Catonsville High's Jenn Nonn named female co-athlete of year

On the soccer field, Catonsville junior Jenn Nonn led the team in scoring and the Comets had the best season in school history.

On the lacrosse turf, she led Catonsville in ground balls and draw controls, and the Comets reached the state championship game.

Although both teams lost in the state finals, Nonn’s coaches knew she was a huge reason for their success.

Her role in three sports, including basketball, helped her become the 2014 Catonsville Times Female Co-Athlete of the Year, sharing the honor with classmate Lauren McDonald.

Nonn is the younger sister of Jessica Nonn, who won the Times Athlete of the Year awards in 2007 and 2008 before going having an outstanding lacrosse career at Virginia Tech.

Jenn Nonn will also continue her lacrosse career in Virginia, but she will play at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Nonn will play college for coach Jen Kasper O’Brien at VCU.

Catonsville girls lacrosse coach Becky Clipp Cassilly was excited to know she will play for her friend and former UMBC standout O’Brien.

“I told her (O’Brien), ‘You want this kid, she is going to be awesome.’” Cassilly said.

Nonn was dominant in the center circle, leading the team in draw controls (105) and ground balls (26) while contributing 26 goals and 11 assists.

Nonn had the task of taking the draws while replacing Deb Milani, who graduated and played for the 2014 national champion University of Maryland women’s lacrosse team.

In addition to her vocal leadership and relentless hustle on ground balls, she also did several other things to make the team successful.

“I don’t think she realizes all the little things she does to help the team,” Cassilly said. “She is a gritty player who would do anything to get the ball and do anything to help the team win.”

Her coaches never had to yell to motivate her.

“Jenn is a tough girl and she works hard and she is probably her own worst critic,” Cassilly said.

She was also very aware that the Comets had championship potential despite losing four of five games during one stretch.

“Becky wanted to load our schedule with good teams because she knew we were going to be good and we are good, but we are just getting used to each other,” said Nonn after a 19-5 shellacking of Sparrows Point that starting them on a streak of seven wins in the next eight games. “Becky kept telling us who cares about our record before, like this is our journey. This is our road to states and we area hoping that it is and we are all trying our hardest now.”

Nonn was even tougher on the soccer field, where she led the 18-2 squad with 21 goals and 12 assists.

She proved her toughness during the 4-0 triumph over Sherwood in the Class 4A North Region semifinals.

After going down hard with a hip injury, she was forced to the bench and laid on the sidelines on the cold turf at Comet Park.

But when the team needed to let their coach celebrate the region title after the game, Nonn was there with an assist.

She limped over and doused the coach with a Gatorade jug of water.

Nonn recovered quickly from the hip injury and had two assists in the Comets’ 5-0 win over Eleanor Roosevelt in the Class 4A state semifinals.

That win, the team’s 17th in a row, sent them to the state championship game, which they lost to Walt Whitman, 2-0.

Against Roosevelt, Nonn saw something in the first half that would work and she drew up a play for teammate Renee Gast on the sidelines.

Five minutes into the second half, Nonn fed Gast for the goal that broke a scoreless tie and started a five-goal second-half onslaught.

“What I told her to do is what she did and she scored off of it,” Nonn said.

In the state championship against Whitman, the game was scoreless until eight minutes left in regulation.
Nonn knew they were so close to the school’s first state title in soccer, but will have to work harder to get over the final hurdle next year.

When asked in the post game conference about the team’s chances to get to the title game again, Nonn didn’t hesitate.

“I’m thinking about it right now,” she responded.

Although Fitzpatrick, who retired from coaching, won’t be on the sidelines to guide them, the coach will never forget the three seasons he had with the varsity standout, who has 68 career goals.

“Even when teams would focus on her, she would still score,” Fitzpatrick said. “There was no doubt she knew what to do and when to do it.”

While nursing a 2-1 victory over Sparrows Point in the Baltimore County championship game, Nonn effectively stalled the ball by keeping possession in the waning moments.

Nonn took the ball to the corner and passed when pressured, or hit the ball off a Pointer defender to retain possession.

“She understands the game so well,” Fitzpatrick said.

Dulaney coach Steve Power tried to gear his defense on shutting down Nonn and Renee Gast (15 goals, 9 assists) and it nearly worked in the regional quarterfinals, but the Comets got two second-half goals and erased a 1-0 deficit in a 2-1 win.

“Nonn is incredible and Gast is the one that hurt us last time,” Power said.

While Nonn starred in soccer and lacrosse, she was a reserve guard for coach Mike Mohler’s 22-4 basketball team that lost in the regional finals.

Mohler appreciated that she would play an understudy role on the basketball court.

“It’s not easy for some kids to handle that,” Mohler said. “She is a really good athlete and even though other sports took precedent, when you have good athlete who can make practice better every day it makes the team better.”

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