Lakeland Field Hockey Captains Celebrate State Titles

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Lakeland captains, from left, Gianna Bensaia, Rebeeca Bard and Kristen Conroy with assistant coach Jenna Wenkl, left, and coach Sharon Sarsen, right. The captains played on the four consecutive Lakeland state-champion teams from 2009-12. Photo Credit: Tony Pinciaro

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Lakeland seniors and captains Rebecca Bard, Gianna Bensaia and Kristen Conroy could not contain their enthusiasm during the post-game awards ceremony at the New York State Field Hockey Class B Championships Sunday.

The talented and veteran trio were trying to remain patient, with smiles on their faces, as Section 1 field hockey Chair Sue Hughes prepared to award the state championship plaque to Bard, Bensaia and Conroy. Once Hughes called them up, the senior captains let loose with their emotions.

Not only did Bard, Bensaia and Conroy lead Lakeland to history as the only school to win four consecutive state field hockey titles, they are the only members to experience all four.

“I never thought in my four years that I would experience this and to achieve it my senior year, I can’t put into words my feelings,” said Conroy, who will attend Sacred Heart next year and play field hockey.

Bard compared it to a dream.

"I can’t believe it’s real. It is so special," said Bard, who will attend Columbia next year and play field hockey. 

The threesome came up together as freshmen and were on the sideline at Vestal High School in 2009 when then senior Megan Bozek led Lakeland to the first of the four state titles. They were all hoping they could make an impact when they were seniors, and they did.

Bensaia was the best center midfielder in Section 1 and alongside her Conroy  was excellent playing right midfield. Bard was the leader of a defense that allowed nine goals in 22 games, including only one in seven post-season games.

“I was not on the field that much my freshman year so to win it in my senior year is really special,” said Bensaia, who will join Megan Bozek on the University of New Hampshire field hockey team next year. “Even though we came off the field for the final two minutes of the game, we knew that we made an impact on the team.”

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