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Blades of Glory

Growing up in Wisconsin, Sheila Zingler '07 had no choice but to play hockey with the boys. Coming to Yale almost four years ago meant Zingler finally got to play with the girls. She did so well that last April 6 in St. Louis, Zingler, along with 15 other women, took the ice at the Frozen Four Skills Challenge. The event is held during the NCAA men’s ice hockey championship weekend to showcase the best players in all of college hockey.

But Zingler was “raw” when she arrived in New Haven, says associate head coach Harry Rosenholtz. Although she had picked up hockey at an early age—at seven she convinced her parents to let her trade in her figure skates for hockey skates—Zingler played basketball in high school until her senior year. In her final season, she switched to men’s ice hockey. She held her own and got noticed by recruiters.


Zingler admits she didn’t always listen to her coaches.

Zingler was and is, says Rosenholtz, “the best pure athlete that we’ve ever recruited.” She’s a 5' 9” forward with speed, strength, a long and powerful stride, and what Rosenholtz calls a “wicked and deadly accurate” wrist shot. But she didn’t score as much as she or her coaches expected. Her freshman-year production was solid—6 goals and 11 assists. But those numbers barely changed in her next two seasons.

Part of the problem, admits Zingler, a psychology major, was that she didn’t always listen to her coaches. “I was always sensitive to criticism,” she says. Rosenholtz and head coach Hilary Witt were telling her, among other things, to take passes on her forehand so that she could fire her wrist shot more quickly. Rosenholtz says he and Zingler “got into it a few times because she tended to catch the puck on her backhand.”

This year, she was more receptive. “I didn’t get faster or stronger—I just finally used what I had,” Zingler says. She got huge results. She had 18 assists and scored 17 goals, more than twice her previous career high.

Last December, Witt nominated Zingler for the second annual Skills Challenge. She was one of 16 competitors selected out of a total of 181 nominees by an NCAA committee, on the basis of single-season and career stats and an online poll. At the end of February, she had a ticket to St. Louis—following in the footsteps of goalie Sarah Love '06, who competed last year.

On the first Friday night of April, Zingler's teammates gathered in the Ray Tompkins House to watch the Skills Challenge on a wall-sized screen. Rosenholtz sat in the back, hands clasped behind his head. The challenge is held in an East versus West format, with the eight best men and eight best women in each region competing in events like fastest skater, hardest shot, and accuracy shooting.


Skills Challenge events include fastest skater, hardest shot, and accuracy shooting.

Zingler competed in several events, but her best performance was rapid-fire shooting. Poised ten feet in front of the goal, with Ohio State’s Erika Vanderveer defending, Zingler took eight passes to her forehand, each from alternate sides of the net, all within 20 seconds. She made four out of eight shots—winning the women’s rapid-fire event for the East. While Zingler’s teammates in New Haven cheered, Rosenholtz smiled. “She couldn’t have caught any on the forehand before,” he joked.  the end




Sports Shorts

Christina Harding '98 fought snow, 20-degree temperatures, and a numbing wind for 26 miles to win the women’s division in the eighth Antarctica Marathon on February 26. Harding completed the race in 4 hours, 54 minutes, and 50 seconds. Spectators during Harding’s run included a handful of chinstrap penguins and an occasional fur seal.

Olympic bronze hockey medalist Helen Resor '09 added a silver medal to her collection on April 10 in Winnepeg, Manitoba, at the International Ice Hockey Federation’s world championships. Resor plays for Team USA when she’s not with the Bulldogs ; her Yale coach Hilary Witt served as an assistant coach for the national team. Resor’s squad lost to Canada, 5-1, in the final round. Denise Soesilo, a freshman who played for the German Olympic team in February 2006, skated for the German squad again in Winnipeg; her team did not earn a medal.

Sailing head coach Zachary Leonard '89, who was an All-American and national champion sailor as an undergraduate, was named the 2006 National Coach of the Year in March by U.S. Sailing’s Olympic Sailing Committee. Leonard’s team this year is on track to ensure that the McNay Family Director of Sailing has a chance to repeat the honor; the Bulldogs are currently ranked number one in collegiate sailing.

The biggest story this spring has been the women's lacrosse team. The Bulldogs finished the regular season (13-3, 6-1 Ivy) with a nine-game winning streak that included a thrilling 6-5 come-from-behind victory over Princeton. The team was in second place in the Ivies and ranked ninth nationally.


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