Albuquerque’s Molina making waves with NCAA D-III Amherst
Kristen Molina realizes she’s the lone female playing women’s NCAA hockey.
She wishes she wasn’t.
“It’s pretty fun that I can say I’m the only female from New Mexico to be playing hockey at the NCAA level, but at the same time, I wish I wasn’t able to say it,” said Molina, a junior defenseman and economics major at NCAA Division III Amherst College. “I would love to see ice hockey in New Mexico progress so that there would be more players, male and female, reaching the collegiate level. And while not having much access to high quality coaching and training is an issue, I also think many hockey players in New Mexico are simply unaware of the caliber of hockey in other states and how it’s necessary to compete at that level to have a chance of playing in college.”
For Molina, an Albuquerque native, she prepped at the Albuquerque Academy and then spent a postgraduate year at the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, N.Y. Along with inline hockey, Molina played for the Cibola High School team and during her junior and senior years, practiced with the New Mexico Storm 18U A team. She also played for the VOSHA Lady Coyotes program from eighth through tenth grade and the Colorado Tigers in Colorado Springs her junior and senior years.
Overcoming hurdles in her youth also helped Molina get to play the college game.
“To be honest, most of the hurdles that stood in my way growing up were ones that my parents overcame for me,” said Molina. “I was fortunate my mother’s job permitted her to spend Fridays driving to Arizona or Colorado for weekend practices, and my father was always happy to supply “dadvice” (or just coaching as he would rather me say) on the mental aspects of competing and staying disciplined.
“Because there was nothing I’d rather do than play hockey, committing my summers and spare time to the sport never felt like a sacrifice or obstacle, and I think that helped me achieve my goal of playing in college.”
— Matt Mackinder