Mechanicsburg’s head coach Tonya Brown apologizes to Wildcats not mentioned on national field hockey athletic recognition list

When the stakes are high, coaches can forget deadlines.

That’s the message the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Executive Director Cate Clark said about missing them. The NFHCA publishes prestigious lists every year. Players are selected by member coaches in each of the association’s 10 regions and given national recognition for both athletics and academics.

And, unfortunately, Mechanicsburg’s head coach Tonya Brown missed one deadline for two recognitions during the heart of Pennsylvania’s District 3 playoffs.

“I don’t have a good reason,” Brown said. “I’m accepting full responsibility for not filling out the paperwork. I am extremely sorry.”

The NFHCA High School All-Region Team was published on November 22. The deadline for nominations was November 1. Brown said she thought she had until November 30 to submit players names, but that deadline is for the Pennsylvania High School Field Hockey Coaches Association recognition.

“I was bogged down with the details of taking care of the players,” she said. “The last week of October was a whirlwind.”

Mechanicsburg played Northern York on Saturday, Oct. 29 in Pennsylvania’s District 3 Class 2A quarterfinals. The Wildcats beat the Polar Bears 5-0 and then had to face-off against Palmyra four days later. Mechanicsburg lost to the Cougars 2-1 on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

As a member of the national association, Brown added she “wished they would have waited until the state playoffs were over.” She also acknowledged that not every state has the same playoff calendars, which could conflict with what the association is trying to accomplish. There were 23 players from Pennsylvania named to the NFHCA High School All-Region Team.

“The way it works is anyone can nominate players who are on a team that is an NFHCA current member,” Clark said. “We have over 700 high schools in the country that are members.”

Neither Mechanicsburg nor Boiling Springs saw any of its players on the list. The Bubblers aren’t members of the NFHCA. They went on to win both the 2022 PIAA Class 1A Championship and Pennsylvania’s District 3 Class 1A Championship.

Mechanicsburg won its first state title for both the field hockey program and the entire school district.

“We’re recognizing over 8,000 students a year in both athletic and academic awards,” Clark said. “That includes college and high school.”

The association has been around since the 1990s and expanded to include high school and club coaches in 1996. There is 99 percent participation from colleges and universities.

Every year, a few coaches attempt to add a players’ name to a list post-deadline, Clark said. Once the deadline hits, the association works behind-the-scenes to ensure fairness and accuracy.

“We are not flexible with the deadline,” she said. “We have it open for two to three weeks.”

Mechanicsburg, as a member, won’t have any named players to the NFHCA’s All-American list either, which will be published in December. That deadline was also November 1.

“There’s two or three players that definitely deserve to be on those lists,” Brown said. “I will talk to them personally about it and accept full responsibility. At this point, I’ll really concentrate on the All-State List for the Pennsylvania High School Field Hockey Coaches Association. Hopefully they will forgive me and hopefully they can embrace what we did this season and look past this mistake made by me.”

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