The Sun's Katherine Dunn talks with Caroline Steele from Severn's girl's lacrosse team, who will play in the Under Armour All-America Classic on July 3. (Baltimore Sun)
Caroline Steele began her record-breaking senior season at Severn with 10 goals in the first game.
By the end of the season, the senior midfielder set school records for single-season goals (94) and career goals (239). She also set the single game record with 11 against Queen Anne's on Senior Day.
Steele, a two-time All-Metro midfielder, will play in the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic Friday at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.
She will spend the rest of the summer working at camps and coaching a youth team before heading to national champion Maryland, where she follows her mother, Gretchen Steele (formerly Lamon), and her cousin, Kristen Lamon, among other family members.
I have four brothers, three older, and probably when I was around 1, I was handed a lacrosse stick, pushed around constantly (laughs), shot on, probably hit thousands of times. I was born into the game with my cousins, my brothers, my aunts, uncles, my mom … When I was around 4 I joined the little Green Hornets team where you played on half a field and then my mom started her camp. That was mostly for older people but I joined and I always acted like a counselor (laughs). I constantly went to camps and in sixth grade, I started playing club with Maryland United and never stopped playing. I was kind of born into it. The whole Lamon-Steele thing. Everybody played lacrosse.
You played a lot of sports — four years of lacrosse, basketball and soccer at Severn — so when did lacrosse become your passion?
My mom always tells the story that in my third grade "Hoot Book" at Folger McKinsey Elementary School (whose mascot is an Owl) it was mandatory that you had to write in it like four times and at the end of each [writing] is a little biography about the person. And in every one I always wrote, "I want to go to Maryland to play lacrosse." I always wanted to follow my mom and my uncles and I just think although I was kind of forced into lacrosse (laughs), I always loved it. I always loved playing multiple sports and I loved them too, but probably around fifth grade, I was like "I definitely love lacrosse more than any other sport."
What was the highlight of your high school career?
I think my highlight would be scoring 11 goals in my senior game, not only scoring that many goals but because it was my senior game and being able to have all my family here. They were just really proud of me and it was a lot of fun. I feel like I'll remember that game forever.
What did it mean to you to break the school scoring records?
I didn't even know that was going to happen. I had no idea. It's such an honor to have the record, but I guess they're just set to be broken, so I can't wait to see who the next person is to break it. I just went into every game trying to find a way for our team to win. I'm so honored to have that record, but honestly, I wasn't shooting for records, I was just shooting for wins.
What are you looking forward to about the Under Armour All-America game?
Just being able to play with girls I'll be going against in college and also playing with. I haven't been able to play with any of the girls I'm going to Maryland with like Jen [Giles] and Meghan [Doherty] and others. We're friends now, but I've always played against them and now to finally be able to play with them and begin to mesh — that's going to be the next four years of our college career — that's going to be a lot of fun. But also just to be able to play with the amazing talent we have in Maryland and to be able to play against the great talent they have from other places like New York.
How do you think you'll be able to mold a team so quickly?
All the girls on the team are such great players that it'll be difficult only because we're not used to playing with each other. But I think, because we're all great players, it will come to us naturally. If someone's open just feed it. I think if we have a lot of fun, we'll be good.
Did you wear a lot of Maryland attire when you were little?
My wardrobe was probably hand-me-downs from my brothers, Maryland stuff my mom got me and little polos she would occasionally make me wear if I had to look nice (laughs), but growing up I always dressed in boy clothes. I think at my fifth grade graduation I wore a little pink polo and everyone was like, "Oh, you look so pretty. You should wear this more often." I was like, "I love boy clothes." I was a tomboy.
What kind of feelings run through you when you think about taking the field with the players who are at Maryland now?
There's a little bit of nerves in there, but I feel like that won't really hit until I'm at Maryland, but I'm so excited. There's so many good players like (McDonogh graduates) Taylor Cummings and Megan Whittle. I remember playing against Taylor my freshman year and I was like, "She's so good," and Megan, two years ago, she killed us in the playoffs. To be able to play with them is going to be amazing. If I get a chance to be out on the field with them during a game, it will be the coolest thing ever.
As a big scorer, do you like the proposal for a 90-second shot clock?
I do. I think it'll bring a new aspect to the game. I feel like it will speed things up and not let teams stall for the rest of the game after they get up by a few goals. I feel like it's so hard in girls lacrosse to get the ball back. You have to work so hard to get the ball back and when teams are in a good rhythm you're not getting it back, like in the [national] championship game; Maryland was not giving that ball up. I think it will be a good thing. It will stop that stalling for 10 minutes when all the fans are sitting there like, "Come on."
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How much influence did your mom and Kristen have on you going to Maryland?
A lot. I used to go to all of Kristen's games and I knew Maryland pretty well. I loved the field and I loved all the players when I was there and Kristen was there, so I was like, "This is what I want to do. This is where I want to be." When I first heard from Maryland I was like, "This is a dream come true." I committed in October of my sophomore year.
What does it mean to you to be able to play for Maryland with your family history?
I'm really honored and excited to be able to try to carry on the Lamon-Steele legacy, to try to take Kristen's spot from last year and keep the family tradition going. I'm so excited to be able to go into such a great program that has such a great history. But but also for my family, it has a great history so I'm excited to carry on that tradition.