WINSLOW — The Skowhegan Area High School and Winslow High School field hockey teams are not rivals. But they should be.

Winslow is the defending Class B state champion. The Black Raiders are always in the hunt for the Class B North crown, and have eight state championships since 1993. Winslow’s 1998 state championship team didn’t allow a goal.

Skowhegan is the defending Class A state champion and has won 19 consecutive regional titles. Nobody on Skowhegan’s roster was alive the last time the team did not play for a state championship. Skowhegan has a monopoly on regional titles.

Skowhegan and Winslow are 20 miles apart, give or take a mile. Due to an overwhelming desire to schedule in Class (Heal points, the standard by which playoff seeds are set, are gold), Skowhegan and Winslow rarely play anything more than exhibition games. With the COVID-19 pandemic, though, regional scheduling is not only encouraged, it’s mandatory. With no playoffs this season, Heal points are valueless. So we get the game between defending state champions, a game that should be a rivalry.

“I thought it was cool to have championship teams playing,” Winslow co-captain Karlie Ramsdell said.

Tuesday afternoon’s game was everything you could expect in a game between two top-notch teams. Skowhegan took a 2-1 win, overcoming an early Winslow lead.

“We look forward to these type of games, where there’s always a lot of action, high intensity, and overall a good game,” Skowhegan co-captain Hannah McKenney said.

In a normal regular season, Skowhegan can count the number of close games it plays on one hand, usually with a finger or two to spare. McKenney and fellow senior and co-captain Mariah Whittemore have played Winslow in exhibition games and scrimmages. They knew what to expect from the Black Raiders.

“They’re always an amazing team to play. They’re always a hard team to play with. You know coming into this game, they’re going to give you their all and you just have to give them your all,” Whittemore said.

Winslow’s Karlie Ramsdell, left, chases after the ball with Skowhegan defenders Tuesday in Winslow. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Skowhegan took the lead with 5:25 to play in the third quarter (they played four 15-minute quarters, with the break between each used to sanitize). Norie Tibbetts scored from a scrum in front of Winslow’s cage. Skowhegan knotted the game at 1-1 with no time left in the first half, when Laney Leblanc scored on a penalty corner.

Winslow took an early 1-0 lead on a Bodhi Littlefield goal. Littlefield’s shot is the physical manifestation of her imposed will. Littlefield, who will join older sister Weslee on the field hockey team at Division I Ohio University next year, welcomed the tough test Skowhegan brought.

“It’s always good competition. It’s always a great game,” Littlefield said. “We respect Skowhegan. We always want to see how they’re doing.”

For young teams that hope the 2020 season is but a blip, and they’ll be playing for championships again in 2021, this game was a chance to play a great team and learn from it.

“This is a big learning year for them, especially with all the younger kids we have,” Whittemore said. “Us having that calm attitude is bringing that to the younger kids.”

The Winslow-Skowhegan rematch is scheduled for Oct. 20 at Skowhegan. Let’s all do our best to stay healthy so the season can get to that point. Skowhegan and Winslow is not a rivalry, but it could be.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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