CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. — The fall sports season continued to prove the strength of District III field hockey. Central Pennsylvania had five teams in the state finals and swept the PIAA State Championships in all three classifications.
With all of the talent District III pumps out, where do these players go after high school? Six have found a second home in State College. All are playing different but important roles in Happy Valley, suiting up for the blue and white.
Laura Gebhart is a Manheim Central graduate who went on to be an All-American at Penn State. She has since been promoted from assistant coach to field hockey associate head coach.
“It’s an overwhelmingness of gratitude," she said. "Being a student-athlete here is so wonderful and magical and to be able to come back and coach, is just a gift."
During the blue and white weekend at Penn State, the Nittany Lions field hockey team hosted its annual alumni game. It was the first alumni game former head coach Char Morett-Curtiss played on the opposing side since 1987. Her successor, Penn Manor graduate Lisa Bervinchak-Love, will begin her 30th season with the Lions—her first as the head coach.
Leading the charge on the field are four seniors with District III ties who helped lead the team to an NCAA Final Four appearance in the fall.
“Every game we have in the fall, there’s always someone from around where we’re from," said Gery Schnarrs, East Pennsboro graduate and Penn State field hockey senior back. "And I think it’s just really cool seeing everyone be able to compete at such a high level."
“It’s so competitive and to see everyone joining the Big Ten, playing in the ACC. People you played club with, you’re playing against now," said Mackenzie Allessie, Donegal graduate and Penn State field hockey senior midfielder.
Safe to say, District III is a hot bed for field hockey. Even USA Field Hockey called central Pennsylvania home for seven years.
“We just have a strong area for field hockey and just the fact that field hockey is just a small network. Everyone knows everyone and the fact that it’s just so nice to have that here," said Lauren Delgado, Garden Spot graduate and Penn State field hockey senior goalie.
“It’s so awesome and I think just the pride aspect is so incredible," said Allessie. "Like, you go to the grocery store down in Lancaster County and everyone’s like, 'We Are!' It’s super fun because it’s all over the world and I think that’s the most incredible thing. Everyone is supporting you."
The list of District III players continues to grow as the Nittany Lions will add a seventh player from the area to kick off the 2023 campaign.