Olympian wins gold as city relatives watch

Megan Keller, whose grandparents live in Williamsport, and her fellow United States hockey team members celebrate with their gold medals after beating Canada in the women’s gold medal hockey game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, on Thursday. Keller is at the top left.

Olympic gold medalist Megan Keller is a shining star today, and her achievement is being celebrated by two grandmothers and a grandfather who live in Williamsport.

Keller, 21, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, a suburb northwest of Detroit, plays for the U.S. women’s hockey team, which won an historic gold medal in a tight game Wednesday against Canada. The 3-2 victory came while Keller was in the penalty box during an overtime “shoot out.”

“I know she will bring her medal in for us grandparents in Williamsport to see,” said Mary Ann Keller of Lincoln Avenue, who recalled how Megan, when she was younger and visiting the city, would ice skate on the frozen pond outside of the Penn Street Armory.

Across town, Wayne and Mary Lou Winner have decorated their front door with a heart-shaped wreath made of a bouquet of wooden roses. The colors are red, white and blue, and the wreath has two American flags poking out of the top.

The Winners and Mary Ann Keller said they watched with rapt attention as the game was broadcast live from the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The game was long, from 11:10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Wednesday until after 3 a.m. Thursday.

The Winners of Memorial Avenue were ecstatic over the win, which they watched from faceoff until the final victory shot in the dramatic 3 to 2 shoot-out victory.

“It is an unbelievable experience,” said Mary Ann Keller of having a granddaughter become an Olympian and gold medalist to boot. She wished her late husband James could have witnessed the accomplishment.

Having watched all of the games leading up to the gold medal contest, Mary Ann Keller said her granddaughter is the “kind of granddaughter everybody wishes they had.”

“I’ve watched her skate from the time she was little, skating mostly on the boys team in Michigan until a

girl’s team was available,” Keller said.

Many of her coaches throughout the years said she has talents that can’t be taught, according to Keller.

Her brother Ryan played hockey for Michigan State and she has had a stellar career at Boston College, where she returns this fall.

The Winners watched the game and, though sleepy, were transfixed.

“I thought she played her heart out,” Mary Winner, better known locally as “Lou,” said.

“We were down and I was thinking they weren’t going to make it,” Wayne Winner said.

The couple said they said a lot of prayers during the game.

They said they are extremely proud of her, as they sat next to photographs of her in her early years.

“It was her hope to play in the Olympics,” Wayne Winner said. “She’s been skating since she was 3 years old … that’s been her dream.”

Success on the ice and in sports must have been genetically inspired as well. Keller’s father, Greg, and mother, Lynn, were athletes.

Greg Keller played football for Williamsport Area High School and was an outstanding offensive lineman for Shippensburg University, while her mother bowled and attended Lock Haven University.

Today, Lynn teaches physical education in middle school and her father is employed by the federal government.

The Winners’ son, David Winner, lives on Lafayette Parkway and told his parents he plans to put red, white and balloons in his yard in celebration of the win. David’s son, Bryce, and daughter, Makenna, attend Loyalsock Township School District, which allowed one of the games to be watched by classes during school hours.