As far as Meghan Bauer is concerned, the past 12 months could hardly have gone better.
In order, the Blake senior led the Bears to their second consecutive lacrosse state championship last June; started as a midfielder for Blake's Class 1A state championship soccer team last fall; was recruited by and accepted an offer to play lacrosse at Harvard next fall; and was named Blake's 2012 Athena Award winner, an honor given annually to the top female athlete in each school across the metropolitan area.
Staff writer Jim Paulsen talked with Bauer, the leading scorer on Blake's No. 1-ranked lacrosse team.
Q Lacrosse or soccer?
A I love both of my teams for both sports. But, if I had to choose one, I'd probably say lacrosse, since I've chosen to pursue lacrosse in college.
Q Why lacrosse?
A It's a pretty fast-paced game. There's a lot of running and lot more scoring than in soccer, which I really like. And it's incredibly team-oriented. You can't do as well as we have without every single person on the team doing their job.
Q What is the bigger thrill, winning a lacrosse championship or a state soccer championship?
A Probably soccer. It was the most exciting thing I've ever participated in. It was a long road leading up to it, and that team went through a lot of ups and downs. Being with the same girls all year, it was just like a family.
Q Which would you rather watch, a top-level lacrosse game or a World Cup soccer match?
A Probably a top-level lacrosse game. At the highest level, it is so fast-paced and exciting. There's a lot of back and forth. It's thrilling.
Q What lacrosse position do you play?
A Midfield. It's primarily an attacking position, but I do get to go back on defense and play throughout the field. I can literally be anywhere.
Q Talk about your passion for lacrosse.
A I don't know what I would do if couldn't play. I love being a part of the growing process in Minnesota, seeing kids go off to play at big Division I schools and seeing how the game has skyrocketed.
Q When you play on club teams against East Coast teams, what do they say about lacrosse in Minnesota?
A In pretty much every game we play, those teams are taken aback by how skilled we are. They ask us "Where is Minnesota again?" That's pretty harsh.
Q How did you end up going to Harvard?
A Harvard just provided the best of both worlds. The lacrosse team is making it way up in the national rankings. They won the Ivy League this year. And, of course, I'm really excited about their educational philosophy and to be challenged academically, like I have been at Blake.
Q How significant is the Athena Award to you?
A I've looked up to a lot of the past recipients and have had some good friends win it. It's an honor to be thought of on the same level as them.
Q If you could, how would you change lacrosse?
A For girls, I would change some of the rules involving checking. The rules are pretty strict, especially here in the Midwest. I would make the game more aggressive and more fun. And rougher.