Her basketball coach for four years thinks of Andrea McTaggart as a coach on the court and her soccer coach saw her as somebody that made everybody on the team rise to the occasion during an outstanding playoff run.
The fact that McTaggart will be playing lacrosse at collegiate power University of Maryland next year shows she was one of the elite athletes at Catonsville High during the past year.
The senior is also the 2016 Catonsville Times female Athlete of the Year.
Basketball coach Mike Mohler was grateful to coach her for four years on the varsity.
“I’ve said this joking, but I truly mean it, if she ever wants to go into coaching, I think she would be a great coach,” said Mohler, who often used her to keep him tuned in. “She will sit there and think along with you and literally there were times in practice when I would look over at her and say, ‘Is that the way we want that?’”
McTaggart played in the backcourt and also helped keep her teammates in line.
“She would say ‘No, we did it like this.’ And I would go ‘Man, keep me straight, keep me straight.’” Mohler said. “It’s really such a plus when you have a player who knows where everyone is supposed to be.”
The Comets did a lot of things right during a 23-3 season when they won a Baltimore County championship and reached the Class 4A North Region finals before falling at Western.
“She really caught fire makings threes during the end of the year,” Mohler said. “She hit a couple big threes in the county championship game and she hit a couple big threes in the regional championship game.”
She scored eight points in the 60-43 win over Milford Mill and eight in a 63-22 sectional final win over Dulaney.
The win over Milford was the first county title for McTaggart and she was relieved after the game.
“I think we just got tired of losing at counties,” she said. “It felt so good to be on the other side for a change.”
Milford had won the past four county titles, including the 2013 and 2014 crowns over Catonsville.
McTaggart wasn’t a prolific scorer on a team that featured All-Metro First Team selection Jasmine Dickey and that was fine with Mohler.
“She does things that you talk about that you can’t teach, like having court sense and a feel for the game,” Mohler said. “Those are the kinds of intangibles that aren’t in every player. The stats don’t tell the entire truth.”
Catonsville soccer coach Gary Lynch agrees.
“It was not her stats such as goals, assists and alike that would wow you; it is her impact as a leader and fellow player, on and off the field, whether at training, a match, or just something team-related, that was so important,” Lynch stated.
McTaggart had high expectations for herself and all her teammates, according to Lynch, and that helped the 8-8-1 Comets go all the way to the regional championship game, where they fell in overtime to Sherwood, 1-0,
“It was playing to these expectations that made each player be better than they were and the team being much better than it was,” Lynch noted. “She led the charge for the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts, and for the team to end with such a much higher than expected season.”
In 2013, McTaggart was a sophomore on the team that had high expectations and fulfilled them.
The Comets went 17-2 and lost to Walt Whitman in the state finals, but they also won 16 games in a row and captured county and regional titles.
During the regional title run, McTaggart scored game-winning goals in a quarter-final win over Dulaney and did it again in the regional finals against Perry Hall.
McTaggart was one of only five seniors on the 9-7 lacrosse team and she was counted on to score.
In a 14-13 win over private-school rival Mount de Sales, she scored four goals and added an assist.
But, she told The Baltimore Sun reporter Katherine Dunn before the season she was most likely to play defense in college.
“I’m very excited about it, because even though I’ve played midfield my whole life, I think I’m a more defensive-minded person and I think it’s fun to lock people down,” she said. “I’m hoping it will give me more of a chance to play, because Maryland does recruit a lot of midfielders, but there’s a lot of great talent at Maryland and I don’t come in with any expectations.”
Basketball coach Mohler knows she will have to focus on one sport in college, but was happy to watch her career unfold in three sports in high school.
“I think it helps to have different skills. You are not constantly training your muscles to only do and play one way,” Mohler said. “She is in a long line of three-sport players from Catonsville High. That has been our bread and butter for 20 years.”