Last year, there were just four winning teams among the eight that play field hockey in the Northwest Corner: Thomaston, Lewis Mills, Nonnewaug and Shepaug.
But the best of that group was very good indeed.
Thomaston went undefeated in the Berkshire League, losing only to Brookfield in the regular season. Then the Golden Bears swept through Class S to their first field hockey state championship.
The biggest obstacle on the way to the crown? Berkshire League opponent Lewis Mills. The Spartans took the Bears to triple overtime in the second round.
Nonnewaug tied for second with Mills in the league, splitting a pair of regular-season games with the Spartans and losing, like Mills, twice to Thomaston.
Everybody lost key players to graduation, but the best teams lost some of the best players.
Morgan Sanson was an all-state selection for the Bears; Gabrielle Hurlbert was first-team All-BL; Julia Romaniello, second-team All-BL. Makenzie LoPresti and Clair Scherf were All-BL players for Nonnewaug.
It gives the lower ranks hope.
“Our young team has grown in strength and talent. We’re looking for this to be a revolutionary year for the Warriors,” says Wamogo second-year coach Natalie Wall.
“We’re gaining a large, strong group of freshmen to add to our team this year, making it the largest field hockey team Litchfield has seen in years,” says Litchfield Coach Melissa Pratt. “Some schools lost key seniors, which might keep all of the teams on a pretty evenly-competitive level.”
The top of the league will have to be convinced.
Despite the loss of their major offensive players, the Golden Bears return seven starters.
“There is plenty of experience on the defensive end,” said Thomaston Coach Brooke Holway, whose team had eight shutouts in last year’s regular season. “We should be competitive in the Bekshire League.
Nonnewaug lost five starters but new coach Mary Orlando is happy with what she sees.
“We are looking to build our program and give Thomaston and Lewis Mills, as well as the entire BL, some tough competition this fall.”
Without the top team’s all-stars, competition may be tougher, but the same four teams are likely to come out on top.