Even for top-notch lacrosse players, such as Maisy Clevenger, every year has its own challenges.

Above and beyond the normal issues of being a Division I-caliber athlete in a competitive environment, Clevenger’s world could have been torn completely apart after her mother, Elizabeth, lost a long and arduous battle with breast cancer in early April.

Instead, showing the grit, determination and fortitude that have made her who she is, the standout senior midfielder persevered through her bereavement to have another tremendous showing for the Mustangs this spring.

Playing lacrosse, she said, helped her to at least find some brief respites from her grief.

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“It was a place where I could go — not like I could forget about everything, but it could at least take my mind off it for a while,” she said. “(Playing and practicing) was like a distraction.”

Supportive teammates and coaches, friends, family and three siblings — sisters Eloise and Shay, brother Mac — were all part and parcel of Clevenger’s recovery process, allowing her to continue to light up Howard County opponents with her speed, top-notch stick-work and high lacrosse IQ.

Her production in 2023 — 48 goals and 31 assists — capped off a brilliant career that ended with a whopping 203 points and will conclude on Saturday as one of 22 members member of the South All-Stars in the 18th-annual Senior All-America Lacrosse Game on Saturday at Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood Field.

The opening draw for the battle against the North All-Stars is slated for 5:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.

Clevenger said that she was selected to take part in the elite event early in the spring.

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Marriotts Ridge standout Maisy Clevenger was a standout in every phase of the game, winning draw controls, creating scoring opportunities and finishing around the goal. The Maryland commit was chosen to play for the South All-Stars in the 18th-annual Senior All-America Lacrosse Game on July 29 at Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood Field. (Photo courtesy of Maisy Clevenger)

She will join other high-profile local players on the South squad, such as St. Paul’s School for Girls attacker Lauren Steer and midfielder Natalie Shurtleff, Glenelg Country School defender Ashley Dyer and attacker Regan Byrne, Century attacker Jasmine Stanton, Broadneck midfielder Lexi Dupcak, Glenelg midfielder Isa Torres and Bryn Mawr goalie Julia Suriano.

Dupcak and Suriano will join Clevenger at Maryland in the fall, where Eloise Clevenger is a rising senior after earning First Team All-Big Ten honors as a junior for the Terps.

For Maisy, being picked to play in the national showcase is a terrific way to finish a high school career that included Class 3A state titles in 2021 and 2022.

It is also a fitting reward for years of honing her craft.

“I’m extremely grateful,” Clevenger said. “It shows that everything I put into (the sport) since kindergarten is paying off.”

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Marriotts Ridge coach Amanda Brady said that Clevenger is a dynamic player and dangerous from almost any spot on the field.

Brady added that Clevenger’s grasp of making the right play in clutch moments sets her apart.

Trailing South River with the final seconds of a key game ticking off the clock, Brady said that Clevenger had the “presence of mind” to collect a pass and quickly survey the field for the best opportunity to net the tying goal.

Passing up a shot for a better one, Clevenger found a teammate for the equalizer.

However, when she needs to score, Brady said that Clevenger is definitely adept at rippling the net.

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“She can change speed inside the 8 (-meter arc) and she’s powerful,” Brady said. “She’s fast and she’s smart.”

Clevenger said that her patience inside the arc helps her to plan which cuts to make.

Otherwise, rolling around the crease is one of her favorite moves, she said.

“I just love watching Maisy play,” said Brady, a River Hill grad who played lacrosse at Salisbury University. “She has lethal speed and is agile with a high-game IQ. Her ability to come up with a ground ball — one that you’d figure she could never get to — is special.”

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