11:05 AM EDT, July 5, 2012
When asked what she most appreciated about senior three-sport star Audrey Todd, Roland Park Country School lacrosse coach Kristin Nicolini's reply was brief and to the point.
"Everything," Nicolini said, pointing out that the 2012 Baltimore Messenger Athlete of the Year could do it all on the field — and in the classroom — for the Reds.
Although she is blessed with loads of athletic talent, that alone is not what sets Todd apart from many of her peers.
Her willingness to go the extra mile — literally, at least in one case that will be mentioned later — makes Todd one of a kind, according to the coaches of the Reds' tennis, track and lacrosse teams.
Nicolini readily expounds on her favorite Todd attributes, saying the Roland Park resident headed to Harvard in the fall went "from being a shy freshman to a leader and an amazing lacrosse player. She was our top scorer two years in a row and is one of the most dedicated players I have ever coached. She is definitely the fastest. When we needed a ground ball, she came up with it, when we needed a goal she scored it and when we needed a spreadsheet, she created it."
While the Reds (10-8) were not quite as formidable as they were when they reached the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship game in 2011, with Todd producing 61 goals and 13 assists, rivals could hardly take them lightly, either.
She scored six goals against Notre Dame Prep in a 16-15 loss and matched that output in a 14-10 triumph over St. Paul's School for Girls.
Considering her prowess, Nicolini said that Todd "didn't get much attention" until after her junior year, primarily because she didn't start playing the sport in earnest until her freshman year. Even then, she didn't consider herself to be "the caliber" of her teammates.
Still, she kept honing her skills through hard work.
"I would just go to the field and shoot," she said.
Her tennis game, though, was always fairly strong, enough so that she claimed the A Conference No. 1 singles title as a junior and then was the No. 2 champ as a senior. Her sister, Ava, is the Reds' No. 1 singles player now.
On her way to the No. 2 banner in October, McDonogh's Sarah Fioretti was the only one of her three opponents to win as many as three games against Todd, who shut out Fioretti, 6-0, in the decisive second set to take the match for the four-time team champions.
"She's one of the most talented natural athelete I've ever seen," Roland Park tennis coach Cheryl Lynch said. "She's so quick that she neutralized her opponent's offense. She can do it all."
The best example of what Todd brings to the table was displayed in indoor track last winter.
A natural middle-distance runner recruited by her future teammates to compete on the squad, Todd proved to be an asset in several events for coach Janet Weller.
"When we were testing runners out at different distances, it would be typical for a talented 300-meter runner to grumble about a mile trial, but this girl would toe the line happily at just about any distance," Weller said. "After we finally agreed on which events she would run, we looked forward to seeing how things would go at the first meet. She became one of the first of our team to qualify for championships in an individual event that day and ably contributed to our regular-season relay efforts at two distances."
Todd said that her best result came in the mile when she turned in a personal-best 5:42, shaving six seconds from an earlier attempt.
"When I ran it again, a month into the season, I just felt way more natural," she said.
According to her coach, Todd's mile relay when she was ill during exam week was most notable for her perseverance.
"Looking pale as a ghost with fatigue, and despite how awful she felt, she still completed her leg in just a little over six minutes," she said. "Though it was far from what she had hoped to run, the effort was still astounding."