In partnership with the Matt Wyble Team of Century 21 New Millennium, the Severna Park Voice’s Student-Athlete of the Month series seeks to recognize the many student-athletes in our area who make an impact not necessarily by way of statistics or stardom, but by their unique contributions. The quiet leader, the solid role player, the glue guy or gal, the community voice on or off the field — those are the kids we seek to recognize. Do you know a young person in our community making a positive impact through or alongside sports? Nominate them by contacting Colin Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You won’t see Erin Schaner’s name making headlines for Severna Park field hockey. The Falcon senior isn’t the top goal scorer or the leading assist woman for the county-champion Falcons, and by her own admission, she’s not the greatest field hockey player.
But Schaner is everything a team needs.
Schaner is the Voice’s Student-Athlete of the Month for November because of the positive energy she relentlessly brings to the Falcons.
“Erin’s energy is infectious,” said Severna Park head coach Shannon Garden. “When she’s around, the whole team is laughing and happy and pumped up. She’s got a way about her. She’s very spunky and happy and positive. Nothing gets this kid down. It’s amazing.”
Schaner said that her focus is on contributing when and how she best can.
“I’m not the best at field hockey, but I really like to cheer everyone on,” said Schaner. “I have a really loud, annoying voice, and I’m always screaming. If you listen to our film, I get really exited. Even with the littlest things I get excited, because why not? I’m not the best, so that’s my way of contributing.”
Garden said that every team needs someone like Schaner, whose positivity is genuine and doesn’t get eroded by a lack of playing time — a difficult situation for any strong team with a deep bench of capable and hungry players who all want to get on the field.
“She’s a team-first kind of kid and will do whatever it takes for the team,” said Garden. “She is so happy for her teammates. You don’t get a lot of kids like that.”
Schaner takes a self-deprecating tone and is quick to downplay her field hockey ability, but Garden made a point of noting how much she contributes on the field, too. A midfielder, Schaner can be inserted anywhere on the field and relied upon to spell the starters and play hard. In Severna Park’s county-championship win over Arundel, Schaner was one of the many midfielders called into emergency defensive duty when the Falcons played long stretches in man-down situations and managed to fend of the Wildcats for the county title.
“She’s a great utility player,” Garden said. “I can plug her in anywhere and she’s like, ‘OK!’ and she just goes and does it. Anywhere on the field. Defense, midfield, forward, I’ve had her in everywhere, and she goes in and gives 110 percent.”
Teammate Amalia Hagerty said Schaner is one of those teammates you love playing with and hate playing against because she sticks to her assignment and relentlessly hounds opponents.
“She’s really good at sticking to her man,” Hagerty said. “She’s very determined. She’s a big part of hyping our team up. She brings the energy. She’s the hype man.”
With a competitive smile, Schaner concurred about her defensive efforts.
“I annoy people on the field,” she quipped — clearly not joking.
More than anything, Schaner’s overarching outlook is to take advantage of the opportunities in front of her, both in field hockey and beyond. She is a strong student, a member of the National Honor Society, and she takes part in extracurricular clubs like the Young Republicans, Students Helping Others and the Spirit Club.
“I try to get involved with school as much as I can,” said Schaner. “Especially since it’s our last year.”
Garden said the Falcons know how important Schaner is to the team even if it’s not immediately clear to outsiders.
“She’s not an unsung hero,” said Garden. “She’s more like an unsung spirit. She’s the spirit of the team.”