The coronavirus pandemic forced Maggie Schwab to take a break this spring.
It never would have happened otherwise.
Basketball has always been the North Kingstown High School senior’s favorite sport. With an all-state season behind her and a goal of earning an opportunity to play at the next level achieved, Schwab could have stopped there. But one more season in a Skipper uniform with the lacrosse team – her 12th season between field hockey, basketball and lacrosse – was on the horizon, and Schwab wasn’t going to miss it.
“I enjoy a lot of it, being on three different teams. I get to play with a lot of different people and coaches, so it’s a good experience,” Schwab said. “And it also keeps me in shape for each new season, it gives me something to do throughout the school year. It can be hard with academics, but I got through it and I was able to do really well in school. I enjoyed every minute of it.”
And her teams enjoyed having her. Last week, Schwab was named the school’s Outstanding Female Athlete in the class of 2020, a fitting honor for a player who earned all-state recognition in field hockey and basketball, and was hoping for a strong lacrosse season to go with it.
The three-sport life began early for Schwab. She started basketball first, then picked up field hockey around fourth grade. She added lacrosse to the list the next year. Fall, winter, spring, plus travel basketball out of season.
“It’s definitely been a long time,” she said.
Her first foray into the high school sports world came with one of North Kingstown’s preeminent programs. Under head coach Julie Maguire and longtime assistant Kris Graham, the field hockey team has won more state championships than any other team at the school – and more than any other field hockey program in the state.
Schwab put her stamp on the tradition as a sophomore contributor on the latest championship squad, the 2017 team. She helped anchor the defense again this past year, when the Skippers made a run to the title game and fell just short against East Greenwich. Schwab earned second-team all-state honors.
“It was really amazing,” Schwab said. “I had the best two coaches ever – coach Maguire and coach Graham. They treated our team like a college team. It was great because my sophomore year, we won the state championship, which was an amazing experience. One of the most memorable moments I’ll have in high school. This year, we had a chance to get to the championship again. We lost, sadly, to East Greenwich, but it was still a great experience to have in my last year of field hockey. It was an amazing team this year, an amazing group of girls.”
It was a similar atmosphere for the girls basketball team this winter. With Schwab manning the middle, the Skippers went 15-3 in the regular season, their best season since 2013-14. They were feeling good about their trajectory when the state tournament was canceled after one round. Schwab was a second-team all-state pick and a first-team selection on the coaches association all-state squad.
“Basketball was very important to me going into high school, because I’ve always wanted to play in college,” Schwab said. “Being on the team was an amazing experience. This year, I thought we did really well. I thought it was the best year out of my four years playing. All the girls were great. The coaches were awesome. It was kind of sad that our season was canceled. We had high hopes that we were going to get to the final four.”
Expectations were going to be more modest this spring. The girls lacrosse team has struggled the past few years, facing an uphill battle in Division I. The Skippers went 0-13 last year, but Schwab was looking forward to it all the same, ready to keep up the battle.
“We’ve had some rough patches, but we fought through it as a team,” Schwab said. “We always had each other’s backs. We tried our hardest in games and practices. It was kind of sad that the season was canceled, because we did get a new coach and I was excited to see how that would go.”
There was also the possibility of more individual honors. If the Skippers had shown some improvement, Schwab might have had a shot to be a three-sport all-state selection, though she hadn’t considered it.
“I was mostly just focused on basketball. I was a little surprised about field hockey, to be honest,” she said. “Getting all-state for basketball was a goal of mine this year. It would have been great for lacrosse, but it wasn’t my priority.”
With her busy North Kingstown career complete, Schwab will cut down to one sport in college, the one she’s always liked the most. She’s set to play basketball at the University of New England, where she plans to major in animal behavior.
“University of New England was my dream college. Being able to play there is amazing,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to play basketball in college. I get to continue the sport I love.”