With the 2018 Winter Olympics drawing to a close, it is a good time to recap the sporting events and the achievements of our four MU athletescompeting.
Few universities comparative to Mercyhurst in size can claim an Olympic athlete, let alone four.
The Mercyhurst representatives — three alumni and one current student — are Meghan Agosta, Bailey Bram, Ryan Zapolski and Emma Nuutinen.
“I think everyone should be excited and proud seeing our past and present student-athletes do well. It is fun knowing how hard they work to get where they are and then seeing each of them thrive under pressure. It is always nice seeing the people you coach grow as individuals and mature through life achieving great success,” said Mike Sisti, Head Coach for Women’s Ice Hockey at Mercyhurst.
Agosta and Bram began their NCAA careers playing Division I women’s ice hockey for Mercyhurst. They are representing their native Canada at the 2018 Games.
The two alumnae combined for one assist in Canada’s preliminary-round 5-0 win over Russia, and Agosta has scored two goals for the Canadian team.
With Canada looking set for a place in the final, Bram will be hoping to secure her first medal, while Agosta hopes to add to her three-strong medal collection from previous games, before leaving PyeongChang.
Ryan Zapolski, an Erie native, played for Mercyhurst from 2007-2011, and is currently representing Team U.S.A. in goal at the Winter games.
The U.S. fell flat in its final preliminary round game against the Olympic Athletes from Russia on Saturday, but Zapolski did have his chance to shine against Slovenia with 21 saves before an overtime loss.
Current Laker Emma Nuutinen earned herself a team position with her home country of Finland in the 2018 games.
The sophomore scored her second career Olympic goal in the 7-2 quarterfinal win against Sweden. Nuutinen appeared in the 2014 Sochi games as well.
On a personal level, Sisti finds it amazingly rewarding to be able to watch the students he has coached on television, knowing what they are probably thinking after a certain play during the game.
“Each time we are so proud of them and love watching them represent themselves, our program, and the university on center stage,” said Sisti. “It is a remarkable event in many ways. How the athletes handle the success or failure is as important as how they prepared to make the Olympics. Regardless of the outcome, what an amazing accomplishment it is for someone to be able to say they were an Olympian.”