December 6, 2022 — Region of the Year

For the second consecutive year, A subset of the nation’s most prominent field hockey commonwealth, Pennsylvania, is being awarded Region of the Year.

And for the first time in 11 years, we bring an entire conference into play, the Mid-Penn Conference Mid-Penn covers several hundred square miles around Harrisburg, the state capital, from State College in the northwest, Greencastle in the southwest, to Palmyra in the east.

The 27 teams that play field hockey in the EPC have a collective excellence that is unmatched in the sport. Mechanicsburg played four teams for the PIAA championship on Nov. 19 at Cumberland Valley (Pa.).

Three of them were in the same division — Hummelstown plays at Lower Dauphin (Pa.), Hershey (Pa.) and Mechanicsburg (Pa.) at Keystone. And it seemed as if Each of those teams, and Hershey (Pa.), were beating each other in league playCreating a true story of survival for those who came forward.

Now, it might be easy to just award the Keystone Division Region of the Year. But along comes Boiling Springs (Pa.), out of the Capital Division, as a dark-horse contender. Boiling Springs made the title game in District 3 in its inaugural game in 2016, but did not make the finals again before winning the 2022 district title, the school’s first major trophy in field hockey.

The Bubblers, at the next state Class A tournament, continued to bubble in pursuit of their second major trophy. They advanced to their first state championship game by defeating Bloomsburg (Pa.) 3-0 in the first round, Newport (Pa.) 1-0 in the second round, then Bloomsburg Central Columbia (Pa.) 1-0 in overtime. In the final, Boiling Springs held off a good Exeter Wyoming Area (Pa.) for 56 minutes and then got a penalty corner goal by Reagan Eckhoff to win the championship 1-0.

In Class AA, it fell to two Keystone Division foes, Mechanicsburg (Pa.) and Palmyra (Pa.). Palmyra reached the Grand Final before; The Cougars had all but one PIAA title match between 2014 and 2020 before missing last year. But the Cougars returned to their seventh state title game in nine years, a purple patch of form not seen by any other program in a nine-season span.

The opponent, Mechanicsburg, has shown remarkable fearlessness and resilience to stand on the national stage in 2022 after making the quarterfinal round of the PIAA tournament in 2021. This year the Wildcats played some great hockey at the National High School Invitational, defeating Voorhees Eastern (NJ). ) 4-0 and Malvern Great Valley (Pa.) 2-1. They continued that form late in the season, advancing to the PIAA 3-AA final before losing to defending state champion Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.).

Once the state tournament begins, Mechanicsburg will not be shut down. The Cats beat Radnor Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) 5-1 in the first round, edged Mountain Top Crestwood (Pa.) 3-2 in overtime, then beat Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.) 1-0 in the semifinal round.

Mechanicsburg and Palmyra, who met three times during the season, were even in the series with one win, one draw and one loss. That set up an intriguing grand final, where Mechanicsburg would battle for 69 minutes until Gracin Catalano forehanded from the left door to win her first state championship.

In the Class AAA bracket, Keystone Division member Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.) takes on West Lawn Wilson (Pa.) in the Falcons’ quest for their seventh state championship. And according to other members of the Mid-Penn Conference, Lower Dauphin didn’t have an easy day, as they took Wilson to overtime.

MPC joins a range of other geographies selected over the years:

2022: Mid-Penn Conference
2021: Pennsylvania non-public
2020-21: Ohio State
2019: Charlotte, NC
2018: PIAA District 3, Pa.
2017: Houston, Tex.
2016: Commonwealth of Virginia
2015: Summit, NJ
2014: CIF Central Coast Section, Calif.
2013: VHSL North, VA.
2012: State of New Jersey
2011: Lancaster-Lebanon League, Pa.
2010: No award
2009: No award
2008: CIF San Diego Section, Calif.
2007: PIAA District 4, Pa.
2006: Winston-Salem, NC
2005: Louisville, Ky.
2004: Kent and Sussex County, Del.
2003: PIAA District 2, Pa.
2002: North Carolina State
2001: Lancaster County, Pa.
2000: Cecil County, MD.
1999: PIAA District 3, Pa.
1998: Maryland State
1997: CIF San Diego Section, Calif.
1996: Hunterdon and Warren Counties, NJ

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