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Breann Craley is psyched big time about the upcoming field hockey season.

"This is the most excited I've ever been for the season to start," the Central York High School senior said during York-Adams League Fall Sports Media Day. "The players are so positive and so connected with each other."

Craley and Kyra Heap are two of seven seniors on the Panthers' roster this season. The Panthers are coming off a Division I championship.

Central's veteran head  coach, Lori Livingston, said this year's team is the most experienced one she's had in a few  years.

"We also have a bunch of freshmen and three or four of them will see  playing time," Livingston said.

Legendary figure: Livingston is legendary in York County field hockey circles, having started her career with the Panthers' field hockey program four decades ago when the school was in North York.

"In the '70s and '80s, I was an assistant and a head coach," Livingston said. "Then, I stopped and had kids. I came back in 2001 as a JV coach, and I've been a head coach since 2010."

What pulls her back each year?

"It's fun," she said. "I enjoy coaching the sport, but I also go see (Lauren) Moyer play when I can. (Moyer is a Central York graduate who starred at the University of North Carolina and is now a member of the United States national team that trains at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Lancaster County).

"And I went to see York College play Stevenson. Three of our former players were on Stevenson's team and one was on York College."

Game has changed: Livingston said the game has changed a lot since she started coaching.

"Skill wise, we're learning to do things we didn't do back in the day," Livingston said. "Reverse sweeps, chips, lifting."

The 2018 Panthers are hoping their skills will carry them to a special season.

"We want to make our dreams come true," Heap said. "We want to  be playing in counties (the York-Adams Tournament), and we want to win a district game."

Division I outlook: Central went 11-1-1 in division action in 2017. That ended the five-year reign of rival Dallastown atop the division. The Panthers finished 13-7-1 overall after losing in the first round of the District 3 Class 3-A playoffs.

New Oxford finished second in D-I a season ago at 9-2-2, but ended up winning the York-Adams League Tournament.

Dallastown, meanwhile, will look to get back on top of the division after finishing fourth in D-I a year ago at 6-3-4. Red Lion finished third at 8-2-3.

From 2003 through 2016, the Wildcats won at least a share of the division title every year but 2011, when Red Lion took the championship.

The Panthers' title last year was their first since 2007, when they shared the crown with Dallastown. Before last year, Central's last outright division crown came in 1995 when it went 14-0-0 in Division II.

Reach Dick VanO'Linda at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

 

 

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