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What's Up Magazine

Athlete Worth Watching: Shannon Donovan

Dec 12, 2018 12:00AM ● By Brian Saucedo

By Tom Worgo    Photography by Steve Buchanan

Queen Anne’s County senior Shannon Donovan can’t talk about her success in lacrosse without mentioning her sister Kathleen. Kathleen poked and prodded Shannon to give the sport a try six years ago since she enjoyed it so much. 

“She always wanted to play lacrosse with me,” says Shannon, who is a year younger than her sister. “She needed someone to play with, and we passed around with each other in our yard a lot. I followed in her footsteps and she really influenced me. When I gave lacrosse a try, it just clicked.”

Shannon is certainly glad Kathleen, who competes for Shenandoah University in West Virginia, pushed her into taking up lacrosse. The younger Donovan, a midfielder, will play the sport on a scholarship at Division II Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina next year. She plans to major in business and minor in interior design at the school, which has about 2,400 students.

“I really wanted to go to a smaller school,” says Shannon, who also was aggressively recruited by Randolph-Macon College, University of Tampa, and Millersville University.

Donovan’s athleticism and dedication to her studies (4.1-grade point average) had to appeal to the coaching staff at Queens. She’s a member of the National Honor Society and is taking advance placement classes in economics and calculus.

“I have very little free time to hang out with friends,” Donovan says. “I really try to put my school work before athletics. When I am done with my practices and games, I get right home to do my homework and study.”

Besides academics, she’s also a standout in soccer and basketball. She gets high marks from Queen Anne’s Athletic Director David Wagner for her leadership and work ethic. “She is the whole package,” Wagner says. “I also teach English, and I had her as a freshman and right away you know she was a great kid. She’s excited and really involved in everything that she does. She takes over in a leadership role in a lot of ways. She is kind of a rare student-athlete.” 

Lacrosse is her best sport. The 17-year-old earned North Bayside Conference second-team honors last year after racking up 18 goals and 10 assists while collecting a team-high 31 ground balls for the 10-6 Lions. 

When Donovan isn’t playing for Queen Anne’s, she suits up for the Maryland United Lacrosse Club. “She is a player who does everything, and finds ways to do things in big-time situations,” Queen Anne’s Girls Lacrosse Coach Penelope Santos-Bates says. “She is a playmaker and will find ways to score. She can get draw controls, and if I give her a job to shut down a player, she will do it.”

Santos-Bates is just as impressed with Donovan’s intensity and the vast number of minutes she plays. “She is definitely a workhorse and hardly comes off the field,” the coach says. “She has this unheard-of stamina. 

She is just go, go, go. She never lets down in a game.” 

On the basketball court, Donovan, a tenacious point guard, led Queen Anne’s to a 24-3 record last season and the school’s first-ever Class 2A championship game appearance.

Donovan, a three-year starter, averaged 7.0 points, 3.18 steals and 2.33 assists per game to be named a North Bayside Conference honorable mention selection. “Defense is probably her best attribute,” Queen Anne’s Girls Basketball Coach Mike Kern says. “She gets a lot of steals because she anticipates things so well. She just creates havoc for the other team.”

Donovan also started for three years on the Lions’ soccer team and the highlight of her 2017 season came when she scored the winning goal in a 3-2 playoff victory over North Caroline. 

As Donovan scores more goals in lacrosse, she’ll continue to monitor the parallel progress of her sister at Shenandoah. “She is the reason I started playing,” Donovan says. “And I think it’s kind of cool that we are both playing in college.”