The Region of the Year is awarded to a defined area of the American field hockey map. It can be a league, a city, a geographic region, a county, a section defined by a state governing body, or an entire state.
For the entirety of 2016, many storylines within American field hockey had to do with the Commonwealth of Virginia. The growth of the game showed with the addition of 14 teams in the northern half, which necessitated the addition of an entire tournament classification in the Virginia High School League.
This made for a series of thrill-a-minute field hockey games in the public school tournament, which included a number of teams which would have never had a chance to get noticed when there were just two tournaments.
Virginia’s excellence was shared by the private schools of the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA). In non-conference matches, the VISAA teams played their public school sisters tough, led by Norfolk (Va.) Academy, one of only a handful of teams in the U.S. with an on-site water-based turf.
But what sealed Virginia’s designation as Region of the Year for 2016 occurred in mid-summer. At the National Futures Tournament at Spooky Nook, the Region 8 U-19 team, with 18 Virginians and two players from North Carolina, won the gold medal against a pair of loaded Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides featuring record-setting blue-chip players from the American high-performance system.
Virginia joins a number of winners selected by this site in the past:
2016: Commonwealth of Virginia
2015: Summit, N.J.
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, N.C.
2005: Louisville, Ky.
2004: Kent and Sussex County, Del.
2003: PIAA District 2, Pa.
2002: State of North Carolina
2001: Lancaster County, Pa.
2000: Cecil County, Md.
1999: PIAA District 3, Pa.
1998: State of Maryland
1997: CIF San Diego Section, Calif.
1996: Hunterdon and Warren County, N.J.