Three Lions Compete in USA Field Hockey Women's National Championship
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Dennis Mullins

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A trio of rising sophomores recently competed at the 2010 USA Field Hockey Women's National ChampionshipBridget DeSandis, Katie DeSandis and Paige Simmons traveled to Virginia Beach to take part in a week long tournament, competing amongst some of the best field hockey players in the country.

USA Field Hockey Women's National Championship is a round-robin tournament featuring the top athletes from USA Field Hockey's six regional High Performance Centers.  In the spring, the three Lions were selected to participate at one of the High Performance Centers across the country. Once selected to a High Performance Center, athletes receive elite-level training from some of the nation's top coaches over the course of the spring.

At the conclusion of the program, each High Performance Center selects a team to represent its region at the National Championships. Athletes competing in the tournament have the opportunity for selection to the U.S. National Squad.

Here is what the Lions had to say about their experiences:

"I am so greatful to be playing with and against such incredible players in this tournament. This has been such an amazing opportunity to learn from the talented people around me and as a team we are exited to come out strong in our last game tomorrow."  
--Paige Simmons, California Team

"Playing in the high performance tournament has been such an amazing opportunity.  I have gotten to experience hockey at one of the most elite levels and play against some of the nation's top players.  I've learned so much from the coaches and players while also having an amazing time. I'll be competing with the New England team for third place tomorrow and have loved every minute of it." 
--Katie DeSandis, New England Team

"I've learned and grown so much as a player from training with my HPC team this summer and at the tournament. It's not everyday you get to be a part of such a high level of hockey and here you're playing with and against the best players in the country. It's an incredibly invaluable experience that I'm so glad I was able to be a part of and look forward to compete in again in the future."
--Bridget DeSandis, North Team