Area athletes bring home Olympic gold - Catholic Courier

Area athletes bring home Olympic gold

The 2012 Summer Olympics will provide golden memories for two women with ties to the Diocese of Rochester.

Abby Wambach, a 1998 graduate of Our Lady of Mercy High School, starred for the gold medal-winning United States women’s soccer team. She was the squad’s leading scorer with five goals in six games, scoring once in each of its first five wins: 4-2 over France, 3-0 over Colombia, 1-0 over North Korea, 2-0 over New Zealand and 4-3 over Canada. The U.S. captured the gold with a 2-1 victory over Japan on Aug. 9 in London, England.

This marks the second Olympic gold medal for Wambach. She also scored the winning goal in a 2-1 overtime victory over Brazil in the 2004 championship game, finishing with four goals in six Olympic contests that year. She missed the 2008 Olympics — when the U.S. team settled for a silver medal — due to a broken leg.

Wambach scored 142 goals in a five-year varsity career at Our Lady of Mercy and went on to score 96 goals in four years at Division I University of Florida, earning an NCAA national championship with the Gators in 2008. Now a resident of Hermosa Beach, Calif., the 32-year-old Wambach debuted with the U.S. national team in 2001 and is the second all-time leading U.S. scorer in international history. With 143 career goals in 188 international games, she is well within reach of Mia Hamm’s 158 total.

Meghan Musnicki, formerly of St. Januarius Church in Naples, won gold in her debut with the United States women’s eight rowing team. In the championship race on Aug. 2, Musnicki and her seven U.S. teammates posted a time of 6 minutes, 10.59 seconds over a 2,000-meter course to narrowly eclipse Canada’s silver-medal time of 6:12.06.

Musnicki, 29, is a 2001 graduate of Canandaigua Academy. She didn’t take up rowing until her freshman year at Saint Lawrence University, but became an All-American after transferring to Ithaca College where she was part of the school’s NCAA national-championship teams in both her junior and senior years. She graduated from Ithaca in 2005 and has gone on to win several national and international titles as a member of the U.S. women’s rowing team beginning in 2010. She now resides in Princeton, N.J., site of the team’s training center.

Molly Huddle, a 2002 graduate of Elmira Notre Dame High School and one of the nation’s elite women’s distance runners, reached the final of the women’s 5,000-meter run in her first Olympic appearance.

She placed fifth in the preliminary heat on Aug. 7 with a time of 15 minutes, 2.26 seconds. That advanced her to the final race on Aug. 10, where she placed 11th in 15:20.29.

Huddle, 27, a native of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, earned several sectional and state championships while attending Elmira Notre Dame and went on to become a 10-time All-American with the University of Notre Dame, where she also starred in cross-country and indoor track before graduating in 2007. She had qualified for the London Olympics by placing second in the 5,000 meters in 15:14.40 at the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 28. She is the U.S. record-holder in that event at 14:44.76.

Jason Turner, a 1993 graduate of McQuaid Jesuit High School, represented the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics in the men’s 10-meter air pistol competition. He finished 34th with a score of 569 in the qualifying round on July 28.

Turner, 37, now resides in Colorado Springs, Colo. He is a three-time Olympian and was a bronze medalist in the 10-meter air pistol event at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, China.

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