McLaughlin ready for next step at St. Joe’s

Lizzie McLaughlin will continue her lacrosse career at St. Joe’s University. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Lizzie McLaughlin came into high school a novice lacrosse player.

Three years later, she’s headed to a Division I program to continue her career.

McLaughlin is heading into her senior year at Penn Charter High School, and before she arrived at the school, she knew very little about lacrosse.

Sure, she was a star on the basketball court and the track, but she certainly wasn’t a top prospect in lacrosse. In fact, she struggled to do anything in the spring sport before she got to Penn Charter.

“I didn’t like it, I went to a few practices, but I didn’t have a lot of time to learn it because I was playing everything else,” said McLaughlin, who lives in Torresdale. “I was playing basketball and running track, I tried it, but I didn’t spend a lot of time on it.”

She started playing at Penn Charter, and after last week, she’ll be spending a lot more time playing.

McLaughlin committed to St. Joseph’s University to continue her lacrosse career after she graduates from high school in the spring.

This isn’t what she expected when she got to Penn Charter, but it’s been a great run that included her playing with and against the best talent in the area and beyond.

“I loved St. Joe’s, when I visited, it just felt like home,” McLaughlin said. “I’ve been going there my whole life for basketball games because (Katie Gardler) is my mom’s best friend and she played (basketball) there and then she was the coach there, so I would go to see Aunt Kate coach. It felt like home, and I love everything about it.”

McLaughlin knew right from the start she loved her college.

It wasn’t the same when it came to her high school, but that has certainly changed.

Like most of the kids in her neighborhood, she was looking at going to Archbishop Ryan or St. Hubert, and that’s exactly what she wanted. But she is happy with her decision to go to the Inter-Ac school.

Not only has it helped her with her studies, but it’s been a great place for her to hone her skills on the field and the track.

“I love Penn Charter, I go there all the time in the summer to work out and take classes,” McLaughlin said. “I’m so glad I decided to go there. It’s a great school, and I love everyone there. It has definitely been the right choice for me. It’s been perfect.”

It’s also helped her decide on her new favorite sport, lacrosse.

Growing up, she was a star basketball player, and she contributed greatly to the Quakers’ success when she was a sophomore. But last year, she decided to give up the winter sport to run indoor track.

Not only was track a sport she has excelled at since she was in grade school, but it helped put her in better shape for lacrosse.

“I went out for lacrosse because a lot of my friends were doing it and after I got there, I really liked it, the coach made it a lot of fun and I love it now,” McLaughlin said. “I love everything about it.

“I love playing on this team because there are so many great players. And so many great players in the league. We play against some of the best players in the country. Last year, we beat Episcopal Academy and they were one of the top-ranked teams in the country. We came in third, but that was a big win.”

McLaughlin has full intentions of helping the Quakers rise to the top of the Inter-Ac during her final season. She hopes to do the same in indoor track and she also plans on giving field hockey a chance during her senior season.

She’ll also be busy in other ways.

In December, she’s bound for Seattle for a leadership conference with other high school students. That will help her in life, but it should also help in sports.

“I like to think I’m a good leader, I try to be,” McLaughlin said. “I try to help people. And I’ll try to be a good leader for underclassmen and help them get better.”

That will serve her well when she’s at St. Joe’s playing lacrosse.

It will also serve her well in the classroom.

“I’m not sure what I’m going to major in, but I know I want to work in human resources,” McLaughlin said. “St. Joe’s is a great school, and I really like it there. I’ve been going there my whole life, so I’m really happy to go there.”

And while McLaughlin put in all the work, spent hours working hard to get stronger, faster and better, she realizes she had a lot of help to get her where she is. And she intends to make everyone who helped her proud.

“I’ve had great coaches my whole life,” McLaughlin said. “And I get so much support from my parents. They were both great athletes and they’re both so supportive. They’ve helped me so much. They’re the reason for all I’ve done.”