By Jean DePlacido
---- — As soon as Caitlin Harty made an unofficial visit to College of the Holy Cross, she knew that was where she wanted to play spend the next four years.
The incoming Beverly High senior is a three-sport star in soccer, indoor track and outdoor track as well as an outstanding student. Deciding not to prolong her college decision, she has verbally committed to accept a substantial partial scholarship to play soccer for Holy Cross, a Division 1 school.
“I had looked at some NESCAC and Ivy League schools because I wanted a good balance between academics and athletics. Amherst and Williams were two colleges I liked, but the only place that really clicked for me was Holy Cross,” said Harty. “I went around with the team on my visit and really felt comfortable there.”
Harty is ranked No. 1 in her class with a 4.7 grade point average and is interested in studying math and science. She plays soccer year-round and is a member of the Aztec U17 team that recently won the state championship recently. Aztec coach Dushawne ‘Doc’ Simpson invited her to play up with college-age players on his Aztec Women’s Team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
“Caitlin is one of he best attacking players I’ve coached at any level,” said Simpson. “I know we at Aztec are extremely proud of all her accomplishments, and this couldn’t happen to a better person. She’ll do great things at the next level.”
Harty is coming off of a terrific high school season for the Panthers, setting a single-season school scoring record with 50 goals (tops in the state) to go with 12 assists. She led Beverly to the Division 1 North championship.
“I’ve coached Caitlin since she was 10 years old and have had the opportunity to watch her grow as a player and a person,” said Beverly High head coach Kristin Simpson. “Caitlin is just a super all-around kid, and Holy Cross is a great fit for her. I know she’ll succeed there.
“She has grown so much as a player, especially over the past two years. Caitlin has become more confident and composed; that’s why she is putting all those goals in the net. She always got her scoring opportunities, but it wasn’t until the past couple of years that she started putting them away. She’s now a much stronger and smarter player and knows the game well, the type that always looks to shoot first.”
The Beverly coach believes playing in the WPSL this summer is only going to make Harty’s game that much better. “With all that experience I know Caitlin will not only be ready to beat her 50-goal record, but ready to contribute immediately to Holy Cross and help them become a better team,” she predicted.
“Knowing where I’ll be going to college is a big relief,” said Harty, who had two goals and two assists in the first game at the regional tournament. “All the emailing with coaches stops and I don’t have to fill out all those applications. I can really enjoy my senior year, and before I leave Beverly I want our team to have another great season.
“We want to win the Northeastern Conference championship which we haven’t done in a while, and I think we have a very good chance to accomplish that goal. Last year we lost in the state semifinals, and we’d all like to take it a step further this time.”