Lauren Wadas has had more than her share of memorable field hockey moments since she first picked up a stick as a young girl.

As a high school standout and 2020 graduate of Palmyra, Wadas helped the perennial power Cougars to two district titles and three state finals appearances from 2016 to 2019. She then went on to play at Northwestern University, where the versatile midfielder has helped the Wildcats to three straight national championship game appearances.

She led the Wildcats to the top of the mountain in their national championship run in 2022.

That’s not to mention an increasingly extensive resume of representing the U.S. Field Hockey team in various international events in recent years.

There is really only one thing missing from her laundry list of achievements: a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

Currently a member of the U.S. National Team, Wadas is working toward that goal with her Team USA brethren in Charlotte, North Carolina, ahead of this summer’s 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Lauren Wadas currently competes as a member of the U.S. National Team. (Provided photo)

Taking the semester off at Northwestern, where she is pursuing an economics degree, Wadas joined the Olympic preparations in Charlotte on March 17 and will be there until at least June, when the Olympic team is announced.

If picked, Wadas will join Jamie Gray (shooting) and Amy Tran Swenson (field hockey) as Lebanon County residents that have competed in the Olympics.

Read More: Tokyo Games sparks memory of Cedar Crest alumna winning Lebanon County’s only gold medal

“I’m super excited for the opportunity and that they asked me,” Wadas said in a phone interview from Charlotte last week. “The Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was young. In my mind, whatever the percentage is (chance of making the team), it was worth it to me. It’s still early. Honestly just trying to take it day by day.”

Wadas is no stranger to international competition. She captained the U.S. team that won gold at the Junior Pan AM Games last year and has been a member of various Team USA squads since 2019, also captaining the U.S. team at the Junior World Cup in 2023.

She’s not tired of it, either.

“It’s always an honor to play for and represent the United States,” she said. “To have the opportunity to captain a team was just so amazing, and it’s a great group of girls. Although we didn’t get the place we wanted, I think we grew a lot.”

Wadas’ individual growth has been aided by her association with Team USA as well.

In addition to the potential opportunity to play in the Olympics, Lauren Wadas has earned awards for being a skilled field hockey player. (Provided photo)

Among many honors and weekly awards she’s received at Northwestern was the first team All-America recognition she received in the fall.

“Competing against the best players and teams in the world is just an amazing experience,” Wadas said. “The pace is super quick International. It’s just very exciting to play at that level and just grow as a player.”

Wadas said Team USA has recently been developing a higher profile internationally, partially thanks to the U.S. win over Japan in January that earned it a spot in the draw in Paris.

“They’ve definitely made growth since not qualifying in 2020,” Wadas said of Team USA. “I definitely see, being down here in this environment, how great the players are. This has been a wonderful experience for me at the junior level as well. I really enjoy playing with the girls down here, and the coaches have been amazing.”

Wadas is accomplished and confident enough to know that she belongs in such select company.

And yet, she admits that there are occasionally times when she can’t believe everything she is experiencing is really happening.

“Definitely,” she said with a chuckle. “Sometimes I do, sometimes I have to take a step back and say, ‘Wow, I’m really training right now for the possibility of going to the Olympics, something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a young girl.’ It’s crazy to think about.”

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Pat Huggins covered local sports for the Lebanon Daily News for almost 25 years, beginning in January of 1999. Pat was born and raised in Lebanon County and is a 1987 graduate of Lebanon High School and a 1991 alum of Elizabethtown College. A huge Phillies and 76ers fan, Pat spends his spare time on...


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