The decline in a once-proud program has been steep for a few years, and it’s finally reached rock bottom.
Citing declining numbers on a seemingly annual basis, Penn Wood decided to cancel its field hockey season for the 2012 season, according to athletic director Rap Curry.
“We’ve been struggling with field hockey numbers for the past few years,” Curry said. “We’ve been fighting, scratching and clawing to keep it alive, but we decided to suspend it for a year and try to build it back up at the middle school level.”
The Patriots once ranked among the District One elites in field hockey, right around the time when Kathleen Geiger coached at the school. In 1992, the school produced four Division I recruits, including 1992 Daily Times Player of the Year Kara Ariza. But for the past few years, the amount of players coming out for the sport has drastically declined. Cross country, volleyball, and tennis have all seen spikes in interest at field hockey’s expense.
“Every community has programs that are more specific to them, and that’s been my struggle,” Curry said. “We used to have a great field hockey program, and it’s a little frustrating. It’s not a budget cut, though, and we will try to start up our program again.”
The Patriots’ inability to field a team leaves the Del Val with only three teams: two-time defending champion Chichester, Interboro, and Academy Park.
- MATT CHANDIK