For three years, Garrison Forest's Julie LeGar has been one of the top defensive midfielders in Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland lacrosse, earning A Conference All-Star status twice.
The senior, who has signed with Maryland, has also contributed 11 goals, five assists and 18 draw controls for the Grizzlies this spring.
LeGar, 18, comes from a family of lacrosse players and followed her mother and older sister, Amanda, a Liberty graduate now playing at Stevenson, into the game. Sister Nicole is a freshman on Garrison Forest varsity.
A veteran of the M&D Lacrosse Club and also a field hockey player for Garrison, LeGar has a 3.8 GPA.
Who was the first person in your family to play lacrosse?
My Aunt Mary [Fetter Semanik]. She's 84. She played lacrosse for the U.S. team for like 10 years and she also played field hockey for the U.S. team for 10 years and she played [lacrosse] with a wooden stick. She's so funny. She can still throw around with our plastic sticks. A couple years ago, she came down [from Philadelphia] and she was like, "Let me see that. This is so easy. You should have played in my day." I think that's where it all started. Then my mom played and then me and my sisters.
When did lacrosse become your passion?
I loved it from the beginning, but I also swam, so in sixth grade, I had to make the choice between swim team or club lacrosse because I would have missed almost all my swim meets for tournaments. Around sixth grade, I started to get really into lacrosse and dedicate pretty much all my time to it.
What do you love about lacrosse?
I love the speed, the finesse and I love that it's a team sport because if you make a mistake, you always have someone there to pick you up. It's hard to pinpoint one thing; I just love everything about it. It's like the perfect combination of teamwork, individual work, speed, skill. I think it's the perfect sport personally, because it's everything mixed together.
What is your role on the Garrison Forest lacrosse team?
I was voted captain again this year and I guess because I'm a senior, I like to think I'm a really good leader and I like to think I'm more mature than my age. So, I can make quick decisions and I've been playing lacrosse for so long I understand the game. I guess you could say I'm a leader on the team, but, at the same time, there's so much I learn from my teammates.
What's your favorite part of the game?
I really, really like when I can hold someone one-on-one when they're trying to drive, because a lot of people think the attack controls where they want to go, but as a defender, I like to make contact and control what the attack does. Being able to stop someone from their original path going to goal is such a pumped up feeling. That's what I love.
Did you once take the draw against your older Amanda in a high school game?
Yeah, we played Liberty and it was against my older sister. I was like, "I know I can beat her," so we lined up and we took the draw. I just jumped as high as I possibly could and I ended up beating her a couple times one-handed on the draw. I actually have a picture and it's her standing there and me all the way up grabbing the ball with the ball in my stick and there's another picture of me running with my tongue out at her, because I won the draw [laughs]. My mom was like, "Oh my gosh, Julie!" I was like, "I'm sorry. I was just so excited," but I won the draw part. She scored, I think, four goals so she won the goals and Liberty won the game.
Now you're playing with your younger sister, so what was it like to play with and against them?
It's a lot better playing with them. I know their weaknesses, but at the same time, if Nicole were ever to beat me, I would be so angry. Playing with her, we just connect. I don't have to look at her to pass. I can just throw it and she's ready. We take the draw against each other in practice, so I never let her beat me. I am very competitive. Both my sisters are like, "You're way too competitive" and I'm like, "I think that's a good thing," but maybe not all the time (laughs).
Why did you decide to play for Maryland?
Maryland was the perfect fit for me because I'm a big homebody and it's only 45 minutes to an hour from home. And it has a bunch of majors and I have no idea what I want to do. The team is such a big family. I know a couple girls on the team and they were so nice. When I went on my visit, they all acted like we were best friends, and the atmosphere is just amazing. I know some teams have a lot of dissension and [the Terps are] just so tight. At the end of my recruiting trip, [Terps coach Cathy Reese] came over and gave me a huge Mom hug and that kind of got me.
Why did you commit so early, before your junior year?
I feel like I've been committed forever. I went on six different visits and they were my top schools at the time, so I felt like I had really done my homework. I knew what I wanted, because I'm more mature for my age I guess. I heard Meg [Whittle] had committed and my friend Steph Holmes, her brothers went there, and Taylor Hensh had committed and they're all three from my M&D team. I knew I'd be going with some of my best friends, so I felt ready.
What other schools did you visit?
I visited Duke, UVa, Princeton, Loyola and Hopkins.
What do you do for fun in your spare time?
I really like to coach. With the little girls, the things that come out of their mouths are so funny. They ask the weirdest questions like, "Are you still going to Maryland?" "Yes I'm still going." Some of them will be like, "I'm going to Maryland too." Some of them will be like, "I used to be a Duke fan but now I'm Maryland." (Laughs.) I'm like, "All right, good. Keep that up."
What draws you to coaching?
I've been blessed with some of the best coaches like Chris [Robinson], Jess [Onheiser]. Meg Huether, Emily [Franke] and even Traci [Davis], she's field hockey but she's an amazing coach. I just want to pass that on. I think a good coach is really what forms a player to be a really good, respectable player, so I want to be that mentor.