As has become a regular occurrence, the United States national field hockey team has made splash on the international stage. As has also become familiar, Princeton University was well-represented as it did.
The U.S. defeated Ireland 3-1 Sunday in Glascow, Scotland, to win the Champions Challenge. It was the first time the U.S. has won in the eight times the event has been contested; the U.S. finished second each in each of the last two Champions Challenges.
Princeton's Kathleen Sharkey scored a goal as the U.S. defeated Spain 3-0 in the semifinal. The U.S. went 2-1 in pool play and then defeated India 1-0 in the quarterfinals before the win over Spain and then the championship game victory over Ireland, in which the U.S. trailed 1-0 before scoring the final three goals.
In addition to Sharkey, Princeton's Julia Reinprecht and Katie Reinprecht were also players on the team. Nathaniel Franks was with the team as well as a performance analyst.
All four have become regulars with the national team program and have competed all over the world together, including in the 2012 London Olympic Games and at the Pan Am Games.
With the win, the U.S. qualified for th 2016 Champions Trophy, which will be held in England will feature eight teams, including the host nation, the top five finishes from the previous Champions Trophy and one at-large team selected by the international governing board. The U.S. could get into the 2014 Champions Trophy it it earns the at-large bid, which has not yet been announced.
"Winning the Champion's Challenge is a big accomplishment for our team," Franks said. "It gives us some momentum going into the World Cup next month in The Hague but it also gives us momentum moving towards Rio 2016. Winning the Challenge qualifies us automatically for the 2016 Champion's Trophy, which will be a major warm-up tournament before the Rio Olympic Games. We've earned valuable rankings points here in Scotland and we'll earn more just by playing in the 2016 Trophy."