Parsons '09 stands out as youngest player on U.S. hockey team

by Lindsay Barnes | 9/22/05 5:00am

Though she has yet to play one minute of college hockey, Sarah Parsons '09 has already made it into one of women's hockey's most elite clubs.

Before she takes the ice for the Big Green, Parsons will skate onto the world's stage as she picks up her stick and plays for the red, white and blue as a member of the 2005-06 U.S. Women's National Team.

As if making it onto the U.S. team wasn't enough of a distinction, Parsons immediately finds herself in a category all by herself -- at 18, she is the youngest player on the team and the only one who has yet to play in a college game.

"Being the youngest player trying out was definitely intimidating at first, but to be honest, it's not really a factor anymore," said Parsons. "At times, being young actually makes it easier because there are fewer expectations. Once you've played with the same girls for a while, like I have been, you definitely get used to it."

But if ever the pressure of playing before an international crowd should get to Parsons, she has a fellow daughter of Dartmouth to turn to in Kristin King '02.

"Kristen was my roommate for some of our trips and has definitely helped me out," said Parsons. "She's been so nice to me and is just a great girl."

When the two took the ice earlier this month in the championship game of the annual Four Nations Cup, they found themselves looking at some familiar faces playing for the opposition as Gillian Apps '06, Cherie Piper '06 and Katie Weatherston '06 all wore the maple leaf for team Canada.

"I haven't really had an opportunity to meet those girls at length yet. When I came up for recruiting visits, they were already playing for Canada. But it was nice seeing some other girls from Dartmouth," said Parsons, who faced off against the Big Green alumni twice during the course of the tournament.

Though there's always national pride and bragging rights on the line when these teams match up, the games take on an added significance this year with the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, just around the corner.

Neither Canada nor the U.S. has yet finalized its roster for the Olympiad, and so with only 20 spots available on the American team for the games, two of the 22 players currently playing for the Stars and Stripes will be left on the outside looking into the rink.

"Just think of the movie 'Miracle,'" said Parsons, comparing her final push toward solidifying her position on the team to the hit movie about the 1980 men's Olympic hockey team.

As the American team's junior member, Parsons will have to wait until mid January to learn of her ultimate fate. In the meantime, the teenager has no complaints as she continues to live out a dream.

Staff writer Evan Meyerson contributed to this report.