Female Athlete of the Year: Maura McDonnell, Green Hope

mblake@newsobserver.comJune 12, 2013 

It’s not enough to say Maura McDonnell is the Female Athlete of the Year because she played four sports this season. She did, but she was also great at all four.

In fall, she was third in the 4A cross country state championship. In winter, she won an indoor track title in the 1,600 meters.

In spring, she was among the Triangle leaders in assists – and Green Hope’s all-time leader in the category – while starting for the No. 1 girls’ soccer team in the country. She was also running outdoor track in spring, where she was a state qualifier in the 800 and 4-by-800 relays.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Mo standing still,” said Green Hope Athletic Director Wayne Bragg. “I roam around after school, checking facilities, watching games or practices, and I’d always see Mo.

“I’d see her on the track now and at soccer practice later. I’d see her running right after school, and I’d see her still running an hour later.”

Or I’d see her changing from running shoes to cleats or running from one practice to the next.”

McDonnell did all that and maintained a 3.8 overall GPA, with very few days of being overwhelmed and wondering why she subjected herself to such demands.

Looking back, it seems like a pretty normal high school career to her.

“If I could do it all over again, I would,” McDonnell said. “I missed out on a few things – mostly social things – but nothing to compare with what I got to do.”

Whenever she felt overwhelmed, her distance-training mentality kicked in, she said. She decided she needed to take one step at a time, just as she does while running on a trail, an indoor track, an outdoor track or a soccer field. She couldn’t do it all at one time, but she could keep taking the next step.

McDonnell was a leader on five team state championships: four in cross country, one in soccer.

She will run cross country and track at East Carolina next year.

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