The U.S. will open play in Pool B at the Olympic Games with a face-off against No. 3 seed Germany on July 29. After that, Team USA will face No. 2 Argentina, then No. 7 Australia, No. 6 New Zealand and close the pool play with No. 12 South Africa on Aug. 6. The women’s first semifinal will take place on Aug. 8. The gold-medal round is Aug. 10
The U.S. is looking to get its first Olympic medal in field hockey since 1984; it finished a disappointing eighth at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
“We have a tough pool but we actually welcome that and the challenge it brings,” said Lee Bodimeade, head coach of the U.S. Women’s Field Hockey Team. “We are not going to the Olympics for the experience, we are going to win.”Hoffer, Williams at U.S. Olympic Trials
Former East Chapel Hill teammates Swimmers Luke Hoffer and David Williams were at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials going on last week in Omaha, Neb.
Midshipman Luke Hoffer is a rising junior at the U.S. Naval Academy, winning All-American honorable mention and academic honors. Hoffer was a four-year member of the swimming team at East Chapel Hill High School, where he won a combined four N.C. high school titles over his junior and senior years in the 200 breaststroke (two titles), 1000 free and the mile.
Hoffer easily qualified for the trials last winter with a 2:16.95 in the 200 breast, almost a full 4 seconds faster than the cut mark.
“I am very excited, not only for myself but my teammates as well,” said Hoffer. “I am truly blessed.
“Right now, it is very exciting and nerve racking at the same time. Being able to compete at the Trials with so many of my teammates is the first step in taking our program to a new level and achieving greatness that was seen as impossible years back.”
Williams, a four-year letterman at East Chapel Hill, is a sophomore at N.C. State. He posted the fifth-best mark in NCSU history in the 200 freestyle with a 1:37.04 and finished seventh at the ACC Championships.
He qualified for the U.S. Trials after swimming N.C. State’s 10th-fastest ever time in the 100 freestyle with a 44.62.
Hoffer and Williams were joined at the trials by Chapel Hill High School alumnae Marie Pesacreta and Carly Smith, who were members of the University of North Carolina varsity last season.
East Chapel Hill alum Nick McCrory earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic diving team last weekend.
See last week’s Chapel Hill News for more about Smith and Pesacreta, and see www.newsobserver.com
for coverage of the U.S. Olympic Trials.