Swimmers Jessica Hardy and Ryan Lochte and the U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey Team honored with April Athlete and Team of the Month Awards

May 09, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
For Immediate Release May 9, 2008 Swimmers Jessica Hardy and Ryan Lochte and the U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey Team honored with April Athlete and Team of the Month Awards COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The United States Olympic Committee announced today that the honors for Athlete and Team of the Month for March were awarded to swimmer's Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.) and Ryan Lochte (Gainesville, Fla.) as well as the U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey Team. Hardy took three gold medals, set two world records and one American record while at the 2008 Short Course World Championships in Manchester, England, April 9-13. She struck gold in the 50m and 100m breaststrokes and broke the world record in the 50m event. She was also a member of the winning and world-record breaking 400m medley relay team. Lochte took home male swimmer of the meet honors for his overall performance at the 2008 FINA Short Course World Championships, April 9-13. In Manchester, he earned four gold medals, set three world records, won two silver medals, and set two American records. The U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey Team captured its second-ever World Championship with a 4-3 win over archrival Canada in the gold-medal game. The Americans beat Canada, the reigning World and Olympic champion, an unprecedented two times during the 2008 World Women's Hockey Championship, held in Harbin, China, April 4-12. The Canadians had not lost in 29-straight games. In addition to the two wins over Canada, Team USA earned victories over Switzerland and Germany and outscored opponents by a 23-8 margin. Awarded second in the Athlete of the Month voting was Natalie Darwitz (Egan, Minn.), who captained the U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey Team to its second-ever World Championship in Harbin, China, April 4-12. Team USA had never beaten reigning World and Olympic champion Canada twice in one tournament, and the Canadians were on a 29-game win streak. Darwitz led the tournament with 10 points (six goals, four assists) and was named the top forward in the world by the tournament directorate. She had two goals in each of the United States' two victories over Canada, including the gold-medal game. Darwitz also finished the tournament with a +7 rating, good for second-best overall among the nine participating teams. The American record-holder in the women's marathon, Deena Kastor (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) won the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Women's Marathon on Sunday, April 20 in two hours 29 minutes 35 seconds. After trailing eventual runner-up Magdalena Lewy Boulet by nearly two minutes at the half-way point, Kastor's strong surge over the second half of the race propelled her to the win. A demonstration of strength and patience in the second half is what gave Kastor, the American record holder at 10,000m and a two-time World Cross Country silver medalist, the win in Boston. The 35-year-old Kastor began running mile splits of 5:30 to 5:34, quickly eating up Lewy Boulet's lead. When the Olympic bronze medalist strode past Lewy Boulet 2:14:50 into the race, she increased her pace even further, to 5:29 per mile, as she added an Olympic Trials marathon title to her storied resume by crossing the finish line in 2:29:35. Her performances in April earned her enough votes for third place. Second place in the men's voting went to Spenser Mango (St. Louis, Mo.) who won a gold medal at 55 kg/121 lbs. and was named Outstanding Wrestler at the U.S. National Greco-Roman Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., April 25. He defeated 2006 World bronze medalist Lindsey Durlacher, the top seed, in the championship finals, 1-3, 3-0, 7-0. It was his first career U.S. Senior Nationals title, and gives him the top seed at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling in June. Mango also won a gold medal at 60 kg/132 lbs. and was named Outstanding Wrestler at the University National Greco-Roman Championships in Akron, Ohio, April 12. He defeated Donovan DePatto of the U.S. Marines in the finals, 5-1, 4-0. Of his four wins in the tournament, two were by fall and another by technical fall. For a successful April, Matt Reed (Boulder, Colo.) was awarded third-place in the voting. Reed won the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Triathlon in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on April 19. Reed used a strong run to outpace 2004 Olympians Hunter Kemper and Andy Potts at the Olympic Trials to earn the second spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for triathlon. He then followed his Olympic Trials performance with a victory at the prestigious St. Anthony's Triathlon in St. Petersburg, Fla., on April 27. The USA Field Hockey Women's National Team secured a spot in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing by winning the World Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Tournament in Kazan, Russia, April 19-28. For their accomplishment, the team was awarded second in the team voting. It will be the first appearance by the USA Women's Field Hockey Team in the Olympic Games since 1996. The Women's National Team went undefeated through the six-game tournament, which also featured Belgium, India, Russia, France and the Netherlands. They outscored the competition 27-4 and never trailed in any contest. Goalkeeper Amy Tran (Granville, Pa.) shut out three opponents. Four American players ranked in the top-five in tournament scoring. Defender Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.) was named player of the tournament, while forward Tiffany Snow (Escondido, Calif.) was the tournament's top scorer with six goals. Third place in the team voting went to the U.S. Davis Cup team, who defeated France 4-1 in Winston-Salem, N.C., April 11-13 to advance to the World Group Semifinal. Eleven of the 14 times the two teams have met in their more than 100 year history, the winner has gone on to capture the Davis Cup title. Andy Roddick (Austin, Texas) and James Blake (Tampa, Fla.) both posted two singles wins, including a win by Roddick on the third and final day of the competition to seal the U.S. victory. Bob and Mike Bryan (Camarillo, Calif.) lost the doubles match on the second day of the competition. Patrick McEnroe (New York, N.Y.) captained the team to their sixth straight victory, a streak that includes a 4-0 record in 2007 when the American team won the Davis Cup title. Results: Men 1. Ryan Lochte, Swimming 2. Spenser Mango, Wrestling 3. Matt Reed, Triathlon Women 1. Jessica Hardy, Swimming 2. Natalie, Darwitz, Ice Hockey 3. Deena Kastor, Track and Field Team 1. U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey Team 2. U.S. Women's National Field Hockey Team 3. U.S. Davis Cup Team For more information, please contact the USOC Communications Division at (719) 866-4529.
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