Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 14
 
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
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LOOKING FOR AN EDGE: Princeton University field hockey head coach Kristen Holmes-Winn, right, frowns during a game in her successful tenure. Holmes-Winn will have a more pleasant task this August when her company, Champion's Edge, holds a three-day clinic at Stuart Country Day School. Holmes-Winn founded Champion's Edge, a company that provides field hockey camps and clinics, after the U.S. national team she was on failed to qualify for the 2000 Summer Olympics.

PU Field Hockey Coach Holmes-Winn Bringing Champion's Edge to Stuart

Bill Alden

Kristen Holmes-Winn was upset when the U.S. national field hockey failed to qualify for the 2000 Summer Olympics and she decided to do something to prevent future disappointment.

"I looked at my teammates and I thought these girls are so talented," recalled Holmes-Winn, a field hockey star at the University of Iowa who has been the head coach of the Princeton University program since 2003.

"I wondered what if they had been exposed to international players and college coaches starting when they were in middle school." Acting on her thought, Holmes-Winn founded an enterprise named Champions' Edge, Inc. to provide field hockey camps and clinics throughout the country.

Featuring a stable of top college coaches, Champion's Edge has grown from giving 18 two-day clinics that first year to an organization that is reaching 1,500 players a year.

This August, Champion's Edge comes to Princeton as the Stuart Country Day school will host a three-day camp from August 15-17 to be led by USA field hockey coach Nick Conway.

Holmes-Winn believes the timing of the camp is ideal. "With the proximity to the season it is a great opportunity for players to go as a team right before the season," said Holmes-Winn, noting that information on the Stuart camp is available on the Champion's Edge website at www.ce-fieldhockey.com

"In the morning we work on technical and individual skills and in the afternoon we have games and work on team tactics. We have a sense of what high school players need to improve on and we focus on those aspects of the game."

The Stuart camp is a natural outgrowth of a local club program sponsored by Holmes- Winn's organization. "We have a winter and spring club called Princeton Champion's Edge with Under-14, U-16, and U-19 teams," said Holmes-Winn, who has guided Princeton to the Ivy League title in three of her four seasons at the helm.

"A lot of kids just play field hockey for a few months during the season; it's fun to get a hold of them and work on their skills. I'm impressed by how much they have improved; it's a lot of fun for me to see that."

It has been fun for Holmes-Winn to see how Champion's Edge has fulfilled that vision she had some seven years ago. "It has caught on, the kids trust our name and product," said Holmes-Winn. "They know we have delivered on our promises. We have an inspiring line-up of coaches who see the players' potential and their potential in the game."

And the program is helping young players make an impact on the national stage. "We've helped so many," added Holmes, noting that she first worked with future Princeton players Kate Kinzer and Kristin Schwab through the program.

"Rachel Dawson is a New Jersey kid who went to North Carolina and was recently selected as one of six nominees for the International Hockey Federation's Young Player of the Year. We have been able to develop talent and see players thrive at the college and national level."

And with Champion's Edge coming to Stuart, a Princeton-area player might get the inspiration to take the path to national stardom.

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