Lock Haven Alumnae Shine in World Masters Hockey Pan American Continental Cup
Four Lock Haven alumnae - Pat Rudy '77, Pam (Whittaker) Sherry '78, Jane (Shaw) Cygan '81, and team manager Denise Gobrecht '79 - showcased their talent for Team USA at the Inaugural 2023 World Masters Hockey Pan American Continental Cup in Buenos Aires, claiming a bronze medal in the O-55/O-60/O-65 division of the tournament held Dec. 6-14, 2023.
Rudy, the renowned former head coach of Lock Haven's Division I field hockey program and a three-time National Coach of the Year, expressed pride and excitement for the opportunity to compete internationally with her alumnae sisters. Rudy's impressive coaching career spans 45 years and a remarkable 634 wins, making her the fifth-winningest coach in NCAA field hockey history.
Since 2019, Rudy and her alumnae sisters have competed in Belgium, powering the U.S. Women's 0-60 Masters Team to the gold medal at the Grand Masters Hockey European Trophy Tournament and claiming bronze for Team USA in South Africa at the 2022 Field Hockey World Cup. The quartet also won a club-team tournament in Italy in August 2023 and have competed domestically.
In Buenos Aires, the Team USA O-60 squad faced tough competition from international club teams and national teams from Argentina, Canada, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Despite navigating multiple injuries, Team USA finished with a record of 3-3, defeating the club team, Alliance, 4-3 to secure the bronze. Argentina claimed gold; Canada, who defeated Team USA in the semifinals, earned silver. For Rudy, the bronze medal is another remarkable achievement in a career that led to her induction into the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2018.
Time commitments throughout her career made it difficult to compete while coaching but now, in retirement, Rudy is energized to build upon her decades-long camaraderie with her fellow alumnae. She hopes the international success experienced by Sherry, Cygan, Gobrecht and herself will inspire current Bald Eagle field hockey players to continue playing the sport following college.
"Usually, a field hockey player doesn't hit their peak until their 30s. I hope the girls at Lock Haven will see that field hockey doesn't have to end with college, and it can be a sport for life," Rudy said. "Hopefully, we're paving the way for some of them to continue playing abroad after they graduate."
Argentina is a field hockey hotspot in the world, with numerous student-athletes coming to America to play for Rudy throughout her 45-year coaching career, including at Lock Haven, where she accumulated 388 wins from 1996-2023. The tournament was Rudy's first trip to the Argentina and she lauded Buenos Aires for its culture, beautiful scenery and stellar field hockey.
"Traveling the world and spending time with some of my very close friends who I've been playing with since the 70s is priceless," Rudy said. "I'm so happy I got involved in it. It's great to travel, but it's the camaraderie that adds to the experience and truly makes it all so special."
As Rudy, Cygan, Shaw and Gobrecht intend to continue competing in 2024, with sights set on the Masters Tournament in Amsterdam in June and the World Cup in New Zealand slated for November.