The atmosphere was rather euphoric for the Whitney Point field hockey players, coaches, and supporters Sunday evening, the Golden Eagles having just ended a 15-year state-title drought with a 1-0 victory over Carle Place in the state Class C title game at Maine-Endwell High School.
For sisters Rachael, Hannah, and Elaina Burchell, however, the occasion also carried with it a tinge of sadness, for Sunday’s title victory likely marked the last time the three siblings would play together on the same field. Rachael, a senior, will play collegiately at the University of Massachusetts next season.
The three had played together on Whitney Point’s varsity since Elaina was called up late during the 2012 season. All of them have been significant contributors to a Golden Eagles program that, in addition to this year’s state title, had also reached the state Class C semifinals last season.
“It was definitely emotional,” said Rachael, an All-State midfielder. “Once we got to the Final Four, I was thinking about it more seriously knowing that whole week it was my last few practices with my sisters at the high school level.”
Despite their different grade levels — Hannah is a junior and Elaina is a freshman — all three from their accounts began playing field hockey right around the same time. During the offseason, their father Anthony would put a carpet down on the pavement, the girls trying to score on one another into a cage built by their grandfather.
The sisters are close, though like most siblings, the Burchells are prone to the occasional blowups with each other.
But knowing this season carried added significance with their time together growing shorter, they all made a vow to each other.
“We did butt heads, get in little arguments from time to time,” Hannah said. “But we decided to see the good in everything, and not hold things against each other because it was our last year.”
On the field, their ability to work together was an integral part in WP’s success. Rachael and Hannah had both been firmly established on the varsity team for several seasons when Elaina was called up late that 2012 season.
“It’s been really good and I was glad to have both of them up there,” Elaina said. “When I first came up, I had no idea what I was doing.
“They both showed me that you had to give it my all. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”
Hannah and Elaina will still be together next season, part of a WP team that figures to again be a threat for a state title. And who knows if there won’t be another on-the-field reunion for all three in the near future, as Hannah has verbally committed to UMass and Elaina figures to garner serious attention from colleges in the coming years.
That said, things will be a little unfamiliar next August, though, when WP hits the field for that first varsity field hockey practice.
“It’s going to be different, ever since I was here I had those five core seniors who I looked up to,” said Hannah, referencing her sister Rachael as well as teammates Taylor Clink, Brianna Sturdevant, Courtney Dunham and Johanna Sinclair. “Now I will have to be one of the girls to (keep the younger players going).”
Majewski a first for JC
Over the last four seasons, Johnson City boys lacrosse player Shane Majewski has caused numerous headaches for opposing defenses.
Now the Wildcats senior will hope to do the same at the Division I college level. Majewski earlier this week announced that he will be playing collegiately at Robert Morris, making him the first JC lacrosse player to receive a Division I scholarship.
“I really didn’t think about it,” said Majewski of the distinction. “I just wanted to find the best place where I fit. I felt Robert Morris would be the best place to be for the next four years. … I wanted to (have) the Division I experience at a smaller school.”
An attacker, Majewski has tallied 239 goals and 96 assists in his four varsity seasons with JC. He helped lead JC to back-to-back Section 4 Class C titles in 2012-13. Robert Morris is a member of the Northeast Conference.
“It’s nice to know, with all my peers talking about applying to colleges and what not, that I have a home for next year,” Majewski said.