Last updated: February 20. 2013 2:02AM - 290 Views

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Kat Sharkey is a three time All-American who helped lead Princeton University to its first national championship in field hockey in 2012.

Sharkey also played indoor field hockey while she attended Wyoming Seminary and encourages younger athletes to do the same.

I learned so much from the indoor game, said Sharkey, 22, the NCAA's leading scorer in Division I last season. It helps develop your skills and become effective defensively.

Sharkey competed with the Valley Styx indoor team for five years.

What you do during the off-season allows you to accomplish your goals in season, said Sharkey of Moosic, who believes athletes shouldn't put their sticks down after the fall, but should play all year.

The off-season training, running and lifting has paid off greatly for Sharkey who had 38 goals and 85 points in her senior season.

It was really neat, Sharkey said of playing indoor in Virginia Beach this past summer. Some of my Princeton team competed on the regional high performance team.

In 2012, Sharkey was named to the U.S. Women's National team, but did not make the Olympic squad.

It was definitely tough, said Sharkey, who had taken a year off from school to train. I was close to making the team. It was a disappointment, but I'm proud of how far I've come in the process.

Sharkey returned to Princeton last fall and led the Tigers to their first national championship.

It was an amazing feeling to win. It was definitely the best experience of my college career, Sharkey said. It was the culmination of so much hard work by myself and teammates. I'm happy to end my college career as a member of the best team in the nation.

Wyoming Seminary coach Karen Klassner said she knew from the start of Sharkey's high school career that she would be a star.

There are players that come along and you just know, Klassner said. Some players had aspirations that they really wanted to go through the U.S. system and they had to be playing year-round or they weren't as competitive.

Sharkey has accomplished her goals of making the national team, winning a national championship and becoming an All-American. She attributes her success to hard work and good planning.

It's important to have a clear focus, Sharkey said. I worked hard to achieve my goals.

Sharkey will graduate from Princeton this spring. She said good time management has been crucial to her success. She also recommends that athletes in the Wyoming Valley get involved in as many field hockey programs as possible.

My best advice is take advantage of playing opportunities in our area, Sharkey said. I improved when I played all year.

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