Pupo is first to win new honor for field hockey

Sentinel photo by JEFF FISHBEIN
Marcella Pupo • Tish Maclay Award

LEWISTOWN — There are firsts for everything and Marcella Pupo can certainly relate as she was the inaugural winner of the Tish Maclay Field Hockey Award Wednesday night.

Selena Brenneman was runner-up while Emily Shilling finished third in the voting, respectively.

“It’s definitely rewarding,” Pupo said. “I love the sport of field hockey. It’s a big part of who I am and so it was really good feeling to get that award.”

The field hockey team arguably had the most success out of Mifflin County’s fall sports teams, putting together a seven-game winning streak and finishing 13-5-1 with a loss to State College in the District 6 Class 6A championship game.

It’s something that she hasn’t forgotten about.

“I’m most proud of how we’ve come together as a team,” Pupo said. “I’m big on team play and helping others out, and I feel like this year, we definitely did. Hard work pays off and although we didn’t win the district title, we were very close. I’m very proud of my team and everything we accomplished this year.

“That district game will always stick with me,” she continued. “Coming down to the last seconds, I made a goal and it didn’t count. Taking a shot and the corner in the last seconds is something that will stay with me. I can visualize that whole game and play it over in my head and think about how it went over with my team.”

Prior to the announcement Mifflin County athletic director Maclay — for whom the award is named after — spoke to the audience before presenting Pupo.

Both Pupo and Maclay were humbled by the recognition, and what makes it even more special to Pupo is she played for Maclay her freshman year and remained close to her over the last three years.

“She definitely had a big impact on me playing field hockey here,” Pupo said. “It’s definitely special to me to be picked … to have this award.”

Maclay spoke about the hardships that came with building not only a varsity field hockey team but establishing the sport at youth levels to make the program what it has become today and ensuring player like Pupo keep representing Mifflin County.

“It was a long battle to establish a successful field hockey program here at Mifflin County,” Maclay said in her opening speech. “I know some of you are looking at some of our teams now and thinking ‘man, they didn’t win a game all season.’ Well, I can tell you for a fact, that was us. We didn’t win a game I think for our first two years and in our third year, we maybe won one game. In the fourth year, we won a district championship.”

The Tish Maclay Outstanding Field Hockey Award is presented by the school’s field hockey boosters to Mifflin County’s top player. Nominees are voted on by local media, including The Sentinel, and representatives of the Mifflin County High School’s athletic department. Each voter chose three candidates, with points awarded to first, second and third-place vote recipients and the award going to the player with the highest vote total.