University of Marylands Lauren Powley is ready for lifes next challenge.

The senior field hockey player on the top-ranked Terrapin squad will be joining her father, Ken, on a cross-country bicycle trek during winter break in order to raise money for the United States Field Hockey Association. Ken made a similar trip five years ago and has been asking Lauren to accompany him on a second one, and she finally agreed.

Lauren Powley (T. Quinn, UM)
Im not a really big biker but I think its a great experience to have with my dad, and another challenge now that Im finishing hockey at the college level, said Powley. Its something to look forward to challenge myself.

The father-daughter tandem will fly to San Diego on Dec. 17 and bike back to the East Coast, completing the six-week trip in Jacksonville, Fla. They plan on biking 60 to 80 miles per day, and will camp out and stay in hotels along the way.

My dad said the last time he did the trip a lot of people would invite him into their homes along the way, which is nice, said Powley.

Powley will not only be enjoying an adventure with her father, but will use the journey to gather donations for U.S. Field Hockey, an organization she has been associated with for many years. She has been a member of the U.S. Under-18 and Under-19 teams, played for the U.S. Senior National Squad last summer, and took a two-week hiatus from her Maryland duties to compete in the Junior World Cup in Santiago, Chile, for the U.S. Under-21 team.

The traveling is fun, and Ive met a bunch of people from different schools, said Powley. The relationships you make with them are really amazing. Just playing at the next level is really exciting " the competition is great. You also get to encounter a lot of different cultures which is pretty interesting.

The three-time All-American has gained valuable experiences through playing internationally, and is eager to use those bonds to give back to the sport she loves. Powley is hoping to advertise her charitable enterprise at the National Field Hockey Festival during Thanksgiving Day weekend, and will be looking to get the word out through the U.S. Field Hockey web site and her hometown newspapers.

Were hoping for donations of a penny per mile, which really isnt that much money, said Powley. Ill send out the information to all the people I know. Through playing on the Junior National Team, I met a lot of people from other (college) teams. Im hoping to get the word out to them because Im sure they would like to donate to U.S. Field Hockey.

Maryland head coach Missy Meharg is not surprised her star in the midfield is taking on such a challenge, and admires Powleys parents for bringing her up in a ňúsport holistic environment.

Lauren is such a natural athlete and one of the greatest things about her is she has so much fun playing, said Meharg. Her work rate in practices is identical to that of a game - shes knows no difference. I think Maryland has really been what it has been over the past four years because she is so unbelievable in her work rate.

Before she starts peddling across the nation, Powley and her Terrapin teammates have some unfinished business on the turf in the Division I Championship. Maryland, the top seed of the tournament, will have a tough slate ahead beginning with 19th-ranked Richmond in a first round game on Nov. 12. If the Terps advance, they will play the victor of No. 6 American University and No. 8 Penn State on Nov. 13.

Meharg likes the prospect of a tough road to a national championship after falling to Michigan in the 2001 NCAA title game.

We had a year in 2001 where people were all over us because we had a very easy bracket to go straight to the finals, said Meharg. We out shot them (Michigan), 32-4, and lost the game. I think there are messages that come from working hard and having to take the hardest road, and since that year Ive always said if youre going to be the best at the end, then you want to play the best.