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Severn's Maisano can play, call a good game

Ngould@capgaznews.com

At first glance, Severn senior Hannah Maisano is just your average high school student athlete, until she hangs up her Admirals uniform and throws on a whistle. Maisano transforms herself and plays one of the most important roles on the field, one that parents and coaches have a love/hate relationship with — the official.

A member of the Admirals varsity field hockey and lacrosse teams, Maisano also plays on club field hockey and lacrosse teams. She takes full honors and AP courses at Severn and adds the task of officiating the two sports.

Put all those components together and Maisano has built herself into arguably one of the most well-rounded student-athletes her age.

The Gambrills native began her athletic career after joining a lacrosse team when she was 7, and a year later became interested in field hockey.

"All the girls on my lacrosse team also played field hockey, so that's really what got me into it and I just kept playing," Maisano said.

Little did she know that four years later she not only wanted to be the athlete on the field, but the one making the calls.

After Maisano noticed her recreation lacrosse coach was big into officiating, she immediately realized that was her calling as well. Unfortunately, she was unable to start officiating lacrosse or field hockey until she was around 15 or 16, but that didn't stop her.

Maisano decided one way or another she would officiate and before she knew it, the sixth grader received an opportunity that changed her life. She became an ice hockey official.

Anyone could officiate ice hockey at the time, provided there was an age level below them. Maryland recently changed the law requirement to 14 years old. In order to become an official, Maisano had to attend a six-hour seminar, sit with the head officials for another four hours, get two hours on the ice and take an open-book test.

By the time Maisano was a freshman at Severn, she also began officiating lacrosse. By her sophomore year, she was balancing her time umpiring field hockey as well.

"It's really calming for me," Maisano said. "For that hour it's the only thing that matters. It's the only thing that's on my mind at the time, regardless of what has happened throughout the day."

Following in her dad Frank's footsteps, Maisano has ranked among the county's best young lacrosse and field hockey recreation officials, constantly being picked for the highest-level county games.

Frank Maisano has been officiating for 33 years, working football, basketball, ice hockey, women's lacrosse and field hockey.

Hannah Maisano is considered among the best young umpires in the USAFH training programs, and for the past three years has umpired high-level club matches and tournaments. Her first USA field hockey event was at the Disney U14, where she traveled to the ESPNZone in Orlando, Florida in July and was one of the youngest umpires selected.

Recently, Maisano attended her second USA Field Hockey National Indoor Tournament as an umpire in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she umpired the under-14 teams. She put the whistle away a weekend later and took the field with her U19 team in Richmond, Virginia, but it wasn't long until she grabbed her whistle a week later to umpire the U16 teams.

"I'm busy all year round," Maisano said. " I like it that way. It's gotten to the point where I have the week of down time and I don't know what to do."

In her "spare time", Maisano takes the field with SPark, a premier field hockey club in Severna Park (six years) and the Bay Area Lacrosse Club (two years).

Student athletes face the high demands between practice and games, all while focusing on their academics and social life as well.

For Maisano, that's no issue.

"I personally believe that I've gotten pretty good at my time management, and I feel like I can get more work done when I'm in season than when I'm out of season," she said. "It's not that I don't have a social life. This is my social life and I have no problem with it. I hang out with people, it's just in a different setting. It's work that I enjoy and I made a lot of friends from it."

While playing varsity field hockey in the fall and varsity lacrosse in the spring for Severn, Maisano is constantly on the move. For the most part she attends school Monday through Thursday and travels most weekends because field hockey tournaments start on a Friday. Fortunately for Maisano, she has a good relationship with her teachers.

"USAFH is looking for people my age to umpire," said Maisano. "A lot of people that have been coming to umpire are people who are just out of college and have played, but want to keep up with the game. They're really looking to train younger kids to be umpiring at the higher level at a younger age."

She admits out of all the places she's traveled, the festival tournament in California was her all-time favorite. While her brother played goalie for an East Coast team, both Maisano and her dad umpired. She enjoyed it so much that she'll be returning to the event this upcoming May.

"It was so much fun," she admits. "You get to meet a lot of different people in a lot of different situations. I met a ton of people there that I still talk to today."

Maisano's across the board success landed her the acceptance into Wellesley University (Mass.), where she plans to continue playing and officiating field hockey and lacrosse at the Division III level.

"I was always looking for a Division III college originally because I was playing both field hockey and lacrosse and didn't really know which one to pick," Maisano said. "I visited the campus and it's a gorgeous school and it's really well located."

Although the demands of a college athlete are way beyond those in high school, Maisano has no plans to quit officiating in the future and hopes to one day get the opportunity to use her skills at the international level or the Olympics.

"I personally love high-level, high-intensity games," Maisano said. "I love umpiring for the little kids, but getting to that high level, its so different because the players really understand the game. It's like nothing else matters."

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