Wootton Grad Wins Gold as U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Scores Dramatic Victory over Canada

‘It was just such a nail-biter,’ says Haley Skarupa’s mom, who traveled from Rockville to PyeongChang to watch her play


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Haley Skarupa smiles with her father, left, mother and brother after Team USA wins Olympic gold. Credit: Penny Skarupa

Rockville native Haley Skarupa has captured a gold medal as part of the USA women’s hockey team that defeated Canada in a dramatic shootout Thursday.

The Thomas S. Wootton High School graduate made the Olympic team in the final hour, learning in late December that she’d be one of the 23 female hockey players representing the United States in PyeongChang. Her mother, Penny Skarupa, who cheered Team USA from the stands, said the gold-medal victory is the fulfillment of a longstanding dream for Haley.

“To see that gold medal around her neck, it completely blows your mind, and it renders someone like me speechless,” Penny Skarupa said by phone after the game.

After the American women’s team beat Canada by a score of 3-2, the players made an appearance on the Today show. Haley beamed at the camera as her teammates described the excitement of winning the first American women’s hockey gold in 20 years.

“It is the greatest honor of our lives right now,” team captain Meghan Duggan said.

Haley Skarupa, 24, has said she began her athletic career by playing roller hockey with her brother when she was about 4 or 5 years old. A couple of years later, she moved on to ice hockey and never looked back.

“I just loved how fast it was. It was very dynamic,” she told Bethesda Beat last month. “I just loved the challenge of it.”

One of her childhood coaches from Maryland flew to South Korea to watch Haley compete in the final match, Penny Skarupa said.

Penny Skarupa, a Bethesda Magazine advertising executive, said two of Haley’s best friends, her father, her grandmother and her brother were also in the stands.

“It was just such a nail-biter,” Penny Skarupa said after the game. “When they went to the shootout, we all went completely nuts. And then, when they won, it was just amazing. I cried. The waterproof mascara didn’t work.”

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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