While Northwestern is currently not in session, a handful of Wildcat student-athletes have been competing for their respective sport — and killing it. There’s always the usual sprinkle of national team action hailing from some of our non-revenue athletes, and this year, new Athletes Unlimited professional leagues snatched some former Wildcats for summer play. Here’s how some NU student-athletes have spent their summers:
Field hockey teammates Maddie Zimmer and Alia Marshall weren’t done after winning the 2021 NCAA championship. They are part of the U21 USA National Team, and competed in the FIH Hockey Pro League across Europe this summer. While they didn’t come out on top like they did against Liberty last fall, they did finish fourth in the FIH Women’s Junior World Cup in the spring, which took place in South Africa.
Additionally, Lauren Wadas and Annabel Skubisz traveled to Ireland this summer, but not to watch Northwestern football. Both rising juniors earned their spots on the USA U21 roster to play in the Uniphar 5-Nations Tournament. Unfortunately, the team did not take home the win, losing to the Netherlands and India for third place. However, the sheer number of Wildcat field hockey players spending their summers abroad to play the sport they love is telling about the quality of the team under Tracey Fuchs.
Huge congrats to rising juniors Lauren Wadas and Annabel Skubisz for being named to the U21 roster headed to Ireland later this month - and special shout to @laurenfh21 for being named team captain— Northwestern Field Hockey (@NUFHCats) June 2, 2022
#B1GCats | #nufh https://t.co/15POeStyJF pic.twitter.com/VpeB0sN7vr
Over on the swimming side, five ‘Cats competed in the World Aquatics Championships. Representing five different nations, Northwestern was represented by Federico Burdisso, Sophie Angus, Tara Vovk, Kenisha Gupta, and Jaye Patrick. Following his Olympic tendencies, Burdisso helped the Italian national team to a gold medal in the 400 medley relay.
Our favorite summer tradition?— Northwestern Athletics (@NU_Sports) June 29, 2022
Federico putting the world on notice.@NUSwimDive's Olympic medalist helped Italy to a world championship in the 400 Medley Relay at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships! pic.twitter.com/ZjF6cRXhZK
For the spring sport ‘Cats, little time was taken off before competing at the professional level for Athletes Unlimited. A trio of Lacrosse graduate students was selected in the college draft, with Lauren Gilbert going ninth, Jill Girardi tenth, and Ally Palermo 14th.
Alumni Lindsey McKone also competed in the World Games, the current highest level of lacrosse on the national level, for Team Israel, and Madison Doucette competed for Team USA in the new sixes format.
Graduate student Rachel Lewis will also begin her professional softball career with AU in its second softball season.
For those who aren’t familiar, Athletes Unlimited is a new professional sports league that is athlete-centered with team drafts taking place each week of the season. Players also select a cause that they play for, in which their points make up a leaderboard based on performance and team dynamic.
Gilbert currently sits in the top five of the lacrosse leaderboard after she put up four goals in her AU debut, including the first goal of the season overall, earning game MVP.
After Lauren Gilbert headlined Game 1 with the first goal and a No.1 MVP performance, @officiallaxgirl caught up with the rookie to hear her postgame thoughts #AULax | #BeUnlimited pic.twitter.com/BogbtdCgbK— Athletes Unlimited (@AUProSports) July 22, 2022
Girardi also notched a draw control and goal in her first game, and Palermo added a ground ball.
After seeing Northwestern’s female athletes shine in their respective sports for their school, it is rewarding to see them on the biggest stage now with AU on ESPN — before AU, most female professional sports leagues took place primarily overseas, and with the ESPN deal, AU will be in front of more eyeballs than ever. Now, the best female athletes have the growing opportunity to play professionally right here at home.
Fans can watch the dynamic style of play that AU offers for both softball and lacrosse this season on ESPN. Softball kicks off on July 29, and lacrosse is already underway.