Having played basketball most of her life, Josie Barton tried out for the North Allegheny girls’ basketball team her freshman year but didn’t make the final roster. While devasted at the time, fate had intervened and directed Barton toward her true future in girls’ lacrosse.
“I’m very glad I didn’t make the (basketball) team because I would’ve never started lacrosse or tried out,” said Barton. “I think that my skills from basketball really helped me with lacrosse.”
With her only experience in lacrosse occurring during a summer clinic leading into the 2016-2017 school year, Barton and her older sister, Anna, both tried out and made the North Allegheny girls’ lacrosse roster.
“I think having a family member on the team was a huge influence because it caused me to up my game. She really pushed me to learn more and invest more time into practice outside of school. She was a huge influence to keep going and not give up.”
At the time, the Tigers were coming off a 3-12 season the year prior and were in a rebuilding phase under second-year head coach Harry Datz. Thanks in part to the Barton sisters, the North Allegheny girls’ lacrosse program would soon be on the rise.
“In ninth grade, that was the biggest challenge. I had to learn the basics.”
By the end of the 2017 regular season, Barton and the entire team had found a groove and the Tigers ended a two-year playoff drought with five section wins to qualify for the postseason. In the WPIAL Class AAA first round, North Allegheny upset heavily-favored Shady Side Academy on the road, 12-11, for the first postseason win in program history. With NA leading by four goals in the second half, Barton and the Tigers defense staved off a furious SSA rally and hung on for an historic one-goal victory. The win proved to be a springboard for success for both Barton and the Lady Tigers lacrosse team.
“I think the year that I started, and my sister started playing lacrosse, we had an influence on the team but the team also had a huge influence on us. That (2017 season) really connected the team.”
After narrowly missing the playoffs in 2018, North Allegheny returned to the postsason in 2019 and posted an impressive 12-7 overall record and 7-4 mark in Section 2-AAA. The Tigers hosted their first ever home playoff game at Newman Stadium in the WPIAL first round and dominated Canon-McMillan, 18-8.
Entering the 2020 season, Barton was prepared to take over as a senior leader and was named a team captain. Unfortunately, the spring sports season was canceled by the PIAA because of COVID-19.
“I’m really going to miss this season because I saw a lot of potential in the incoming ninth graders and returning veterans. I was really excited for this team.”
During the course of her North Allegheny career, Barton and the girls’ lacrosse team made great strides over the last four years. In that span, Barton’s most cherished memories are the two seasons she played alongside her sister, Anna.
“My favorite time at NA was getting to play with my sister and spending more time with her. She’s a big influence and role model for me, not only just in sports but as a person.”
Next season, Barton will not only continue her lacrosse career at the collegiate level but will also return to the hardwood to play basketball at Thiel College in NCAA Division III’s Presidents’ Athletic Conference. She looks to follow in the footsteps of current Tomcat standout, sophomore Destiny Johnson, who was named the 2019 PAC Rookie of the Year in basketball and a PAC honorable mention in women’s lacrosse that same year.
“I met (Destiny) at my last Thiel visit and she talked to me about playing both basketball and lacrosse and she loved it.”
Barton is undecided on her major at Thiel College but is leaning toward Journalism and Multimedia studies.
In honor of our senior student-athletes, the North Allegheny Athletic Department presents “Virtual Senior Day” for the North Allegheny girls’ lacrosse team. Thanks to the outstanding effort of the North Allegheny GLAX boosters, here is a compilation of biographies and player photos for the seniors on the 2020 roster. You may click on each player’s photo to view an even larger image of her senior picture. Additionally, below is a short Senior Tribute Video and a special Good Luck Message from the rest of the GLAX team. Thank you to everyone who assisted on this project and congratulations to the Senior Class of 2020.
Honors/Awards: Four-year scholar athlete award
Post High School Plans: University of Pittsburgh Honors College (Neuroscience on a Pre-Med track)
Favorite Lacrosse Memory: Bus rides to away games!
Favorite Quote: “Dream so big you get uncomfortable telling small-minded people.”
Thank You Message: “Thank you to my parents who are my number one supporter through everything! You taught me to get back up and keep trying and how to be a strong and confident person. Love you!”
Parent’s names: Sara Nasir and Omer Bajwa
Good Luck Message from Parents: My message is “Sky is the limit!”
Honors/Awards: Four-year varsity player, Captain 2020, Scholar Athlete
Post High School Plans: Thiel College playing Lacrosse and Basketball (Major Undecided)
Favorite Lacrosse Memory: Trying out for the lacrosse team with my older sister Anna and playing on the team with her!
Favorite Quote: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”
Thank You Message: “Thank you mom and dad for supporting me throughout my four years of learning, practicing, and playing lacrosse. You both being a part of my journey motivated me to step up as a leader for others.”
Parent’s names: Rich and Julianne Barton
Good Luck Message from Parents: “Josie: To our tough nut…can’t wait to see the places you’ll go!”
Honors/Awards: Scholar Athlete Sophomore and Junior year
Post High School Plans: University of Michigan (Art & Design Major)
Favorite Lacrosse Memory: My favorite memory was in sophomore year when JV beat North Hills at home in our last game of the regular season. We were expected to lose but ended with a great win. I will never forget watching Coach O. leap for joy on the sideline when the last horn blew.
Favorite Quote: “The moment you give up, is the moment you let someone else win.” – Kobe Bryant.
Parent’s names: Ally and Alex
Good Luck Message from Parents: “Dear Coco, we are so proud of you and all that you have accomplished. Even though you had to miss out on your senior season, we know that you managed to make memories with these girls to last a lifetime. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for you at the University of Michigan! Congrats Coco! We love you!”
Honors/Awards: Four-year scholar athlete, Three-year varsity player
Post High School Plans: Lafayette College (Mathematics and Economics)
Favorite Lacrosse Memory: The game against Seneca Valley last year when we came back from a 6-1 deficit.
Favorite Quote: “Work hard, play hard, be nice” – Harry Styles
Thank You Message: “I just want to say thank you, Mom and Dad, for supporting me my entire life and motivating me to always finish what I started. I appreciate everything you have done for me, and everything you continue to do.”
Parent’s names: Maureen and Scott
Good Luck Message from Parents: “Alex, we are so proud of you and your accomplishments. We wish you happiness and success always. Good luck to you as you continue your education this fall at Lafayette. Love, Mom and Dad”
Honors/Awards: Three-year scholar athlete
Post High School Plans: Ohio University (Major Undecided)
Favorite Lacrosse Memory: All the games of pinnie tag.
Favorite Quote: “Your only limit is your mind.”
Thank You Message: “Thank you Mom for always being my biggest fan and supporting me in everything I do every single day. Words cannot express how truly grateful I am for everything you have done for me on and off the lacrosse field and for always being someone I can count on no matter what.”
Parent’s names: Dana Kantz
Good Luck Message from Parents: “Way to go Maddie! All of your hard work, perseverance, and ‘I can do it’ attitude have paved the way for your accomplishments in life so far. I am so proud of you and blessed to have you as my daughter! You have a big heart, awesome sense of humor and the tenacity to overcome any obstacles and challenges given to you. I know you will make an impact in the world moving forward. Good luck in your new journey! Have fun at Ohio University! Love, Mom, Katie and Jack”
Honors/Awards: Four-year scholar athlete, One-year varsity letter
Post High School Plans: University of Maryland (Psychology Major)
Favorite Lacrosse Memory: My favorite lacrosse memory was when we beat Seneca Valley last year and screamed songs the entire bus ride home. But I’ve made some of my best friends through lacrosse so every practice with them was so fun.
Favorite Quote: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Thank You Message: “Thank you so much to my family for all of your support over the years. My lacrosse journey has been a bit unconventional with many ups and downs, and I could not have done it without the support of my parents, grandparents, aunts and my sister. Thank you all for coming to every game. Thank you for laughing at me to show that it’s not always that serious. But thank you for pushing me to work hard and try my best at every practice and game. I love you so much. Thank you for your unconditional support.”
Parent’s names: Amy and Pete Marsalis
Good Luck Message from Parents: “Dear Reese: While this was not the way any of us would wish your senior year to end, we could not be prouder of you. Congratulations on a successful High School Career on all levels. You have consistently turned adversity into opportunity, and we admire you for your tenacity, grace, sense of humor and selflessness. Cherish your memories of these days and use them to carry you forward. Your future is bright and we cannot be more excited for you. We will miss these days! Love, Mom, Dad & Halle.”
Honors/Awards: Four-year scholar athlete
Post High School Plans: University of Pittsburgh – Main Campus (Nursing Major)
Favorite Lacrosse Memory: Freshman year, we used to play at RAW in the indoor field and we were doing relays involving backpedals. As I was backpedaling for my team, I fell on my butt with everyone’s eyes on me while I was laying on the turf in some pain. My butt did not hurt as much as my abdomen from laughing from laughing so hard.
Favorite Quote: “A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.” – Coco Chanel
Thank You Message: “Thank you for the unconditional love and support you have given to me for as long as I remember. You guys are my biggest fans and couldn’t ask for a greater set of parents. Thank you for teaching me so much about myself and life. With the lessons I’ve learned and the advice given to me, I know you both have given me the proper tools and mindset to find success and happiness in my future.”
Parent’s names: Victor and Patricia Siclari
Good Luck Message From Parents: “May your spirit, compassion and sensitivity to others follow you from the field into your life. May you always see the good and let ‘Hope’ center you, as it does your name.”
Honors/Awards: Three-year scholar athlete award, Member of True PA 2020 Elite Team ranked 44th in the nation
Post High School Plans: Edinboro University, playing lacrosse (Biology Major)
Favorite Lacrosse Memory: Coach O putting his face in the nets surrounding where we were partner passing and scaring me. I also love getting sat on when I took a charge and the constant turf burn on my legs.
Favorite Quote: “Stick with the people who see the talent you have and help you grow as a person.”
Parent’s names: Chris and Christie Watson
Good Luck Message from Parents: “Caitlyn, we are extremely proud of all the accomplishments you have met through all the years at North Allegheny. We know your determination, hard work, dedication and passion for your studies and lacrosse will continue through the years at Edinboro University. We look forward to seeing what lies ahead for you in the next phase of your life. We know you will do us proud!”
North Allegheny lacrosse player, Caitlyn Watson, signed her letter of intent to continue her academic and athletic career at Division II Edinboro University.
This spring, Watson will be a senior for a North Allegheny girls’ lacrosse team that is hoping to build on a 12-7 season and a WPIAL playoff appearance in 2019. Last year’s NA squad claimed the first home playoff win in program history.
Watson will major in Biology at Edinboro. She is pictured above with her parents Chris and Christy Watson, her brother Hayden Watson and North Allegheny assistant coach Chris Omasits.
Seven players from our North Allegheny girls’ lacrosse team, Skye Deprado, Katie Oates, Allison Lyon, Amelia Henderson, Lola Wilhite, Bella Falo and Whitney McKeever, will be participating in the 2019 IWLCA Brine President’s Cup Tournament. The IWLCA President’s Cup, featuring approximately 400 club teams with high school aged athletes from around the country, will be held from Nov. 22-24 in West Palm Beach, Florida. For the second year in a row, the U.S. women’s national team will be showcased at the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association’s (IWLCA) President’s Cup, one of the largest college recruiting events in the country.
Good luck to these players this weekend.