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Local Athlete Goes for the Gold in London

Posted on: 4:06 pm, August 1, 2012, by , updated on: 05:27pm, August 1, 2012

SELINSGROVE — When the United States Olympic Field Hockey Team takes on Australia Thursday morning, there will be two athletes from our area on the roster.

They are Paige Selinski of Dallas and Keli Smith Puzo, who was born and raised in Selinsgrove.

A lot of athletes dream of going to the Olympics. For Keli Smith Puzo of Selinsgrove, that dream has become a reality, twice! For the second straight Olympics, Keli wears the number 13 jersey for the United States Field Hockey Team. These pictures were taken by Keli’s husband in London. Her sister back home could not be more proud.

“She’s always had a gift for hard work, perseverance, dedication,” said Kara Rothermel.

Rothermel said she never misses one of her sister’s games on TV.

“The thing that hit me the hardest was when I saw her on TV during the opening ceremonies. It kind of became more real to me,” said Rothermel.

Keli’s high school field hockey coach, Cathy Keiser, agrees. She remembers Keli as one of her star players on and off the field.

“She was one of those athletes that is focused, has hard work ethics and is a team player,” said Keiser.

Keli got her start on the field at Selinsgrove Area High School. She played field hockey there for six years. Keli’s coach said she was already showing signs of greatness back then.

“I saw her ability to take the ball down and score whenever, and her competitive spirit and love for the game,” said Keiser.

Keiser said Keli is a role model to the field hockey players at Selinsgrove Area High School, especially Keli’s niece Kalee Rothermel.

“She’s just my aunt and more than a superstar to me,” said Rothermel.

Rothermel said this will be Keli’s last Olympics, because she wants to spend more time with her two kids.

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