It's possible Hartwick College could have two former students competing for Canada in the 2008 Summer Olympics at Beijing, China.

Ex-Hawks soccer standouts Josh Wagenaar and Tyler Hemming are members of Canada's under-23 Olympic team, which has one more obstacle to overcome to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in soccer.

That obstacle is named the United States.

Canada and the U.S. will play 7 tonight at Nashville, Tenn., in a semifinal of the CONCAFAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Fox Sports World will televise the game). The winner advances to the final of the tournament and earns an automatic bid into the Olympics.

Wagenaar, who recently told the Canadian Press he hadn't played a meaningful game since 10 months before this tournament began, is the team's starting goalie and has helped Canada to a 1-1-1 record.

Hemming's throughball set up Will Johnson's goal in the 46th minute as Canada took a three-goal lead en route to a 5-0 victory over Guatemala on Sunday. That victory clinched Canada's spot in the semifinals, advancing on goal-differential over Mexico, which also went 1-1-1.

Wagenaar, the Atlantic Soccer Conference's Goalie of the Year in 2005 while at Hartwick, made three saves, including a diving effort in the 11th minute, against Guatemala.

A two-time ASC Player of the Year _ in 2005 and 2006 at Hartwick _ Hemming played this past season for Major League Soccer's Toronto FC. He appeared in four of the team's 30 games, including two starts.

Though Hemming and Wagenaar are playing in this tournament, should Canada qualify, it doesn't mean they'll make the Olympic team. Some of Canada's stronger players did not play in the tournament because of commitments to professional teams.

But if Canada beats the U.S. tonight, and Hemming and Wagenaar remain on the team, Hartwick could have as many as four former athletes in the Olympics.

Two-time All-American Bronwen Knox and Sophie Smith might play for Australia's water polo team as well. Australia has already qualified for the Olympics but hasn't set its roster yet.

Knox led the nation in scoring for Hartwick in 2006 with 129 goals. Smith was a first-team all-Northern Division honoree in 2005.

Trending Video

Recommended for you