Taking on challenges isn’t new for Bel Air’s Farley
Senior is preparing to play two sports at Georgetown
In crunch time, Bel Air’s Anna Farley wants the ball. That never was more evident than in last year’s Class 3A playoffs.
When most expected the sub-.500 Bobcats to make an early postseason exit, the center midfielder put the team on her back, scoring seven goals in five games, including both in a 2-1 win over Westminster in the state final to give the Harford County team its first championship in 38 years.
“It’s just that fire I have that I want to score and get to the next game, especially in states,” Farley said. “I definitely want what’s best for the team, but when we’re in tight situations and we need a goal, you just have to turn it on sometimes.”
Now, as she enters her senior year, Farley is preparing to turn to a new challenge: playing Division I field hockey and lacrosse at Georgetown.
It’s an exceptionally rare feat. Although colleges don’t submit exact numbers, the NCAA, based on separate studies, estimates that 0.5 percent of Division I athletes play two sports (excluding cross country and track).
In doing so, Farley will become just the fourth two-sport female athlete at Georgetown, and the first since 2013-14.
Even if they’re talented enough to play more than one sport, most athletes shy away from the challenge because of the daunting time and training commitments that come with competing for most of the year at the highest college level.
Those who know her, however, believe Farley can succeed.
“I feel like if anyone was going to succeed at the Division I level and be able to take on two sports like that, it would be her,” Bel Air lacrosse coach Kristen Barry said. “She just always has had a maturity in both her game and her presence. She has this toughness and this fire in her eyes.”
Farley has been playing lacrosse since her earliest days, and took up field hockey around sixth grade after switching from soccer.
“I’ve been dealing with playing two sports year-round and school for most of my high school career,” she said. “I’m definitely used to it, but at the caliber of Georgetown it’s definitely going to be a challenge. I’m up to trying it.”
She’s already accomplished nearly everything possible at the high school level.
Farley is a two-time member of the Baltimore Sun Media Group’s All-Harford girls lacrosse team, helping lead the Bobcats to the state title game in 2015 and competing on the powerful Sky Walkers club team. It was last field hockey season, however, when she truly arrived.
The junior scored a career-high 24 goals to earn All-Metro first-team honors, and was selected for USA Field Hockey’s Under-19 National Futures Championship, which takes the top 12 percent of players who participate in the organization’s Futures program.
“Field hockey for her looks effortless,” Bobcats coach Emily Gryglewski said. “The skill that makes her so good is her patience and the way she handles herself when she has the ball. It’s her knowledge of the sport. She knows where that ball needs to go. She already knows what her second and third step is going to be after she receives that ball.”
Part of that is her lineage. Her parents, Scott and Rachel Farley, played sports in high school, and her older brother Will played soccer and lacrosse at Bel Air before graduating in 2012.
Anna spurned two-sport offers from Penn and Boston College to attend Georgetown, in part because of the school’s business program. She maintains a weighted 4.1 GPA in Bel Air’s biomedical sciences program.
Barry, also a teacher in that program, learned quickly just how competitive Farley can be.
“I remember handing a quiz back to her,” Barry recalled. “She got a 24 out of 25, which most students would be very happy with, but she just groaned and rolled her eyes. She was so upset that she missed one point. I can tell you from being on the field that when she messes up, you’d better watch out.”
Her coaches describe Farley as a quiet, confident leader. Not necessarily the type to deliver inspirational speeches in the huddle, she motivates teammates by example.
“She brings out the best in her players,” said Gryglewski, herself a former Division III field hockey player at Christopher Newport. “She instills confidence in them, so that they can play up at her level.”
Said Barry: “She’s not satisfied with being average. She wants to be the best.”
Center midfielder Anna Farley, shooting recently in practice, led Bel Air last season to its first field hockey championship in 38 years.