Senior Spotlight: Preseason trip provided lasting memories for Division I-bound USC midfielder

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Sunday, May 31, 2020 | 7:01 AM


Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight WPIAL spring athletes whose senior years were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Upper St. Clair girls lacrosse team was able to spend more time together than most in Western Pennsylvania.

There were the typical captains’ practices throughout the offseason, as well as lifting sessions like many other programs.

But it was a preseason trip to Washington, D.C., that provided lasting memories for senior midfielder Lauren Hart and her teammates, who had their season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic before it officially started.

The Panthers spent three days in the nation’s capital, training, sightseeing and, most importantly, bonding. They scrimmaged WT Woodson from Virginia and visited some of the city’s landmarks.

“It was really fun,” said Hart, a senior captain. “We toured the Capitol building, walked the mall. George Washington (University) offers this ropes course, so we did that. That was pretty fun. And then we did our scrimmage. That was definitely good competition. Virginia is pretty good competition. It was a good trip.”

For Hart, it was the final lacrosse competition of a decorated high school career.

A four-year letter winner, she was an all-section and All-WPIAL selection last season when the Panthers were WPIAL Class AAA runners-up to Shady Side Academy. She finished her career with 105 goals.

A two-time selection to play in the U.S. Lacrosse national tournament, she will continue her lacrosse career at NCAA Division I California-Davis next fall.

How have you been keeping busy during the coronavirus pandemic?

I’m a pretty active person. I’ve been trying my best to stay in shape and stay active. I’ve been running. Our high school trainer has offered Zoom workouts for all the athletes so I’ve been doing those like three times a week. And also trying to keep up with my friends, FaceTiming them. My (older) brothers are home so I’ve had this time to spend with them, which is nice. I’ve also been watching TV and painting and doing schoolwork.

Have you been doing any lacrosse activities?

I usually do wall ball for like an hour a day or more if I’m really bored. My neighbor, I’ve been coaching her in lacrosse a little bit, so that’s been keeping me active and keeping my head in the game with drills.

If there was a lacrosse season, what were you hoping to accomplish personally and as a team?

We had a pretty successful season last year. I was really looking forward to trying to win the WPIAL championship this year and the section too. Individually, I was hoping to reach over 200 career goals. I also wanted to make the team more of a family atmosphere, encourage people to ask questions if they’re confused. I felt like that kind of environment would help us be a winning team on and off the field.

Why did you decide on UC Davis?

I was looking at a lot of schools out west because I went on vacation there a few years ago and just fell in love with the environment and culture out there. I wanted to find a good academic school where I could also play Division I lacrosse so I reached out to a couple schools. They liked how I played, so I went for a visit and did their camp. And I just fell in love with the campus and the coaches, and it all worked out.

What do you plan to study?

I’m undecided right now. I’ve been doing some career research because I have a lot more time on my hands. I’m thinking nursing or something in biology.

When will you report to campus?

Sept. 20, so it’s a late start.

What do you like most about lacrosse?

It’s a wonderful community of women supporting each other and pushing each other to be the best athletes they can. Also, it’s a real fast-paced sport so it tests you physically and mentally. I’m always learning new things. There’s no one technique to it; it’s always evolving. I love that about it. It’s also a team sport; you can’t win a game by scoring every goal. It’s cool how you have to look for each other. Some of my best moments are when the team has successfully transitioned the ball downfield and made a really pretty goal.

What are some of the other activities you were involved with at Upper St. Clair?

I also run cross country in the fall. Our team went to states, which was the first time in Upper St. Clair history, so that was pretty cool. I’m also in student council, leadership academy and National Honor Society.

What was your reaction like when you found out you wouldn’t be returning to school this spring?

I was definitely pretty upset. I wish I savored that day we found out. I was more upset about losing lacrosse season because it was senior season and we had a really good opportunity to be amazing. I had a few mental breakdowns just trying to cope with it. I feel like I’m finally at peace with it. I know it’s for the best for society.

What have you missed most during this quarantine period?

Hanging with my friends and getting to have a good laugh with them. I still do that over FaceTime, but it’s not the same. Probably going out to eat, going to the mall, just regular, normal stuff.

What has been your favorite show to binge watch?

Quite a few. “All-American,” I finished that in about two weeks. Also, I’ve been re-watching “The Office,” and also “Outer Banks.”

If you could have dinner with any three celebrities, who would they be?

Russell Wilson. I really admire him as an athlete and just how he is not only a player on the field, but off the field he helps out with this community a lot. And then, Serena Williams. I admire her hustle and grit as a female athlete and in general. And Mr. Rogers. I feel like he’d be someone cool. I watched the movie about him. He seems like has really good advice and is really calming.

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.

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