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Field Hockey Wins States for First Time

Tigers are first northern Va. school to take field hockey crown
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Independence High School won its first-ever state championship in Field Hockey, Beating Colonial High school in the finals last month. The team’s victory cemented the Tigers as one of the state’s most dominant programs and the victory was a first for a northern Virginia school in a sport long-dominated by southern, coastal schools in the commonwealth.

Head Coach Jennifer Darrow said after the game that the team’s success was the result of building on the past as well as making small adjustments. 

“Strategies we used in the past I would say we were very defensively strong and this year we’re equally as defensively strong,” she said.  “[We] changed our lineup to put some scores on the front end to be able to accumulate more points this season. So in addition to our strong game from last year, and this year, we added an additional very strong forward line.” 

There can be a huge difference in players abilities from the start till the end of the season. Coach Darrow gave insight into how the girls have improved from the start of the season till states. 

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“They massively improved. First game to the very last,” Coach Darrow said. “People playing different positions, we were testing out different lineups, different field positionings but these girls worked harder and harder every day. And then we went to the max showcase, which allowed them to play a lot harder teams earlier in our season, which I think really impressed to them, kind of for what was to come in our postseason play.” 

Many of the players were put to the test playing against competitive teams which pushed them to work harder to improve. Throughout the season many of the girls talked about struggles they faced. Quin Demcsak said the state championship is the result of overcoming numerous obstacles.

“We definitely had some low moments throughout the season. So I think before states, we were most concerned about keeping our energy and keeping it true towards the end, not giving up before we even have a shot because we were definitely scared about states, but we knew we could do it.” 

Demcsak said she and the team struggled keeping a positive energy before the game due to stress. After the final buzzer, she said all that worry went away. 

“ Just us all running out to each other. And my little sisters on the team, so I immediately hugged her, and I hugged my best friend Maddie and like my other teammates and it just like that was such, just a rewarding moment. And that was definitely my favorite,” she said.

After a long season of being undefeated and winning states Coach Darrow described her plan for next season. 

“[We want to] defend the title as much as we can. We are losing a key group of seniors this year, so we will be intrigued and interested to see what comes in next season, and seeing how we can grow and adapt with what we’ve lost. See what changes we can make for our lineup to be able to keep the same path that any field hockey has had for the last five years.” 

Coach Darrow ended the interview with advice for the team.

“Accountability, trust, family, three words we use quite often. If you don’t have those things that field hockey itself is very much a team game and start even though it’s a team sport, there’s some other team sports that are a little bit more individualized. I think that’s why we’ve been very successful is because our team dynamic is unbelievably amazing. Yeah, they love each other. They feel like a family. They trust each other. So when they’re on a field, they just can be on the streets.”

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About the Contributor
Claire McLaughlin
Claire McLaughlin, Junior Staff Writer
Claire McLaughlin is a first year staff writer for The Prowl. As someone who is very easy going and is always in for a fun time, she’s looking forward to covering student life as well as sharing opinion pieces. In her free time she enjoys long days on the beach followed by a nice meal of Mexican food. Aside from typical teenage life, she also runs cross country and track for Independence. As a firm believer in academic integrity, she always finds time to prioritize school work altogether making her an extremely well balanced student. When it comes to goals for the upcoming year within journalism, she hopes to take away proficient writing and communication skills.