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Archive for January 7, 2019

Jan. 7, 2019 — The case for Maryanna Watson

First in a series of posts laying out arguments for the greatest scholastic field hockey player of all time.

Before we begin this series, we do so with this caveat. For the first 50 years of American scholastic field hockey, accurate game-by-game accounts of games are extremely scarce. We don’t know, for example, how many goals Anne Townsend scored for Ardmore Lower Merion (Pa.) as a teenager before matriculating to Penn and a decade and a half as captain of Team USA.

We do know, however, of the exploits of Maryanna Watson, who was South Jersey’s first mega-scorer.

Watson starred for Gloucester (N.J.) between 1959 and 1962, scoring 144 goals. Presumably, that was the highest total in the “mulberry stick” era, where the sticks were clunky and square-toed, games were exclusively played on grass (Monsanto wouldn’t introduce artificial turf until 1966), and play was constrained by offside and a tightly-called obstruction rule.

The 144 goals were also scored in a 14-game season, meaning that she had but 56 total games in order to be able to amass her total.

As many people as have amassed that total since, I can’t help but wondering what Watson could have done with a composite stick, on rubber turf, with the specialized isometric training that is available to most players today.

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