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Sewickley Academy lacrosse player expanding her academic, athletic horizons

Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Academy varsity lacrosse player Maggie McClain, a junior, poses for a photo Thursday, May 23, 2013, at Sewickley Academy.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Sewickley Academy junior Maggie McClain is all about making an impact — on and off the field

The junior lacrosse player recently read the book “Does My Head Look Big In This?” — a story about a 16-year-old Muslim girl and the struggles she encounters at a prep school — as part of her final project in a global studies class.

The book inspired her to take the project further as she hopes more people in the community will read it and have an open discussion on the misconceptions that go along with Muslims. She plans on presenting the book at next month's Booked for Lunch Event at the Sewickley Library.

“I want to get people to read it and then have a discussion on if it changed their perception of Islam,” McClain said. “I really want to talk to a broad group of people.”

The focus on her project will go along with her busy lacrosse schedule. McClain recently wrapped up the season with Sewickley Academy as the team fell in the WPIAL playoffs with a 20-8 loss to eventual WPIAL Division I champion Peters Township. The Panthers finished with an 8-8 mark thanks in part to McClain's 63 goals and 14 assists.

“I learned how to be more patient this season,” McClain said. “Before I would run down the field immediately and try to score. Now I try to work it in. It has helped my confidence, too.”

While her high school season may be over, McClain wasn't off the field for long. She plays for Pittsburgh Select Lacrosse, a team that will take her to several tournaments this summer.

She also competed last weekend with a group of Western Pennsylvania lacrosse players for Team Pittsburgh in the 2013 US Lacrosse Women's National Tournament at Lehigh University. The event featured teams from across the country competing in front of dozens of college coaches.

The tryouts for the team were tough, as a coach constantly was watching the players, but McClain's boosted confidence carried her through.

“It is a scary thing having someone watching every move you make,” McClain said. “But you need to play your game and not the way you think they want you to play.”

Pittsburgh finished in sixth place in the Mohawk pool with a 2-2 mark. It defeated NorCal 2, 16-9, and Orange County/LA, 17-5; but fell to Washington, 14-7, and Virginia, 11-6, before losing to Philly 5, 10-8, in the fifth-place consolation game.

While the event added to an already-busy schedule, getting an extra couple of games of lacrosse in is no problem for McClain.

“I play 12 months and 365 days,” McClain said. “Even if it's just wall ball or in the back yard training, I am playing lacrosse.”

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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