Want a feel-good sports story out of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Consider the lacrosse-playing Schneidereith sisters of Lutherville, Md. They were seniors among the scores of student-athletes at all levels that lost their spring seasons — Jamie and Lucy at Drexel, Maggie at Johns Hopkins and Georgia at UAlbany — but maybe the Schneidereiths found something else in the pandemic process.
That conscious decision to separate four years ago to find their own way in the world, well, dang if that world didn’t bring them all back together for perhaps one last, long time before they scatter again.
“It was like a blessing in disguise, being together in our small, childhood home for a couple of months,” Jamie said. “We hadn’t all been home together in so long.”
“During quarantine we were all like, ‘When was the last time we were together like this?’” Maggie said. “In the summer, Lucy and Jamie usually stay in [Philadelphia at Drexel] and it’s just every couple of weekends we get together. It probably won’t happen a lot again once we start our jobs and go back to school, whatever it is we’re doing.”
Maggie, who led Johns Hopkins in scoring this spring, said high school was the last time the quadruplets hung together this much. That’s about the time they started getting famous, featured on People Magazine’s website as they all accepted Division I scholarship offers after starring at Towson High School.
The Schneidereiths put the home team back together in mid-March as spring sports were canceled. Within a week, the sisters crowded back into their old rooms with parents Wilbur and Jenny and 9-year-old yellow lab Charley. After over two months together there, they moved on to Ocean City, Md., where three of the sisters have summer jobs.
Back together, they put away the sticks for a couple of weeks and just enjoyed each other’s company before resuming training as word leaked out that seniors who lost their season would indeed have a chance for a 2020 “do-over” with an NCAA-granted extra year of eligibility.
Between their own practices, workouts and doing a lot of puzzles, the sisters also tried their hand at a podcast, “Party of Four,” episodes available on YouTube.
“We talked about being quadruplets and getting your season canceled and what’s the next step from here,” said Georgia, who after a week at the beach was headed to an internship with an Alexandria, Va., consulting company, which could turn into a full-time job.
The sisters also podcasted about roommates, boyfriends, dating, sibling competition, the joy of square pizza, round bagels and ranch dressing, and just about everything you’d expect 21-year-old girls to be talking about. As for talking about being quadruplets, long story short — it seems pretty awesome to the sisters, one of the less dramatic revelations from the podcast.
“We learned a lot about each other,” Georgia said of the on-air experience. “We touched on insecurities and things like that and I actually learned more about my sisters than I had known. You think you know what your sisters are afraid of and I had no idea.”
Speaking of fears, Georgia is the only sister with lingering questions about what she will do this coming school year. Jamie and Lucy are both back for a fifth season at Drexel. Two-year starter Jamie withdrew from school after the pandemic to sync up her academics to earn her finance degree next spring. She has a job waiting for her with the grocery chain ALDI when her playing days are done.
Lucy will also graduate next spring. She used a redshirt for an ankle injury last season, and the extra year is allowing her to add a major in Spanish to her five-year nursing degree, something that makes the midfielder even more marketable on the real-world front lines.
“It worked out super great for me,” Lucy said. “I love lacrosse and I love nursing. I’ve always wanted to do something to help people. I was scared about [taking on the heavy course load] so I was in business classes my first term and I was like, ‘Nope, I need to get into nursing.’ I’m not cut out to sit behind a desk.”
Maggie, a three-and-a-half-year starter and 2020 Tewaaraton Award nominee, is poised to continue moving up the Blue Jays’ all-time scoring lists as a graduate student. She is currently tied for fifth with 203 points and 17th with 124 goals while pursuing a master’s in communications.
Georgia, UAlbany’s starting goalkeeper the last two seasons, has more considerations. She graduated on time with a communications degree and a minor in business. Graduate school is an option, but Georgia had paying for that second year on her mind after her scholarship is completed. She decided to enter the transfer portal and that has made her summer more interesting. At least five other Division I programs have reached out and countless Division II schools expressed interest as well, but during quarantine there are no recruiting visits.
“I can’t get my get my master’s [degree] in a year at Albany,” she said. “I can do a certificate program and I’m trying to figure out if I can squeeze those 33 hours I need [for a master’s degree] into a year or year and a half. So during all this mayhem, I figured I would put my name in the transfer portal to see if there were other options.”
It wasn’t that UAlbany’s Danes weren’t still great, it was just Georgia exploring. In addition to grad school and more lacrosse, she can also turn her internship into a full-time job. Late in June, she was still weighing her options.
Georgia’s circumstance is a microcosm of some of the issues associated with so many seniors coming back for an extra year of academics and athletics. What happens to senior job plans? Can schools afford to fund the extra scholarships? Can families? There are other basic concerns, too.
“It’s going to be a new experience for all of us,” Maggie said of Hopkins. “You’ve got the girls that are going to be seniors on the team next year and now my class is coming back, too. It’s going to be interesting with captains and we’ve got 41 or 42 girls on the team. We’ve never had that many players.”
Maggie said she’s excited about the prospects of more time to get to know last year’s freshmen and about meeting the incoming class. She also thinks the Blue Jays are loaded with talent and ready to build on this past season’s 4-3 record. Two losses were to nationally-ranked foes and another was by a goal in overtime.
Likewise, Jamie and Lucy couldn’t be more excited about Drexel’s prospects. The Dragons went 5-2 in 2020, their first winning record in four years.
“Our story is amazing,” Jamie said. “We’ve been through so much together in my class. We had a new coaching staff our junior year and we’re stronger than ever and building a great program.”
This offseason turned into reconstructing the sisters’ great relationships with each other.
“No family is perfect,” Georgia laughed. “When you’re together you’re bound to get into some arguments and get testy with each other, but when we felt down or felt things were going so wrong in the world, we reminded ourselves we hadn’t been together like this in years, and who knew when it would ever happen again.”
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Johns Hopkins Athletics, Sideline Photos/Greg Carroccio, Bill Ziskin