The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

October 3, 2013

Scott Dudinskie's field hockey column: Seals roll along

Some of you may know that I covered Berwick football from 1995-2008.

It was an extraordinary time to be the Bulldogs' beat writer, starting with the program's third USA Today national championship and ending with a district title won by coaching legend George Curry's successor, Gary Campbell.

In between there was an unprecedented (at the time) run of four consecutive state championships; the Gus Felder eligibility controversy; Curry's retirement and sudden emergence at rival Wyoming Valley West; and Campbell's restoration of some of the program's luster.

Fourteen seasons. One hundred forty-two wins. Ten league titles. Eight district crowns.

Truly remarkable.

That level of success, however, came at a price, and -- more often than not -- Berwick's other boys' athletics programs paid it.

To some, sustaining that success meant training year-round in an unceasing cycle of weight lifting, conditioning, speed work and passing scrimmages/linemen challenges. Many a three-sport athlete opted to narrow his focus to football alone. Happens everywhere, I guess. Happened a lot there.

There's a story told about one of the Bulldogs' all-time greats, a kid who had also played baseball all his life. That is until one year, when the varsity coaches arrived for an early season practice and found the young man's uniform neatly folded and stacked in an otherwise empty dugout.

What does any of this have to do with field hockey?

Nothing. I just couldn't help but to think about that situation last season when Kelsey Ulrich, Selinsgrove's projected starter in goal, opted to walk away from the team to focus on running cross country.

It was Berwick football in reverse, and I admired the young lady's conviction in making a difficult choice. She followed her heart, though it led her away from a high-profile spot on the area's premier hockey team.

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