No one was more surprised than Katelyn Miller when the Bucknell graduate learned she had been named the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association Division I Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Tuesday.
Miller, who played high school lacrosse at McDonogh, had never even heard of the award -- the highest academic honor in college women's lacrosse.
"I didn't even know this existed," Miller said with a laugh. "It was really exciting just because I always try to work my hardest whether I'm on the field or I'm in the classroom. I was really surprised."
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Miller, who will attend dental school at Maryland this fall, excelled in the classroom with a 3.91 GPA in biology and on the field as the Bison's leader in goals (29), points (41), ground balls (36) and caused turnovers (33).
The midfielder earned second-team All-Patriot League honors for a third straight time and became the first women's lacrosse player to be named the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year three straight times.
Always interested in science, she didn't find it too difficult to juggle an academic load that included labs with a busy practice and playing schedule.
"I think every semester I had two science labs with biology, chemistry and physics," she said. "It kind of helps me to have such a busy schedule, because I had to be that much more organized and manage my time efficiently, so I just always had everything written down and knew where I had to be. It really helped being in the Patriot League where we weren't allowed to have team practices between 8 and 4, so I could fit in all my labs. I didn't have to take any summer classes."
Miller, whose father is a neurologist, said she honed her academic prowess in the competitive atmosphere at McDonogh, which made her transition to college scholar much easier.
She spent each summer working in difference medical field as she tried to find the one she most enjoyed. She spent time with her father, a family physician, a pediatrician and also with a physical therapist. At Bucknell, she worked as an assistant to the athletic trainer for field hockey.
Last summer, she worked as an orthodontic technician and found her niche. That's when she decided to become a dentist.
Miller said she will miss lacrosse, but she finished her career on a high note, scoring 20 goals, seven in the final six games for the Bison (4-12, 2-6 Patriot League). That earned her Patriot League Midfielder of the Week honors twice. She is second on the Bison's all-time scoring list with 177 points and second in caused turnovers with 101.
"In the beginning of our season, I was playing defense and we weren't doing as well, so they moved me back to midfield and I was like, 'This is my last chance ever. I'm never going to play again unless I do pickup leagues or something,' so I tried to leave everything on the field any opportunity I was given."
It didn't take the Reisterstown resident long to find a substitute for lacrosse to rev up her schedule again
"I actually just signed up for the Baltimore half-marathon to give me something to have a schedule to train for," Miller said. "I've never done any kind of race, but I've always wanted to run a marathon, so I'm going to start with a half-marathon and see how that goes, see if my shins can handle that. Otherwise I might start swimming and maybe triathlons might be after that. I like being active and running a lot, so it's nice to have something on the calendar, a goal to reach for, just to stay motivated and have something to look forward to."