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A Conversation with Tewaaraton Winner Katie Schwarzmann

At this year’s Tewaaraton Awards, held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian on May 31st, Katie Schwarzmann was named the top female collegiate lacrosse player of 2012.

Schwarzmann, a junior at University of Maryland, is the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Offensive Player of the Year and completed the 2012 season in ACC’s first place spot. She scored in every game of the 2012 season and scored five or more points in eight games. With 72 season goals, she is ranked fifth in Maryland single-season history. The ACC Championship's Most Valuable Player tallied a tournament-record 11 goals in three games while leading the Terrapins to a fourth straight ACC crown. She was also named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team.

Schwarzmann is the fifth women’s Tewaaraton winner in ACC history, the third women’s winner from the state of Maryland and the eighth midfielder to receive the Tewaaraton award on the women’s side.

After receiving her award and after being bombarded with requests for interviews, Schwarzmann answered questions from ICTMN about receiving the Tewaaraton Award and what the game and spirit of lacrosse meant to her.

How did you feel when they announced your name?

I was extremely humbled and honored when they announced my name. It was such a great feeling to have the opportunity to represent my teammates and coaches while accepting the award.

When did you first get started playing lacrosse?

I first started playing lacrosse when I was 5 years old. My parents got my two older sisters into the sport when they were young and I remember going to watch them play when I was little. I started playing as soon as my dad could sign me up for our local youth program.

Do you have any special training techniques?

I work out with our trainer Mike Szemborski at Maryland as often as I can. When I'm not in College Park, I stick to the workout package that he provides us during the summer.

Were you influenced by any professional players growing up?

I'd have to say Mia Hamm. Her hard work and dedication to being one of the best players in the world helped her to a great college career and the opportunity to represent her country in the World Cup and Olympics. I remember watching her when she led her team to win the gold medal in the 2004 summer Olympic games and thinking how great of a player and leader she was.

How do you feel that the popularity of lacrosse is growing so quickly nationwide?

It’s incredible how fast the game is growing. Being a predominantly east coast sport, it’s great to see the game picking up in non-traditional areas.

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When you see movies like "Crooked Arrows" coming into the mainstream, do you think this will help the popularity of the sport?

Absolutely. The fact that they are making a movie about lacrosse is awesome. It will certainly help grow the game and get people to recognize the sport nationwide.

How do you feel about the Native American aspect of lacrosse?

Well, we wouldn’t be playing the game if it weren’t for the Native Americans and their influence in getting the game to where it is now. Clearly the game has changed tremendously from when it was played many years ago, but the competitiveness of the sport will always be the same thanks to the Native Americans.

Have you ever played with the traditional stick? You were presented with a traditional Lacrosse stick from Ron Patterson of the Oneida Nation.

The first time I ever played I used my older sister’s wooden stick, so that’s what I started my playing career with. I played with it for not even a full season then my dad bought me a plastic one.

It's fantastic that you've won the award - but is there another part of you that might be a little bit apprehensive because now you've been selected out?

Not at all. I’m honored to be the 2012 Tewaaraton award winner, but it honestly doesn’t change anything about my attitude towards next season. I know that I have to work hard to achieve my personal and team goals for the upcoming year and be the best leader that I can for my teammates.

Lacrosse is a very fast scoring game - do you like that about the sport?

I love the fast scoring aspect of lacrosse. I like pushing the fast break, transitioning the ball, fast paced offense, and everything else that makes our game “fast”.

Was the favorite part of what you do?

Playing with my teammates and learning from the best coaches in the world.

Where do you expect to go with lacrosse from this point?

I want to have the best senior year possible with my Maryland teammates and coaches. I am taking it a day at a time, working towards team success. I also have aspirations of making the US 2013 World Cup team and hope that I will have the opportunity to represent my country next summer.