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Umstead's Olympic Bid Falls Short
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2019-11-13

            Casey Umstead's dream of competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics ended two

Casey Umstead

weeks ago on the other side of the world. Umstead, a defender on the U.S. Women's National Field Hockey Team, fell one goal short of qualifying for the event in a two-game series against India.

            Despite losing the first game 5-1 on Nov. 1 in Bhubaneswar, the visiting Americans rallied for a 4-1 victory the following day. However, they scored one less goal during the series and failed to advance.

            "To train for something as hard as we did, and get so close and not make it is heartbreaking," Umstead said.

            Thanks to a 10-hour layover in New Dehli, and a 15-hour flight home, Umstead had almost two full days to think about the setback. She described it as "super upsetting, super disappointing and super frustrating." The Marlborough native also said she was super proud of her team's performance.

            "We played really well," said Umstead, a 2014 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School. "In the second game, we came out how we wanted. We played some of our best hockey in that game. If we would have made one less mistake or eliminated one bad pass, we might have qualified."

            A two-time NCAA champion with at the University of Connecticut, Umstead said the skill and intensity of international competition does not compare to the top levels of Division I field hockey.

            "It's an insane leap," she said. "I really can't describe it. It's completely different.  The intensity of training and conditioning is at least 10 times greater than college hockey."

            According to Umstead, the India team utilized a significant experience advantage. She said their players averaged 135 international games, and that a few players had more than 200. Meanwhile, the Americans averaged 48 international contests.

            "We're so young," said Umstead, who has competed in approximately 25 international contests. "If we stay together for four years, we might have another chance."

            However, Umstead declined to offer that inexperience as an excuse. She said the team returned to its home base in Lancaster determined to improve. She said its next big goal is qualifying for the 2022 FIH Hockey Women's World Cup, which will be hosted by Spain and the Netherlands.

            Meanwhile, the U.S. has already begun preparing for professional league which includes the top national teams across the world and begins in January. Umstead said she remains motivated to continue improving.

            Think I still have a lot of potential to unlock," she said. "There's plenty of room for growth. I only think about getting better on the field."

 


 

 

 

 

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