Col. Zadok Magruder High School graduate Colleen Harwood finished her high school field hockey tenure by being recognized as Montgomery County’s top player. She has since started her career at Catholic University of America (D.C.) with similar accolades.
In helping to lead the Cardinals to a 17-2 mark, the team’s first Landmark Conference title and a spot in the Division III NCAA tournament for the first time, Harwood, the 2010 Gazette Player of the Year, picked up a pair of rookie of the year awards.
Harwood, the daughter of Magruder boys basketball coach Dan Harwood, first garnered Landmark Rookie of the Year honors and then Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year recognition.
“That was a great honor for Colleen and the program,” Catholic University coach Gia Cillizza said. “I knew she had it in her, but a coach doesn't always know what to expect in a rookie season with the added pressures of transitioning to college, joining a new team, playing at the college level.
“But Colleen is talented and determined and she came into the preseason fit and ready to go. I think the upperclassmen really welcomed her in and encouraged her to shine. She grew more confident and comfortable with each game and there were games where I challenged her personally and she delivered.”
She led the Landmark Conference in every offensive category but assists and assists per match. Harwood, who started all 19 games this past fall, produced a team-best 14 goals with five assists for a team-best 33 points. She had three game-winners and converted her only penalty stroke of the season.
“To be named rookie of the year in our conference was definitely an honor I never imagined I could receive going into the season,” Harwood said. “I definitely would not have gotten that individual award without being a part of such an amazing team.
“It's easy to look good when you have Mary Swarthout, the fastest girl I've ever seen, playing next to you and always being there to give any pass or dive for a tip-in goal, and Tracey Scanlon [the Landmark Conference Player of the Year], an all-around awesome and intense player anchoring the team at center mid.”
Harwood, who was also named second team All-South Atlantic Region and to the synapsesports.com all-rookie team, gave credit for the team’s season to the leadership.
“We were lead to success by our great coach and our four captains, who did such a good job welcoming the freshmen and making us feel comfortable on and off the field right away,” she said.
Impressive performances are nothing new for Harwood, who guided the Colonels to a regional championship a year ago, posting the game-winning goal in overtime against Thomas S. Wootton. She finished the season with 10 goals and 15 assists.
“The adjustment from the high school game to the fast-paced, intense college game for the freshmen was made smooth by the high expectations set by the upperclassmen,” Harwood said. “My expectations coming into the season were that I was going to work as hard as I could to earn playing time and that I was going to be open to playing any position to get on the field.”
As for her sophomore season, Harwood is hoping for more of the same.
“My goals for next year are to win another Landmark Championship and continue to build on the successes the program has had over the past few years,” she said. “We are losing four great senior captains, who could not have been better leaders on or off the field, but I think they taught us so much that we will be able to continue being successful.”
One of those senior leaders, Swarthout, an Our Lady of Good Counsel graduate, earned synapsesports.com second team All-America honors after posting 11 goals and five assists for 27 points. She slapped in five game-winning goals.
“I was thrilled for Mary to be named an All-American in field hockey,” Cillizza said. “You add that to her three-time selection as a lacrosse All American, her academic accolades and leadership and you are talking about a true stud.
“Mary is very athletic and she really honed her hockey skills over the four years. She generated so much attack for us. We were all overjoyed when we heard about her All-American recognition. She deserves it.”