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.
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.
Ulrich was supposed to step into the pads of all-state goalie Gabby Pagana, but instead sophomore Courtney McCartney donned them and helped the Seals win their eighth consecutive District 4 title.
McCartney, of course, is better known for her track and field prowess. She's one of the best throwers in the state, and among the nation's elite in shot put. She also saved 82.1 percent of the shots she faced last hockey season (96 of 117), and was a welcome returnee to a squad with designs on winning a ninth straight district championship.
McCartney, however, had foot surgery just prior to the start of hockey season for a non-hockey related injury. She was just recently cleared to begin practicing, and only time will tell when she's able to contribute.
In McCartney's stead, sophomore Keely Rodarmel has helped the Seals to a typically brilliant Selinsgrove season.
They are 10-1 (8-0 Heartland-I) having won seven consecutive games, the last five by shutout. They've blanked seven opponents and allowed more than one goal in a game twice. The only time the Seals surrendered more than two goals was in their only loss, to defending Class AA state champion Crestwood.
Selinsgrove is also scoring at a robust clip of 4.7 goals per game, which is nearly a goal better than last season's 11-game pace. The attack has excelled despite the absence of senior forward Mackenna Mahan, a Daily Item preseason all-star, who tore her ACL in a scrimmage and has not yet played.
So playing without one of their top scorers and a veteran goalie, the Seals have still established themselves as the team to beat in both HAC-I and District 4-AA.
Cathy Keiser, coaching her 30th season, has reserved her own evaluation until after Selinsgrove plays a particularly difficult stretch of games beginning with today's showdown at Lewisburg (10-2-1, 6-2). Wyoming Seminary and Line Mountain follow, and a rematch with rival Mifflinburg and a date with nonleague power Greenwood aren't far off.
I can't say what the future holds for McCartney (maybe her inevitable track scholarship is incentive enough to give up being peppered by cue balls for three months next autumn), or Rodarmel, for that matter.
But this is the second time I've covered a high school athletics program on such a roll that it's able to overcome virtually any adversity or obstacle.
It's truly remarkable.
n Scott Dudinskie covers field hockey for The Daily Item. Email comments or questions to email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ScottDudinskie.