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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Five current members of the Virginia field hockey team are set to compete at the USA Field Hockey High Performance National Championships beginning Sunday in Virginia Beach.

Senior Kim Kastuk, juniors Rachel Jennings, Paige Selenksi and Michelle Vittese, and sophomore Tara Puffenberger will all compete as members of the Mid-Atlantic team. Former Cavalier Mia Link (2003-06) will also play on the Mid-Atlantic squad, while current UVa volunteer assistant coach Keli Smith will compete as a member of the Pennsylvania team.

“US hockey has implemented a program to identify and develop the country’s best of the best,” Virginia mentor Michele Madison said. “Athletes tryout for their respective region to compete in the women’s national championships and 2010 will include for the first time the Junior High Performance National Championships, featuring the country’s top U-21 players.

“UVa past, present and future will be represented in Virginia Beach. The most dedicated players continue to improve their games at the next level. Virginia will be well represented.”

Held in conjunction with the National Futures Championship, the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Championship is a round-robin tournament featuring the top athletes from USA Field Hockey’s eight regional High Performance Centers.

Beginning in the early spring, High Performance Centers serving the Boston, California, Mid-Atlantic, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North, Midwest, South and regions conduct open trials for college-age and older athletes. Once selected to a High Performance Center, athletes receive elite-level training from some of the nation’s top coaches over the course of the spring.

At the conclusion of the program, each High Performance Center selects a team to represent its region at the National Championships. Athletes competing in the tournament have the opportunity for selection to the U.S. National Squad.

Rosters at the championship include current U.S. National Team stars as well as recent college All-America selections.

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