Lilly Wojcik starring for Susquehannock, Team USA field hockey

Dante Green
York Dispatch
West York’s Reagan Kunkle, left, and Susquehannock’s Lilly Wojik compete for control of the ball during field hockey action at West York Area High School in West Manchester Township, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. Susquehannock would win the game 8-0. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

Passions and dreams don’t just come true by themselves — they have to be believed in and strived for. Lilly Wojcik has embraced that line of thinking since discovering the sport that helped shape her future.

The Susquehannock High School junior picked up on field hockey after watching her older sister, Lauryn Wojcik, play the sport. Lilly knew she wanted to be like her sister, so she told her parents she would play someday too. She was just 7 years old the first time her feet touched a field. It wasn’t long until she was playing in youth leagues and competing across York County. After all, the sport pushed her to be better.

“My favorite part has always been getting better and using skills I’ve never used before,” Wojcik said. “The adrenaline rush from scoring and playing for my teammates, being on teams with other people.”

Nowadays, Wojcik is one of the best high school field hockey players, not only in York County but in the entire nation. She's ranked as a top-10 prospect in the Class of 2024 by MAX Field Hockey. In 2020 and 2021, she was named York-Adams League Division II Player of the Year, led the division in scoring and earned all-star first team honors from the league.

Wojcik's experiences in the game helped her realize one of her biggest dreams: playing on the world stage for Team USA. She's played for the junior indoor national team for the last two years, as well as the U-16 national team this year. She was part of a U.S. U-16 team that defeated Canada in a four-match series in May.

These opportunities, Wojcik said, brought her confidence and skill to a new level.

“It's awesome that my hard work had paid off that I was able to make the team and see the different countries play and see how they play. I gained important experience in the field. It was awesome," she said. "We went against the Canadian national team and won all four games. It was great to meet all these new girls. Amazing experience."

Susquehannock's Lilly Wojcik is the York-Adams Division II Player of the Year.

Even with all of the success, Wojcik has had to find a balance between her athletics and academics. Communication with teachers and teammates has been key. But Wojcik has done more than excel in the classroom, as evidenced by her 4.3 weighted GPA. She’s committed to Princeton, one of the best academic schools in the country, and plans to study molecular biology or pre-med while playing field hockey at a higher level than she has already seen.

Felt like she 'belonged': Wojcik said she was drawn to Princeton ever since hearing about the school when she was just 8 years old. The Warriors junior has received offers and taken visits to other schools such as Maryland and Syracuse but knew Princeton was the place she wanted to be.

“It had always been set for me from the beginning," she said. "I went to clinics for years since seventh grade. I like the coaches and atmosphere. Really loved it. The players were like me and they acted like me. I felt like I belonged there."

Leaving behind a legacy for herself isn’t all Wojcik wants to accomplish at Susquehannock. She hopes that she and her teammates will influence the next wave of Warriors field hockey players. Last season, Susquehannock made an appearance in the state playoffs for the first time in program history.

Susquehannock's Lilly Wojcik moves the ball with Central York's Grace Harrold defending during field hockey action at Susquehannock Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. Central went on to win 2-1. Bill Kalina photo

“We want to set an example for younger players that will be coming," Wojcik said. "The type of example coaches will reference or use to inspire when kids are working hard to get where we were."

Warriors on a roll: The midfielder called it an honor to be a part of the Warriors' 2021 success. And with Sharon McLaughlin returning as head coach for a program she had led in the past, Susquehannock has jumped out to an 8-0 record, including 5-0 in the division. Wojcik, in her first year playing for McLaughlin after two seasons with Tracey Kerr, had 25 goals and five assists in the first six games alone.

“We have a new coach and new mindset," Wojcik said. "We are playing better than we did last year. We have had a lot of time to grow and get to know each other as players. That can get us far."

Susquehannock celebrates their eighth goal during field hockey action at West York Area High School in West Manchester Township, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. Susquehannock would win the game 8-0. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

Wojcik said her experiences both with the national team and her local WC Eagles club team have helped her improve.

“A lot of it is club training. I played with older girls that are a lot better in the game and a lot more skilled than me," Wojcik said. "Seeing those girls play makes me want to get better. It’s the older girls inspiring me to want to get better and learn new things."

Older sister Lauryn was certainly among those teammates that pushed and inspired the younger Wojcik. And it's led to national championships for the club.

“Her attention to detail and focus on doing the little things consistently well have made her a key player on our national championship teams," WC Eagles club coach Jun Kentwell said of Wojcik. "I am very pleased to see her hard work both in the classroom and on the field coming to fruition."

Wojcik said she would not be the same player without Kentwell, who helped showed her how to be a true field hockey player. And as Wojcik continues to chase the eventual dream of playing for Team USA at the highest level, continuing her success in college competition might just be the last piece of the puzzle.

“I want to continue to work hard enough to make it," Wojcik said. "Hopefully, I can make the team in my first or second year of college. I’m so happy to be in this chain and have this exposure to take the steps to make the USA team or even have the chance."