Gebhart named to U.S. Women's National Field Hockey Squad

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Following an intense weekend of evaluation at the 2013 Women's National Championship selection tournament, Penn State field hockey's Laura Gebhart has been named to the U.S. Women's National Field Hockey Squad by head coach Craig Parnham. Gebhart joins a team featuring 12 Olympians, beginning a new chapter with the country's top field hockey athletes after countless hours of training and competition.

"I am extremely excited to be named to the National Squad," said Gebhart. "I will get to train with and be coached by the very best the U.S., and arguably the world, has to offer. The opportunity for my personal growth in the game is enormous, and I hope to take full advantage of that. As with any time I get to play with the U.S. program, I will try to bring whatever I can back to the Penn State program to help us all grow and learn. I've gotten to this point because of my incredible coaches, teammates, family and friends; I hope I can share this amazing opportunity with all of them."

Gebhart has steadily generated a strong history with the U.S. Field Hockey program, playing for the National Development Squad and the U.S. Under-21 Squad over the past two seasons. The Mount Joy-native, heading into her junior year as a Nittany Lion, most recently served as a co-captain of the U-21 team at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival. An invaluable asset to the Penn State field hockey program, Gebhart was named a NFHCA Second Team All-American for the first time in her collegiate career at the conclusion of the 2012 season. The sophomore was also named to the All-Mideast Region First Team, and previously earned Third Team All-American honors after a stellar rookie season in 2011. The 2011 Big Ten Freshman of the Year earned Big Ten recognition this season, as well, being named All-Big Ten First Team for the second consecutive year and to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team. She ended the year with six goals and 12 assists for 24 points.

"It's just a great achievement for Laura for a number of reasons," said Penn State field hockey head coach Charlene Morett. "She's a player that continues to work hard on her game, to improve her knowledge of the game and her skills of the game. To see how she's come back after having major shin surgery in February, and knowing that she really didn't train much this spring with us because of her limitation with her rehab and healing both shins...This accomplishment for her is such a proud moment for me as a coach, Penn State field hockey and for Penn State University. It's definitely well-deserved and she's earned this honor. We're just so proud of Laura."

Being selected to the 30-player roster was no small feat for Gebhart, competing amongst six regional teams as a member of the Under-21 Squad. U.S. head coach Parnham had a grueling week of evaluating over 100 athletes, assessing and reassessing players to choose his 2013-14 roster, which is the squad that typically boasts the U.S. Olympic Field Hockey Team's top athletes.

"We are pleased to have selected 30 athletes who will make up the Women's National Squad as we move forward," said Parhham. "This is a wonderful opportunity for this group of players to learn, develop, grow - and build on the progress of the team. We are really looking forward to starting this new chapter."

"Talking to Laura throughout the tournament, I could hear the confidence in her voice," said Morett. "And for her to earn a position on the U.S. Team speaks volumes of her play this past weekend when you have the top 100 players in the country competing for 30 spots."

The athletes selected to the U.S. Women's National Squad will report immediately to Rutgers University to begin preparations for the International Hockey Federation's World League Semi-Final in London, June 22-30. Parnham anticipates selecting the 18-player roster for the World Cup qualifying event the week of June 3rd.

"Again, I think it's just a tremendous accomplishment for her knowing where she was in February after surgery," said Morett. "And seeing how hard she's worked to see this dream come true for her, it's outstanding."

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Last Updated May 31, 2013