At a recent Holy Child lacrosse away game, an entire section of the crowd was cheering non-stop for Maggie Welsh.
By Melanie Cane
At a recent Holy Child lacrosse away game, an entire section of the crowd was cheering non-stop for Maggie Welsh. I turned to the crowd and asked which fans were her parents, because I wanted to speak with them. In unison, they said, “None of us, but we all love Maggie.” That strong affection for Maggie Welsh extends throughout the Holy Child community and beyond… and it is mutual. Holy Child’s Athletic Director Amy Pare summed up the reason for such unanimous affection. “On the field or court, Maggie is fearless. She is an extremely hard-worker, tenacious, and loves a good challenge. Not only is Maggie an incredible athlete, but she’s also an incredible individual.
Maggie is dedicated to our athletic program, very respectful to everyone and she always “sees the bigger picture” in every situation.”
A senior at Holy Child, Welsh has been a three-letter starting Varsity player since she was a freshman. She also played JV lacrosse for Rye High as an eighth grader at Rye Middle School. Her love of sports began at a very early age, when, as the youngest of four siblings, she played with her older sister and two brothers in the backyard constantly. She started playing CYO basketball, Rye youth soccer and Rye youth lacrosse in the third grade. Her mother, Libby, recounted a story about her from early on. “When Maggie was two and her brother Charlie was four, he put his arm around her and told the other kids she could play football with them, but nobody was allowed to tackle her.”
Welsh internalized the care taking and mentoring she received as the youngest child and translated it into a desire to look out for her younger teammates in the same way. As a two-year captain on Holy Child’s soccer team and a senior captain on basketball and lacrosse, she said she loves to be in a position of leadership because she teaches the younger players how to be their best, which sets a path for their future.
Soccer coach Beau Morki calls Welsh a natural leader. “During our Varsity Soccer NYSAIS State Championship win, Maggie put the team on her shoulders and led us to victory.” Basketball coach Mike Duignan said, “Maggie is always the first to encourage a teammate who needs a lift. She is also not shy about telling teammates when to ‘Pick it up! We can do this!’ She is a player who will always step up if needed, or take a step back and allow a teammate to demonstrate their strength when it’s best for the team. She leads in many ways.”
Welsh said her favorite sport is lacrosse because it’s her best. “And I like that as a midfielder, I get to connect with everyone on the field. I love the fast pace and transitioning is fun and exciting.”
Testimony to her superb lacrosse skills are the many awards she has earned. And testimony to her character is that she had to ask her athletic director if she had won any awards when asked if she had. She was a 2012 and 2013 New England Prep School girls’ lacrosse All Star, FAA All League in 2013, and as of now, she is the 5th all-time scorer and 3rd in all-time assists at Holy Child.
As Mike Sliter, her lacrosse coach, put it, “Maggie is not only an excellent athlete (and student), but she has a great understanding of the game. She doesn’t like to lose — even during games in practice. This passion is what makes her one of the best lacrosse players that has ever played at Holy Child.”
Welsh’s inspiration comes from her sister, Kelsey, who played lacrosse at Ursuline. “She taught me to play and I always loved watching her play. I went to all of her games,” said Maggie. Not only do Welsh’s parents attend all of her games, in all three sports, but her dog, Ruby, a black Tibetan Terrier, is the honorary team mascot!
Welsh will be playing lacrosse at Gettysburg College in the fall. Several colleges recruited her, but she chose Gettysburg because, like her first impression of Holy Child, “It felt right.” She loved the campus, the size, the warmth of the students and faculty, the academics, the lacrosse coach and the players. Academically, she’s excited about Gettysburg’s Health Sciences department because she plans to pursue a career in physical therapy. “Since I have had many sports injuries and spent much time in physical therapy, I think I want to be a physical therapist.” She is currently playing with a second ankle injury.
No one doubts that Maggie Welsh will achieve whatever goals she sets for herself. Her mother said she has “always been strong, independent, and committed and has a sense of who she is, what she wants, and where she wants to be.”
Coach Morki said it best. “Maggie is a fine representative of the student body at School of the Holy Child. Smart, genuine, competitive, and passionate are only a few of the words I can use to describe Maggie. Personally, I look forward to Maggie carrying the Holy Child torch into her future.” Athletic Director Amy Pare, echoed his sentiment and added, “Gettysburg College is very lucky to have her on their campus next year.”