Two local hockey players help Washington Wild advance to USA National Championships

The Washington Wild U-19 girls hockey team holds the championship trophy from the Pacific District II tournament. Maddie Davis of Edmonds is third from the left in the top row and Julia Takatsuka of Lynnwood on the right in the first row.

Julia Takatsuka and Maddie Davis likely will have many highlights in their hockey careers by the time they are finished playing.

But perhaps one of the most memorable will have been one of their earliest – helping the Washington Wild advance to the USA Hockey National Championships earlier this month.

The Wild, a female team composed of players between 14 and 18 years old, went 2-1 in pool play before being eliminated in the quarterfinals at the championships, which were played April 3-6 in San Jose, Calif. Washington dropped its opening game before rebounding for two victories. The Wild finished fifth overall.

“I think we played really well, especially in the two middle games that we won,” said Takatsuka, who is from Lynnwood. “Having made nationals is pretty amazing.”

Takatsuka, a junior at Meadowdale High School, plays goalie. She took up hockey in the third grade and started goalkeeping in the seventh grade.

“My neighbors, who still live down the street, played hockey,” Takatsuka said. “I watched them. I thought ‘that’s cool. I want to play.’”

Davis, an Edmonds resident who is in her freshman year at Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, always loved ice skating. After a public session, she watched a drop-in hockey game.

“I said I’d like to try that,” Davis said. “I started to learn.”

Three years later, Davis was competing in the national championships. “It was a great experience. It was fun,” Davis said. “There were some really competitive teams.”

Following the opening loss, the Wild regrouped and did what it needed to do to advance.

“We had to get focused and win the next two games to move on,” Davis said.

Though she has three years to go, Davis already is hoping to continue playing hockey in college. Takatsuka has similar aspirations.

“I definitely want to play college, probably Division III,” she said,

What draws Takatsuka to the sport is the mental aspect of the game. “It’s changing all the time. There are so many ups and down,” Takatsuka said. “It’s not constant. Playing goalkeeper there is so much pressure. It makes it exciting.”

Davis likes the competiveness of the sport. The team, which traveled to Canada every weekend during the regular season, spent many hours together. “Your teammates become a family,” Davis said.

Some members of the family are moving on. Finishing the season at nationals was a great way to close out the season for several high school seniors on the team.

“It was really our last chance to be all together,” Takatsuka said. “Everything just all worked out this year. You don’t get a lot of seasons like this.”



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