Gettysburg's Mixell breaking records, leading the charge
When Katelyn Gormley set the Gettysburg High School field hockey record by scoring 30 goals last fall, head coach Janelle Ebaugh thought it would be years before someone broke it.
It would take just one.
Through two games of the District 3 Class 2A tournament, Gettysburg senior Kailey Mixell has already posted 34 goals this season to set the new record. She has also broken the program's record for career goals (71) and for career points (180).
Having coached Mixell the previous three years, Ebaugh knew she was capable of big things. But breaking multiple records established by Gormley — a player considered to be the best scorer the Warriors had seen in years?
"I truly never thought she’d be able to do it this season," Ebaugh said. "We had a really powerful senior class last year that was able to set her up so well. We were scoring double digits on most teams, which was ridiculous. But she’s been scoring goals since she was a freshman, and it's just incredible."
Mixell scored 22 goals as a junior as the Warriors went 18-2 in the regular season and won the YAIAA Division II title. But with Gettysburg's top two passers in Megan Miller and Emily Spangler having both graduated last spring, Mixell has taken a bigger role in creating her own offense this season.
Sure, players like Madi Hirneisen and Maddie Hubbard have helped shoulder some of the team's playmaking and scoring burden. But both her teammates and coach say Mixell has been the one who carried the team to a 16-2-1 record and its first trip past the first round of districts since 2010.
“She’s really fast and we’re usually chasing her but we try to help her out when we can," Hirneisen said. "It’s really awesome playing with her she has great vision on the field."
Added Ebaugh: "In a lot of games it was Kailey’s two goals that helped us. It wasn't the 10-0 game where she got four or five like last season. She provides as many goals for other people as she’s scored this season which is incredible."
Like most star players, Mixell credits her teammates with her success. But she won't lie. Breaking the goal-scoring record meant a lot to her.
As a sophomore in 2014, Mixell watched as Sydney Tomassini set the school's single-season goal record with 25. When Gorley set her own mark the following season, Mixell spent the offseason working on her skills so she could also top it.
"I’ve always wanted to beat this record, watching someone break it every year added more pressure," Mixell said. "But it makes me want to work harder. I had a mindset about trying to score a certain amount of goals each game and I had my teammates there to help me finish."
Ebaugh praised Mixell for improving her stick skills and ability to maneuver past multiple defenders this season, but said that the forward's top qualities are her determination and leadership.
During the team's opening round District 3 playoff game against Susquehannock, Gettysburg was two players down in the second half when Mixell took the ball the length of the field for a spectacular goal. The play helped the team clinch a 5-1 win.
"When everybody else is feeling low, she’s thinking, ‘What can I do? What is there that I can personally do to help the team?'" Ebaugh said. "She can beat two, beat three and if it’s just her and the keeper, chances are she’s going to put it in the cage."
With the Warriors pushing to make the PIAA playoffs, Mixell's record-setting season isn't over. The fifth-seeded Warriors are now in the consolation round of the District 3 tournament after losing to Manheim Central, 5-1, on Saturday. The district sends its top six teams to states.
And while Mixell hopes the goals keep coming, she's also chasing some more wins.
"We’re a team and not only can we finish, we have a great defense and midfield that helps us score," Mixell said. "My goal is just keep on scoring and go far with my team.”