For the second straight yr, the TopOfTheCircle.com Area of the Yr is being given to a subset of the nation’s most distinguished discipline hockey commonwealth, Pennsylvania.
And for the primary time in 11 years, we carry a whole convention into play, the Mid-Penn Convention. The Mid-Penn stretches for a number of hundred sq. miles surrounding the state capital of Harrisburg, from State Faculty to the northwest, to Greencastle to the Southwest, to Palmyra to the east.
The 27 groups that play discipline hockey within the EPC have a collective excellence that’s unmatched within the sport. 4 groups performed for PIAA championships on Nov. nineteenth at Mechanicsburg Cumberland Valley (Pa.).
Three of them have been in the identical division — Hummelstown Decrease Dauphin (Pa.), Hershey (Pa.), and Mechanicsburg (Pa.) play within the Keystone. And it appeared as if every of those groups, plus Hershey (Pa.), have been beating one another in league play, making a real case of survival for whoever got here out forward.
Now, it may have been straightforward to easily award the Area of the Yr solely to the Keystone Division. However alongside comes Boiling Springs (Pa.), out of the Capital Division, as a dark-horse contender. Boiling Springs had made the District 3-A title sport in its inaugural taking part in in 2016, however had not made the ultimate once more till profitable the 2022 district title, the college’s first main trophy in discipline hockey.
The Bubblers, within the subsequent state Class A event, stored on effervescent of their pursuit of a second main trophy. They beat Bloomsburg (Pa.) 3-0 within the first spherical, Newport (Pa.) 1-0 within the second, then beat Bloomsburg Central Columbia (Pa.) 1-0 in additional time to make their first state championship sport. Within the last, Boiling Springs held off a great Exeter Wyoming Space (Pa.) for 56 minutes after which obtained a Reagan Eickhoff penalty nook purpose to win the championship 1-0.
In Class AA, it got here down to 2 Keystone Division foes, Mechanicsburg (Pa.) and Palmyra (Pa.). Palmyra has been within the grand last earlier than; the Cougars have been in all however one PIAA title match between 2014 and 2020 earlier than lacking final yr. However the Cougars have been again of their seventh state title sport in 9 years, a purple patch of kind that has not been seen by every other program in nine-season interval.
The opponent, Mechanicsburg, has proven exceptional fearless and resilience in standing on the nationwide stage in 2022 after making the quarterfinal spherical of the PIAA Event in 2021. This yr Wildcats performed some nice hockey on the Nationwide Excessive Faculty Invitational, beating Voorhees Jap (N.J.) 4-0 and Malvern Nice Valley (Pa.) 2-1. They continued that kind late within the season, making it to the PIAA 3-AA last earlier than shedding to defending state champion Elverson Twin Valley (Pa.).
As soon as the state event started, nonetheless, Mechanicsburg wouldn’t be stopped. The Cats beat Radnor Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) 5-1 within the first spherical, obtained by Mountain Prime Crestwood (Pa.) 3-2 in additional time, then beat Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.) within the semifinal spherical 1-0.
Mechanicsburg and Palmyra, who had met thrice within the season, have been even within the collection with a win, a draw, and a defeat. This arrange a gripping grand last, one through which Mechanicsburg would battle for 69 minutes till Gracyn Catalano put in a forehand from the left doorstep to win its first state championship.
Within the Class AAA bracket, Hummelstown Decrease Dauphin (Pa.), a member of the Keystone Division, took on West Garden Wilson (Pa.), seeking the Falcons’ seventh state championship. And as per the opposite members of the Mid-Penn Convention, Decrease Dauphin didn’t have a simple day of it, as they took Wilson to additional time.
The MPC joins a spread of different geographical places chosen in previous years:
2022: Mid-Penn Convention
2021: Pennsylvania personal
2020-21: State of Ohio
2019: Charlotte, N.C.
2018: PIAA District 3, Pa.
2017: Houston, Tex.
2016: Commonwealth of Virginia
2015: Summit, N.J.
2014: CIF Central Coast Part, 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 Part, 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 Part, Calif.
1996: Hunterdon and Warren County, N.J.