Quiet leader for Cavs
McTavish looks to showcase diverse skill set honed by playing multiple sports
Whether a young athlete should focus on one sport or play multiple ones has been hotly debated for years.
In Carroll County, many students are fortunate to play two, sometimes even three, sports within a school year. South Carroll’s Shannon McTavish, for example, has used her skills in field hockey, basketball and lacrosse to build an impressive athletics resume on the field and as a locker room leader.
Now entering her senior lacrosse season, the Mount St. Mary’s commit looks to end her high school career with a second straight first-team all-county selection and another deep playoff run for the Cavaliers.
Equipped with the skills and abilities she takes from all three sports, McTavish is one of the area’s most talented lacrosse players heading into the 2023 season.
“It’s a lot playing all three sports,” she said. “I’m used to it, so now it’s about lacrosse season and going for states this year.”
Last season, the midfielder filled up the score sheet with 41 goals, 27 assists, 36 ground balls, 14 caused turnovers and 108 draw controls.
After a summer of training in 2022, she started her senior year with second-team all-county honors in field hockey for the Cavaliers, helping lead them to the Class 1A state championship game.
Then she earned second-team all-county honors in basketball, finishing top 10 in the county in points and rebounds.
Playing basketball helps her pick up concepts quicker in other sports.
“If we run a zone, I think she kind of sees the field a little bit more and is able to talk and get those shifts,” McTavish’s lacrosse coach and sister Brigid Scanlon said. “Shannon and my other basketball players are able to see it right away while other players may struggle a bit.”
Off the field, playing multiple sports has allowed McTavish to form bonds with teammates that create a close-knit locker room.
“There’s a group of girls that play all three sports,” McTavish said. “So we’re always together, it allows us to form a connection and it makes it easier to play with each other.”
Scanlon says that bond has enabled her sister to take on a bigger leadership role the past two years.
“I would describe her more as a quiet leader. Her actions on the
field definitely make other athletes want to follow her,” Scanlon said. “When she does speak up, she has great thoughts and she definitely knows what to say.”
Playing three sports a school year is one thing; being named one of the top players in the area at each one is another.
McTavish’s father, Tim, says he isn’t surprised by her success.
“Watching her brothers and sisters, she’s been dragged around so many sporting events her entire life,” he said. “She’s just been able to take things from every sport and apply it to herself and her abilities as a player.”
Tim, who has coached all of his children in multiple sports, insisted that Shannon widen her perspective athletically as a youth. He felt her development as a player was better served with the advantages of a more diverse workload.
“I would just keep my children
doing different things, doing different sports,” Tim said. “It didn’t matter if they were better at one than the other, it was still good to just take a break for a little bit, play another sport and then just reset, refresh and get back at it.”
The overall athleticism she gained from that diversity will help her adjust to college lacrosse, those who know her say.
“She’s very fluent. At the next level being able to use your right and left hand left in hand is a huge thing,” Scanlon said. “Coaches are always looking for a versatile player that they could take and put on attack or defense. I think you could do either of those things with her.”
McTavish is excited about her future at Mount St. Mary’s, where she’ll be another in the family suiting up for the Mountaineers.
Scanlon played lacrosse for the Mount and her grandfather Jack Sullivan is considered one of the greatest basketball players in school history.
“I went on a visit there and I love the coaches,” Shannon said. “They’re great and it’s close to home, and I don’t want to go far away. So it was just a good spot for me.”
Before she heads to Emmitsburg, McTavish has one more stretch of games left in a South Carroll uniform. With field hockey and basketball behind her, McTavish is ready for her grand finale, heading into the 2023 lacrosse season extremely confident.
“I’m definitely looking forward to this season, McTavish said. “We have players that have gotten better and have a higher lacrosse IQ, so I know we’re going to be better than we were last year.”