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July 6, 2016 — Leading competitive indicators, Part 2

Late last month, the National Futures Tournament was held for many of the best U-19, U-16, and U-14 players in the U.S.

Unlike the last few years, however, the team taking to the two pitches at Spooky Nook were competing for their regions. USA Field Hockey ended the practice of randomizing the teams for this year, going back to the format that had been the practice for the 1990s and the 2000s, where the two upper divisions were all members of the same Futures region, where practicable.

As such, it’s not a surprise that Pennsylvania Region 5 was very much in the medals. Though the U-14s were all multi-regional teams, it’s notable that Albertville had six members of its team from Pennsylvania. This included rising freshman Sophie Gladieux, who was one of the scoring leaders during the most recent Junior Premier Indoor League.

Pennsylvania swept the top two positions at the U-16 Tournament. The gold medalists, Montreal, featured Mackenzie Allessie, one of only two ninth-graders in National Federation history to score as many as 60 goals in a season. The team also had Charlotte De Vries, daughter of former U.S. national teamer Kerry De Vries.

The U-19 division, however, saw Team Sochi, representing Virginia and the Carolinas, win gold. It’s notable that at least two coaches’ daughters were in the side; Mackenzie Karl is the daughter of Chantilly Westfield (Va.) coach Starr Karl, and Annie Snead is the daughter of Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.) head coach Margie Snead.

Sochi vanquished Athens, representing Pennsylvania, in the final. Athens had the heroines of both 2015 PIAA championship games in the lineup; Kelee LePage from Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.) and Meredith Sholder from Emmaus (Pa.).

The National Futures Tournament has always been a good indicator of nationwide talent and how their respective school teams might do, and it always seems as though the better players tend to get on the scoresheet in the final.

Will we see Virginia make a surge in 2016? We’ll have to keep watching.

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