‘Played With a Lot of Grit’

Sun Country Grads
By Mike Nortrup

Courtney Wagner moves the ball up the field for Messiah in a 2018 game. Photo: Messiah College Athletics. Courtney Wagner moves the ball up the field for Messiah in a 2018 game. Photo: Messiah College Athletics. Messiah College women’s lacrosse coach Heather Greer would tell you that there is only one thing seriously wrong with her star attacker Courtney Wagner.

She won’t be around for her senior year.

Wagner is leaving Messiah after this year to complete her studies at Washington and Jefferson College. After two years there, she will receive both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in occupational therapy.

The junior has already earned a doctorate in lacrosse.

The Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) recently named the Hershey graduate to its All Metro Region First Team. Wagner scored 49 goals and added 37 assists this year. That is the third-highest assist total in the Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) Commonwealth Division and tied for seventh-highest in Messiah program history. Her 86 points were eighth-highest.

Greer had recruited the Hershey resident after she scored 37 and 38 goals, respectively, in her junior and senior years with the Trojans.

Wagner went on to be outstanding at Messiah, beginning with her very first game as a Falcon when she scored three goals against McDaniel College.

She ended that first year with a rush, scoring 16 goals and four assists in her final six games. For her efforts, she received the MAC Commonwealth Rookie of the Year award and was named to the MAC Commonwealth Second Team.

While Wagner didn’t win any all-conference awards as a sophomore, she was a big cog in the Messiah offense, nevertheless.

Wagner started all 19 Messiah games last year. She was third on the team with 30 goals and 59 points.At one point, she scored in seven straight games.

She was also excelling in the classroom. Wagner made the MAC’s Academic Honor Roll in the spring of both her freshman and sophomore years.

This season, her team desperately needed a big year from her because of its losses due to graduation.

Greer explained, “We had graduated 10 seniors, including three All-Americans, and she was the only returning starter on attack. We needed her to step up.”

Wagner responded by leading the team in goals, assists, points, and shots on goal. And a lot of that scoring came when Messiah most needed it.

One game stood out vividly in Greer’s mind. The Falcons were playing at York College early in March. The Spartans had knocked Messiah out of the playoffs the previous year, and the Falcons wanted some payback. They got it in what their coach said was about the craziest game she had ever seen.

Wagner would score a career-high seven goals that day, including the game-winner in overtime, and her Falcons won 12-11.

“She played with a lot of grit. Courtney put the team on her back and carried it that game,” Greer said.

Greer believes part of her midfielder’s ability to put the ball in the net comes from, well, simply a knack.

“She can see the cage well and the goalie well. She finishes incredibly well,” the coach said.

Greer is philosophical about her star’s impending departure for Franklin and Marshall, where she will complete her education.

“I’m always sorry to see our graduates move on. But every year, this gives the young ones an opportunity to step up,” Greer said.

As Wagner did.

“There were huge shoes to fill, and Courtney stepped up in a really big way. She got the opportunity, and she grabbed a hold of it. That’s for sure,” Greer said.

Makenzie Kelley

Lower Dauphin grad Makenzie Kelley has been named to the IWLCA All-Region Second Team. The Lebanon Valley College junior had her best season in amassing a teamhigh 79 points. She scored 57 goals, second on the squad, and added 22 assists, the third-most. She scored 17 free-position goals, picked up 23 ground balls, caused 18 turnovers, and controlled 49 draws.

Kelley was rather prolific on a couple of occasion, scoring nine goals two different times.

She made the All-Middle Atlantic Conference’s (MAC) Commonwealth First Team in 2017 and was also named to the spring MAC Academic Honor Roll last year.

Marshal Kiessling

The Middle Atlantic Conference named Lebanon Valley College senior Marshal Kiessling from Hummelstown to its 2018 spring Sportsmanship Team. The Lower Dauphin graduate plays on the Flying Dutchmen baseball team. The coach for each sport nominates an athlete who exemplifies great character and demonstrates the act of sportsmanship both on and off the field. They must represent their team, institution and the conference with high integrity, and exhibit respect for themselves, teammates, coaches and opponents.

George “Brook” Briggs

Hershey graduate George Briggs has been named to the 2018 All-Centennial Conference lacrosse Second Team. The Franklin and Marshall midfielder played in 15 games with eight goals and 27 assists. Briggs, a junior, was named to the Centennial First Team in 2017.

Nathan Carl

King’s College senior No. 1 singles player Nathan Carl has received his fourth All-Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Freedom Division honor. The Lower Dauphin graduate has been named to the MAC tennis First Team for the third consecutive year. The Hummelstown resident, 13-11 in singles and 20-6 in doubles, was MAC Player of the week one time last fall and once this spring.

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