McGraw's Rise Continues

Feb. 29, 2012

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Kathleen McGraw keeps building her resume.

After earning second-team All-Big Ten and all-region honors as a junior, and leading the University of Iowa field hockey team to its 21st NCAA Tournament, McGraw is making a case to be listed among the UI goalkeeping standouts.

The recognition has continued to come in during the offseason, as McGraw has been selected to the U21 U.S. National Team that will travel to England in April.

“Historically, in our program we have had pretty consistent representation in our national team system,” said UI head coach Tracey Griesbaum. “With the goalkeeping position, we have had a phenomenal history. We have had All-Americans, Hall of Fame inductees and Olympians.

“It means the world to our program. She is keeping that lineage really strong within the goalkeeping position.”

As a goalkeeper, the selection process is extremely selective, making it that much more difficult to be chosen.

“When you take that opportunity to try out for a team, you are vying for two spots on a squad,” said Griesbaum. “You are not one of 16, 18, or 24. It is really impressive. It says a lot about what she does and how she has handled her role as an elite athlete.”

McGraw has worked and improved since she arrived in Iowa City, displaying a perfect combination of humbleness and confidence.

“We saw it in the recruiting process because she put herself out there,” said Griesbaum. “To me, that displayed confidence. For a young person to display that confidence; they have skill and determination and a great work ethic and set of values. That combination is pretty rare.

Those are the kind of things that have carried her forward. She is not the kind of player that draws attention to herself. She is a consistent, steady worker.”

The Atherton, Calif., native was not necessarily considered a ‘blue chip’ recruit.

“She is what our program stands for,” said Griesbaum. “We have had a lot of athletes that were highly-touted high school All-Americans, but we have had more that have been like Merty. Now you take her recent accomplishments, and it is extra special. We pride ourselves on bringing athletes in that have a big heart and that have the will and desire and we mold them and have them accomplish all these great things. Merty is right in light for what Iowa is known for nationally.”

For McGraw, the opportunity provides another chance to improve with her ‘blue collar’ work ethic.

“I am honored and excited to represent the Big Ten and Iowa field hockey on a team that is heavily comprised of East Coast players,” said McGraw. “Midwest hockey has a “blue collar, work hard” reputation, and I hope to uphold this idea while training with the U21 team.”

The two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and team captain gives credit to her Iowa teammates.

“The recognition is merely the icing on the cake,” said McGraw. “Over the last year, everyone on the team has been working hard to set the entire team up for success. Iowa field hockey has turned out dozens of standout individual players, but this program is rooted in the idea that team success is far more important than any individual title or award. Over the past year, I was able to hone some of my individual skills, but ultimately, my teammates were able to put me in position to be successful this season.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to compete at a high level and test my skills in a new arena.”