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Olympic aspirations Beamesderfer describes her time with U.S. Women’s National Squad as ‘amazing experience’
In her fourth trip to the Women’s National Field Hockey Championship in May, Meghan Beamesderfer’s dream came true.
After days of intense evaluation at Old Dominion University while competing for the Midwest-California Region team, the 2010 University of Iowa graduate (and 2006 Warwick grad) was named to the 2013-14 U.S. Women’s National Field Hockey Squad by head coach Craig Parnham. The selection makes her one of the nation’s top-30 top-tier field hockey athletes.
The 30-player roster features 12 Olympians, including two-time Olympians Lauren Crandall, Rachel Dawson, Katelyn Falgowski, and Caroline Nichols. Donegal High School product Laura Gebhart is also a member of the U.S. squad.
Previously, Beamesderfer played for the National Development team last year.
A two-time NFHCA All-American in college, Beamesderfer helped to lead the Lady Hawkeyes to the NCAA Division-One finals in 2008, where they suffered a hard-fought double OT loss to Maryland.
"When our team went to the Final Four, that was by far my favorite memory of Iowa," Beamesderfer said. "We had an amazing season as a team and just kinda were unexpected to make it to the Final Four. It was a heck of a game (against Maryland). That moment alone was by far my favorite from college."
Beamesderfer, 25, is playing defense and midfield for the national team, whose home is now Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster.
Earlier this week, Record Express sports editor Bruce Morgan had an opportunity to interview Beamesderfer about playing for the U.S. The following is a transcript of their conversation.
Bruce Morgan: How big of a thrill was it to be selected to the U.S. Women’s National Squad?
Meghan Beamesderfer: Words can’t even describe it, really. The feeling that I had when I was named to the team, it’s obviously like a dream for everybody. When it’s actually out there and your name is announced, it was just kinda very humbling and I couldn’t be more proud to represent our country.
BM: Were you part of the 18-player roster that competed in London at the International Hockey Federation’s World League Semi-Final from June 22-30?
MB: No, I was not selected for that.
BM: Not being among the 18 that went to London, was that a disappointment? What were your emotions at that point?
MB: Obviously, yes, I was disappointed because you want to compete as much as you can. But at the same time, I have all the confidence that our coach knows what he’s doing and he picked the squad that he thought would perform the best together and I watched every game online. I tried to train as hard as I could as if I were there, and that’s all I really know to do. Just keep getting better every day.
BM: You were a member of the U16 U.S. National Team too, right?
MB: Yes, I was.
BM: Did you travel overseas with them?
MB: Yes, I went to Holland. We had a tournament over there.
BM: Did you have any other international experience growing up?
MB: With the National Team, I was on the Developmental Squad last year and I went to Ireland, Brazil and New Zealand. So I’ve had some international competition.
BM: So this wasn’t the first time that you competed in the National Championships then?
MB: No, it was not. I actually did all through college as well.
BM: How many times have you competed in the National Championships?
MB: This would be my fourth year.
BM: So getting named to the U.S. Women’s Team then was kinda getting over the hump, so to speak?
MB: Yes, for sure.
BM: You’re in your backyard now training at Spooky Nook Sports. What does that mean to you?
MB: When I actually heard that we were moving to Lancaster, I was so shocked. I had been training in San Diego all spring basically this year and when they had announced it was Lancaster (that would be the home of the U.S. Women’s National Team), it couldn’t be more perfect because I had been gone for the last seven years. I went to school at Iowa and then I had decided to stay and coach and I hadn’t really been back here and been around my family for longer than like a week or so at a time. So I was extremely excited and I am still extremely excited to be back.
BM: What are your impressions of the facilities at Spooky Nook Sports?
MB: They’re absolutely amazing. Everything is state-of-the-art. Just basically, we are so lucky to have Sam Byler and his staff create such a facility for us.
BM: Put into perspective, if you would, just having Lancaster be the home-base for the U.S. Team. How big of a deal is that for Lancaster to have that in their community?
MB: You know, I think it’s absolutely awesome. Lancaster doesn’t really have many big sports teams in the area, other than the Barnstormers, and I just feel like this community is definitely going to embrace it and just kinda really support us and I think that’s what field hockey needs in the U.S. It needs a bigger fan base and a way to grow the game, and I think being in this area of Pennsylvania, that’s the way to do it.
BM: What does an average day or an average week consist of for you?
MB: Right now, in the past couple of months, all we’ve been doing is training Monday through Friday. We’ll have two-a-days most days and then probably one day where it’s just a one-session day. But there’s days where there’s two practices of field hockey and then there’s some days where we have a gym or a strength session and then a field hockey practice in the afternoon. So all day every day is basically training to be at that higher standard that we’re setting for ourselves. It’s very, very demanding and challenging, but I absolutely have bought into everything this new coach (Craig Parnham) is about and I think he is going to take the field hockey program to a whole different level.
BM: Do you still love field hockey like you once did?
MB: Yes, I think I love it even more, to be honest. In college, you kind of went through the motions at times. But now it’s like you are fighting for a spot every single day, and there’s just something about wearing USA on the front of your pinnie every day at practice that really brings out your inner self and just motivates you even more. So I would say I’m at my all-time high of having a passion for the sport and all that stuff.
BM: You’ve obviously accomplished a lot in the sport, but is this the ultimate accomplishment, making the U.S. Women’s National team?
MB: Oh absolutely. The first time I ever put on the uniform was probably my most memorable moment playing field hockey. You just can’t even describe what it’s like to be wearing it and then hear your National Anthem play and know that you’re out there representing the United States. It’s been an amazing experience so far and I’m so happy to be a part of it.
BM: What is the team currently training for right now?
MB: There’s a Pan American Cup in September. That’s in Argentina. So that’s the next big tournament for us.
BM: Will all 30 go to that?
MB: No, you can only travel 18 to tournaments. Another selection will be made, but I’m not sure when.
BM: Talk about the level of talent that you see every day on this team. How impressive is the talent that makes up the team?
MB: It’s the best in the country, obviously. You never have a day where you can not show up to play. You’re training hard against the best and I’ve learned so much from all these girls and they’re great role models. They just show a lot of character and I think we have some amazing talent, and I think this coach is going to do some great things with it.
BM: Will you have to try out again to make the 2014-15 team?
MB: Yes, basically it’s a one-year (commitment).
BM: You may have to go back to the National Championships? Is that how it would work?
MB: Yes, even the girls that have been on the team for eight years, they still compete at the National Championships. If you’re trying out for the National team, you’re there competing.
BM: What is your ultimate goal in field hockey?
MB: I would say obviously the 2016 Olympics would be the ultimate goal. Just to become the best field hockey player and just grow my knowledge and continue just to grow the game as much as I can (are my goals).
BM: Will you continue to play as long as you can?
MB: Yes, I mean, I feel like my body has been holding up pretty well and I think I’m going to just keep going as long as it allows me to. I’m in no place where I would want to stop.
More BEAMESDERFER, page B-3