Tak­ing on chal­lenges isn’t new for Bel Air’s Far­ley

Se­nior is pre­par­ing to play two sports at Ge­orge­town

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Rich Scherr

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.”

BRIAN KRISTA/BALTIMORE SUN ME­DIA GROUP

Cen­ter mid­fielder Anna Far­ley, shoot­ing re­cently in prac­tice, led Bel Air last sea­son to its first field hockey cham­pi­onship in 38 years.

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