During her senior year at Towson High, Izzy Sabatino was a standout defender on the lacrosse team, a state qualifier on the indoor track team and finished second in Baltimore County playing badminton.
But, the Towson Times female Athlete of the Year didn’t limit herself to sports.
She also played the violin and was in the Baltimore Youth Orchestra.
“She is very good at the violin,” Towson lacrosse coach Taylor Carhart said. “She learned how to play the national anthem two days before our senior game and played it before the game which is cool.”
On the field, Sabatino was a dominant defender whose role was to shut down her opponent.
“She was our matchup defender, so I put her literally on the best player of every team that we played,” Carhart said. “She gets matched up and she does a fantastic job for us. She is just an outstanding defender. I’m really, really going to miss her for next year.”
Her 10 caused turnovers were second on the team and she scooped eight ground balls and won two draw controls, while scoring two goals on her only two shots.
“As that matchup defender, your stats might not always be as high as the defenders around you, but you are the reason why your defender next to you is getting that caused turnover and when you are limiting the touches on their best player, you are shortening their opportunity to score, so you are helping out our goalies so much,” Carhart said. “She is just irreplaceable on the field for us.”
Sabatino, 18, has been playing lacrosse for nine years and it is her dominant sport and the one she will continue playing at Division III Pomona College in southern California, where she will most likely play defense.
That was not where she started when she was younger.
“I was an attacker and a midfielder and my switch to defense was quite tumultuous,” Sabatino said. “I didn’t go down without a fight. I liked playing midfield.”
The captain’s competitiveness and leadership did not go unnoticed by first-year varsity coach Carhart.
“She is very intense, she taught me a lot this season because of how intense she is, but she is definitely a quieter leader” she said.”
The Generals finished 12-4 and lost to Marriotts Ridge in the regional championship game.
Sabatino’s most memorable victory was a 13-6 triumph over rival Dulaney.
The toughest loss came against Hereford in the Baltimore County championship when the Generals held an 11-1 lead late in the first half, but lost 13-12 in double overtime.
“I think we collected ourselves pretty well afterward, I think we had a good run through the playoffs,” Sabatino said. “We certainly didn’t fall apart.”
“They played unbelievable that first half and I said that’s what we have to remember,” Carhart said.
Sabatino’s only full varsity season on the indoor track team was her senior year and she proved her versatility by finishing second in the Baltimore County championships in shot put (28-feet-4.5 inches) and finishing third in regionals in the 300 (45.10) and sixth (44.26) in states when she ran her personal best.
She also qualified for states in the 4 X 200 relay and 4 X 400 relay.
She most likely would have qualified for states in shot put, but a scheduling snafu caused her to miss the event.
“That was very devastating actually, I was really disappointed,” she said. “I was throwing 30 or 31 [feet] by the end of our season and I was actually close to our school record.”
“She only threw for one season, so she missed her flight and she was devastated” girls coach Linda McShane said. “But, you’ve got to give her credit, she’s a true athlete. She had that setback, but she was able to go and still compete in all of her other events really well.”
Her introduction to shot put came when the Generals didn’t have an indoor season in 2020 because of COVID.
“I picked up shot put over quarantine, I went to the gym a lot and I’ve always been a little bit like naturally bigger, so I was like, ‘Let’s see how that translates to shot put,’ and in my first year I was second in the county, so it ended up translating pretty well. I had never really thrown before and it just worked for me.”
She enjoyed track so much she petitioned the executive board to be on the outdoor track team along with the lacrosse team in the spring, but her request was denied.
Rarely are shot putters sprinters, but Sabatino thrived in that role.
“She is a fierce competitor and she is extremely powerful, obviously from the throws, but she is able to translate that power onto the track and she’s got this amazingly fast turnover,” McShane said. “Her stride is not very long, but she hits the ground so many times she doesn’t waste any time in the air and she just attacks the track and if anyone is in front of her she is just going to have none of that.”
Her first experience playing badminton came before she got to Towson High.
“In middle school I tried out for the soccer team one year and didn’t make it and I wanted to do a fall sport, so I picked up badminton and I ended up getting a coach because I knew Towson had a good team and because of the coaching I ended up coming into Towson being the number one women’s player her so I’ve been that for four years,” she said.
Her coach, Steven Page, ended up getting the varsity coaching position at Towson and the Generals finished second to Dulaney in the county. Sabatino also finished second in the girls’ singles competition.
She has been playing violin for 13 years and will continue to play in college, but she doesn’t add words to the sound.
“I can’t sing at all, it’s kind of funny, actually because so many violinists can and I can’t at all and I don’t know why,” she said.
But she still can entertain a crowd, like she did when she played the national anthem, but that wasn’t even her favorite performance.
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“One of my most memorable performances I’ve ever done was I played “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” in Belvedere Square,” she said. “I had never really done fiddle music before, but for the most part I’m classically trained.”
At Towson, she was also class secretary for four years and was quite adept in the classroom where her grade-point average is above 4.0
“She is extremely smart,” Carhart said.
But her athletic talents are what the coach will remember most.
“She is just an unbelievable athlete, it’s just amazing what she can do, she is just really awesome,” Carhart said. “We need more like her,”
McShane certainly won’t forget her either.
“She’s not only an athlete, but she is a scholar, a musician, a great teammate and she’s got awesome sportsmanship,” she said. “She’s just the full package.”