St. Scholastica trainer off to London OlympicsAn e-mail opened the door to the Summer Olympics for Kim Moncel.
By: Kevin Pates, Duluth News Tribune
An e-mail opened the door to the Summer Olympics for Kim Moncel.
The U.S. Olympic Committee had her name on a list of athletic trainers who received high marks while working with national teams. And in preparing a staff for 2012 in London, Bill Moreau, managing director of the USOC sports medicine division in Colorado Springs, Colo., contacted Moncel.
St. Scholastica’s head athletic trainer was slightly bowled over. Her most recent U.S. assignment was with women’s team handball, yet that group failed to qualify for the Summer Games, placing eighth in the 2011 Pan Am Games last October in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“I assumed my opportunity was over; I didn’t think I was in the mix,” Moncel, a Superior native who lives in South Range, said last week. “To get chosen for the Olympics is the biggest thing that’s happened in my professional life. I’m honored and excited.”
Moncel, 44, left Sunday and returns home Aug. 13, just days before starting a 15th year with the Saints. She’s part of a six-person USOC staff — including two doctors, two massage therapists and a chiropractor — to be headquartered at the University of East London, Docklands Campus, 25 minutes from the Olympic Village. The United States is renting the campus as a site for athletes to work out and receive medical treatment. The Summer Games open July 27.
Moncel isn’t attached to a particular team but rather will handle general requests. She’s figuring to interact with athletes from teams out of the spotlight like archery, fencing, judo or riflery, which have limited medical support personnel. She’ll assist in manual therapy and taping.
Those who know her aren’t surprised to see her at the international level. Essentia Health physical therapist and athletic trainer Greg Vergamini began working with Moncel in 1997 at what was then St. Mary’s-Duluth Clinic.
“She’s dedicated to the profession, she’s a proponent of the profession and she has very high standards,” said Vergamini, 60, who has worked in the field for 30 years. “She was one of the best finds we had in hiring her at SMDC.”
Moncel, a 1986 Superior High School graduate, earned an undergraduate degree in physical education and athletic training from Washburn (Kan.) University in 1991 and an advanced degree in exercise science from Northern Michigan in 1993. She worked at Superior Acceleration and Physical Therapy in Superior for two years and then at SMDC, being contracted for high school athletics at Superior and Northwestern, and at St. Scholatica. She’s been employed fulltime with the Saints the past four years.
A connection with U.S. national teams started with women’s baseball and includes World Cup trips to China in 2006 for a gold medal and Japan in 2008 for a bronze medal.
While at St. Scholastica she’s been on the bench with men’s hockey and volleyball, as well as other sports, and supervises students in clinical rotation in the athletic training department’s Masters program in the School of Health and Sciences.
“Sixty to 70 percent of our (athletic training) students are female, and Kim has served as a positive role model. She’s been working at a very high level for a number of years, and she’s able to share her experiences with our students and athletes,” said Hal Strough, the department chair. “To have her chosen by the USOC to work with Olympic athletes speaks to her success and competence, and is a very clear testament to her skill and ability.”