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Archive for December 4, 2018

Dec. 4, 2018 — Region of the Year: PIAA District 3

I know, I know. You’ve just read the headline for today’s blog entry, and you’re thinking, “Shouldn’t they win that award every year?”

The fact is, District 3 of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association has had at least one finalist in every state championship field hockey game since 2005.

But what made the district the 2018 Region of the Year is the fact that five out of the six participants in the state championship finals were from one district, meaning that District 3 was guaranteed two state champions.

It’s not as though central Pennsylvania has never been recognized before: we once gave this award to the city of Lancaster, once to the Lancaster-Lebanon League, once to District 4 (located due north of Harrisburg, the state capital), and, back in 1999, to PIAA District 3.

But there is a different reason for the award this year. Call that reason “The Spooky Nook Effect.” The U.S. women’s field hockey team’s training center at the old Armstrong plant in Manheim Township, Pa. has created a knockon effect for players, coaches, and even umpires to model themselves after the best our nation has to offer.

Indeed, the town of Mount Joy, where Class AA champion Donegal sits, is a scant five miles from Spooky Nook. Hershey, Palmyra, and Lower Dauphin, all from the Mid-Penn Keystone Division, are 20 miles northwest. Newport, which fell in the Class A title game, is a further half-hour to the northwest from the Route 322 derbyists.

But it isn’t just about the five teams that made the finals, but the other District 3 teams that just missed out. Penn Manor, the defending state champions, fell a rung short of playing for the state title, having lost to Hershey. In the opposite half of the bracket, West Lawn Wilson (Pa.), everyone’s dark horse to make the title match, were ousted by Lower Dauphin.

Oley Valley, having made the Class A final a couple of years ago, were turned aside by Palmyra in the state semifinals, while defending state champion Millerstown Greenwood (Pa.) lost to eventual state titlist Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.).

In all, nine out of 12 PIAA semifinalists came from District 3, a dominating performance by some great teams.

District 3 joins a number of winners of the Region of the Year award selected by this site in the past:

2018: PIAA District 3, Pa.
2017: Houston, Tex.
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.