It’s been a banner week for the youth movement on U.S. national teams. Just days after New York distance running phenom Mary Cain became the youngest runner to earn a spot on the full U.S. national track and field squad, 16-year-old Jincy Dunne was named to the initial U.S. women’s ice hockey squad, paving the way for the teenager to potentially compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dunne was told of her berth with the initial national team squad on Monday, an honor she earned by shining as part of a 41-woman selection camp that was held earlier in June in Lake Placid, N.Y. Dunne’s selection puts her alongside some teammates who are more than 10 years her senior, many of whom have already won NCAA titles.
Dunne has hardly thought about college yet. The sophomore has been plenty busy starring in all the hockey she can get her hands on in Missouri -- she plays for the Westminster (Mo.) High boys hockey team and the St. Louis Lady Blues, in addition to the U.S. U-18 women’s national team -- and will be only the second 16-year-old to ever compete for the senior women’s national team.
Dunne isn't the first teen to earn a spot on the national team. In fact, she isn't even the first 16-year-old. At Sochi, she'll be following in the footsteps of Lyndsay Wall, who won a silver medal at age 16 as part of the U.S. hockey squad at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.
As one might expect, the teenager was plenty excited to be included in the forthcoming Olympics, even though her selection will require extended training stints away from home in Boston (first up, in August) and Lake Placid before the Winter Games in February.
“I’m really excited,” Dunne told the Post-Dispatch. “I know it’s a long road ahead, but I’m super excited.”
And if there are any concerns about whether or not Dunne has the talent to compete at that level, her high school boys coach insisted that she would be more than up to the task.
“She’s an amazing young lady,” Westminster coach Tom Canfield said. “Her hockey speaks for itself. She’s freakishly talented. The thing that amazes me is how she handles herself. She’s so down to earth and so easygoing and humble
“It was an unbelievable experience for us to get to play with her this year,” he said.
A boys hockey coach talking about the privilege of his team playing with a sophomore of the other sex because of her skill? Now that is one girl you want skating out there for your country, regardless of age.