CICERO, N.Y. -- Upon winning a third consecutive New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class B title Sunday, Lakeland reinforced its’ status and Section 1’s place among New York State field hockey elite.
Lakeland gave Section 1 a New York-leading 22nd state championship since the tournament was introduced in 1984. Lakeland has a Section 1-high six state titles, followed by Rye with four.
“We love to represent Section 1 here at the state final four,” said Lakeland senior standout Emma Bozek. “Having won three state titles in-a-row feels awesome. I say that we, as a section, have a good representation of Section 1 every year.”
Overall, Section 1 also leads the state with 39 finalists, followed by Section 4 with 37. Section 4 is second behind Section 1 with 18 state titles. However, Marathon (seven) and Greene (six) have accounted for 13 of the 18.
Since 1998, Section 1 has had at least one state champion in each year, with the exception of 2008. No other section can say the same.
Section 1’s strength is its depth with 10 schools winning state championships. After Lakeland and Rye, Brewster, Mahopac, Rye Neck and John Jay-East Fishkill have won two titles apiece. Mamaroneck, Putnam Valley, Bronxville and Scarsdale have also been state champions.
“Success breeds success,” said Bozek, who will attend the University of North Carolina next year and play field hockey. “If you have a successful team and program, every team will want to get that extra advantage on the other and everyone is looking to beat each other.”
Two examples of Bozek’s point are Lakeland and Mamaroneck. Annually, Lakeland and Mamaroneck have become the teams to beat in Class B and Class A, respectively, at the Section 1 and state level.
Before the Empire State Games were eliminated because of state budget cuts, the Hudson Valley scholastic women’s field hockey, comprised of players from Section 1, won five consecutive gold medals.
“Section 1 is well-balanced and all of the teams keep getting better each year,” Bozek said. “We also have great coaches in Section 1.”