Chris Robinson first saw Megan Whittle play when she was in third grade. While her classmates were still learning to catch and shoot, Whittle was already getting the hang of behind-the-back shots.
Goalkeeper Megan Taylor first took the field with Whittle around that same time, and noticed from their first game together that she had an eye for the goal.
When Maryland women’s lacrosse coach Cathy Reese watched Whittle play at McDonogh, her speed jumped off the field.
Since she began playing lacrosse, Whittle has displayed eye-catching skills. The Terps attacker has combined that raw talent with an unrelenting drive to be one of the best players in the country for years. And after a first-half goal against Ohio State on Sunday, she’s scored more goals than anyone else in program history.
“It was a really special moment, not just for myself, but for the entire team,” Whittle said. “Being a part of this historical program and being able to set records alongside my teammates is really special. Again, I’m really proud of myself, but I’m more proud of my teammates for giving me the opportunity so I can accomplish all of these great things.”
Reese called a timeout after Whittle’s record-breaking 268th goal so the senior’s accomplishment could be recognized.
But amid hugs and tears of joy, Whittle credited her team with getting her to this point, as she frequently does when asked about her scoring. Her true commitment to her teammates, though, is in her effort.
Robinson, who coached Whittle from childhood through high school, said the Glenwood native’s work ethic was in the top 1 percent of players he’s ever seen.
“She was a tremendous influence on others,” Robinson said. “Kids would see her working against the wall in November, December, January, in the offseason and tirelessly working in the weight room in the offseason. That type of stuff became contagious to a lot of the other kids to see that’s how you become great.”
Whittle never lost a game at McDonogh, winning four national titles, earning All-American honors each year and becoming the the top-ranked player in the nation as a senior.
She’s enjoyed similar success at Maryland, winning two national championships and five Big Ten titles in her first three seasons, in addition to racking up personal accolades and records.
“To be able to say that I’ve done all of those things and I’m still not finished yet,” Whittle said, “it’s really cool for me.”
Practicing against a player as talented as Whittle helps her teammates improve, they say.
“When she steps on the field, she’s stepping out … to compete, and that’s something that is contagious to people around her,” Reese said. “We look to her to … lead the way offensively and [step] up when we need her to and [help] the younger players and other players around her be successful as well.”
Whittle described huddling with her teammates after she passed Jen Adams to become Maryland’s all-time leading scorer as one of “the moments that you live for.” However, she remains focused on finishing her senior year with another trip to the final four and national championship.
“She’s been such a crucial factor in our games throughout her four-year career here, and she did the same thing in high school,” Reese said. “I’m excited to see what she’ll do the rest of the season.”