Sunday, December 2, 2012

Area athletes on national TV always exciting

Sunday afternoon was spent flipping between the Browns game in Oakland on WOIO and the NCAA women's soccer Division I national championship match on ESPNU.

That may seem a little random, except for the fact that the soccer involved Penn State, and that meant a chance to see West Geauga graduate Kori Chapic play on national TV.

Things did not go very well for the Nittany Lions in a 4-1 loss to North Carolina, certainly one of the signature programs in all of collegiate sports under Coach Anson Dorrance. Penn State had a tough time in the second half with its zonal marking on set pieces, allowing two goals on corners as the Tar Heels pulled away, including a strike right after halftime. Chapic started at left back and played hard, but North Carolina wasn't going to be denied this time.

Even though the ending of Chapic's sophomore campaign in State College was not ideal, it elicits so much pride to see a local product competing on a national stage.

It doesn't seem like that long ago covering her brilliant career at West G, in which she led the Wolverines to a D-I regional final and a school record for wins in 2010 and was named News-Herald player of the year three times. After watching her play a lot of soccer through the years, it is absolutely no surprise to see Chapic become a dependable and key cog on a national finalist side at the collegiate level. She may be the most technically gifted female soccer player in N-H area history and is a class act on top of it.

Regardless of who or in what sport it may be, if you have the chance to see a former local standout compete on a national-caliber stage, don't let it go by without enjoying it. As is always the case when it does happen, it shows another generation of young local athletes that it's possible to aspire for the same thing.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH


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