Friends since they started playing lacrosse together at age five, 2013 Catonsville graduates Deb Milani and Maddie Hunt will be forever linked as a pair of athletes whose talent in three sports was matched by their extremely competitive desire to win.
The pair, who made winning lots of games for four years more than a habit, will now be entwined together as the Catonsville Times Co-Athletes of the Year.
Both of them will continue playing lacrosse in college at programs that are at opposite ends of the country.
Milani will join a University of Maryland women’s team that has a history of success and came within an overtime loss to North Carolina this past spring of winning its 11th national championship.
Hunt will be part of history as a freshman for the first-year girls lacrosse program at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
They are both eagerly looking forward to playing at the next level.
“I’m just excited, and to be pushed to be the best that I can be and be playing with the best players in the country is great,” said Milani, who carried a 4.6 weighted grape point average into her final senior season.
Hunt, who had a 4.33 weight GPA and scored 1790 on her SATs, always wanted to travel for college.
“I love Catonsville and I think I’ll come back here, but I’ve always wanted to go out and meet new people and start somewhere different,” she said.
They left their mark behind on an elite lacrosse Comet program that went 33-5 and reached the state semifinals the past two seasons.
Milani, who was named Times Co-Athlete of the Year along with Rachel Schwaab in 2012, led the 16-3 Comets in points this past season (94 goals, 29 assists), draw controls (129) and ground balls (46).
Last year, the junior midfielder was one of 12 athletes, and the only one from Baltimore County, named to the Greater Baltimore area US Lacrosse All-American First Team.
This spring, she was one of 44 seniors selected for the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse team and was the only public school player from Baltimore County selected for the 22-player roster.
“She stepped up as a leader this year and she made the people around her better,” said Catonsville coach Becky Clipp, who was a Second Team All-American at the University of Maryland and a Catonsville High graduate.
“She has the total package and she can do anything. She can change the game by herself,” said Clipp, the Catonsville Times Athlete of the Year in 2003.
According to Milani, Clipp was ‘probably’ the toughest coach on her ‘because she knows me so well and what I’m capable of and she knows when I’m not living up to my potential.”
It was extremely rare for Milani, who scored 93 goals and had 121 draw controls for the 17-2 Comets as a junior, not to live up to her potential.
It was her shot, while being triple-teamed, that nearly won the Comets their second straight Baltimore County championship against Hereford, but it caromed off the top of the post and the Bulls scored at the other end for a 13-12 win.
“That was the worst thing ever, and then it went so far off and they got the rebound and went down and scored,” she said.
Hunt was the top defender for that squad that won its second consecutive regional crown in the spring.