USA Field Hockey NEWS Two-Time Olympian & ...

Two-Time Olympian & Former USWNT Athlete Michelle Kasold Inducted into Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame

Feb. 03, 2020, 1:26 p.m. (ET)

Content Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics Communication

Michelle Kasold missed the call, but listened to the voicemail from Wake Forest field hockey coach Jennifer Averill

Averill didn't sound upbeat in the message, and given the tone, Kasold wasn't expecting good tidings when she returned the call. 

Instead, Kasold found out that she'd been selected as a member of the 2020 induction class into the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame.

"Jen completely tricked me," Kasold said. "I was surprised and excited. It's just an incredible honor. I'm flattered to be picked with other amazing athletes who have been at Wake who have done great things there and then after."

Kasold grew up in Chapel Hill, close enough to campus that the cheers from Kenan Memorial Stadium could occasionally be heard right outside her door. She frequently attended UNC soccer games, and her parents worked as ushers for Tar Heel basketball. 

But she was lured by Averill to play field hockey for the Deacs from 2005-08. 

"I love the coach, I love the team and I love the school," Kasold said. "Wake was just better for me. The hockey team was amazing. I love everything that Jen stands for."
Wake Forest field hockey made the ACC Championship match and advanced to the NCAA Final Four every year Kasold was on the roster. 

"I only came out with one ACC Championship and no national championships, so that was a little disappointing," she said. "Coming in as a freshman, the program had just won three-straight national titles, so they had set a standard."

After losing National Player of the Year Kelly Dostal, who was a 2016 inductee into the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame, off the 2004 national title team, the Deacs entered Kasold's first season ranked No. 2 in the preseason.  

"We felt like we had a chip on our shoulder," Kasold said. "We always had a team-first mentality. We played as a team. It didn't matter if we had as much individual skill as the other team, we played together. Jen gets the most out of each team she has. That makes it more fun as a player, because you're so connected, win or lose." 

After taking a semester off to train with the U.S. Women's National Team, Kasold returned for her senior campaign with the Deacons in the fall of 2008. 

"Coming back was the best thing that could happen to me," she said. "I was back to the environment that I loved and back with the team that I loved. It got me back to the roots of why I played and what was fun about hockey. What makes hockey a part of me? Jen was a huge part of that."

She finished strong, scoring 13 goals and handing out 30 assists in her final season, earning All-Region, All-ACC, All-ACC Tournament and first team NHFCA All-American honors. 

"Wake was a huge part of me growing as a person, both on and off the field," Kasold said. "I don't know how that would have worked out anywhere else, because the people I was with had such a huge impact on me during that time that was difficult." 

Since graduating from Wake Forest, Kasold has competed for the U.S. Women's National Team in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

She married former UNC and UNC Greensboro soccer player Eli Garner in December 2018, and coaches young field hockey players outside the Chapel Hill/Durham area. They breed Golden Doodles, a golden retriever/poodle mix. 

"It's a much different lifestyle for me living on a farm," she said. "I love animals and love dogs so much. It's different than all the travel I've done, but it's exactly where I want to be. I'm still involved in field hockey, but also do other things I love too. 

"From a competitive standpoint, I still do obstacle course races. That's my second athletic career. It's great to have something to train for and compete in on the side."

Living just an hour away from Winston-Salem, Kasold makes it a point to visit the Wake Forest field hockey program at least a couple times each season.  

"There's so many new buildings and the new Sports Performance Center," she said. "It's amazing how it's grown. We had alumni weekend in the fall. We were reminiscing and having a good time. The players had smoothies on the sideline after the game. 

"But we were appreciative for everything we had when we were there. We're happy that they are able to have those things now and that it's able to grow."

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Michelle Kasold