MAHOPAC, N.Y. – Before COVID-19 interrupted his young career, Mahopac junior Michael Harney had already compiled a laundry list of accomplishments. And, to hear him tell it, he’s just getting started.
“My goal for Mahopac lacrosse and Mahopac football is to bring back the winning traditions,” the two-sport athlete said. “I want to win a section championship in both sports. With Coach [Dom] DeMatteo leading the way in the football and coaches [Jon] Bota and [Michael] Haddeland at the helm for lacrosse, there’s a great chance this goal will be achieved.”
He started his high-school career in 2018 as an eighth-grade member of the junior varsity “A” team, earning team MVP honors. The following year, his only year playing varsity lacrosse, he earned team Rookie of the Year honors. In 2019, he was also invited to the Maryland Lacrosse Showcase and received a bid to represent Ireland in the 2020 World Lacrosse Championships. Playing football in the fall, he was named Mahopac’s Linebacker of the Year.
In 2020, he was named an Under Armour All-American team, representing the Connecticut and New York region, which Harney considers his greatest accomplishment to date.
“The year before, I had tried out for the team and was cut,” Harney said. “I knew as soon as I found out that I had been cut that I needed to make it the following year if I wanted to achieve the next level in my lacrosse career.”
That’s exactly what Harney did once his sophomore season was wiped out by COVID-19.
“I worked out every day with my focus on the Under Armour tryouts,” Harney said. “I left everything I had on the field that day, and when I found out a week later that I made the team, I knew that the next level was possible.”
The lacrosse star, who plays attack, has also been named to the Sound Shore Summer Championship Team (winning MVP in the fall), to the Team 91 National Team, and to the One-Percent Showcase, which, as its name signifies, is reserved for the top players in the country.
His contributions to the community off the field are just as worthy of praise. Harney, an honor-roll student, is a member of the Student Athletic Council at Mahopac High School. He has racked up more than 100 community service hours and volunteers with youth leagues and with his parish.
“It’s very important for me to give back to the community that gave me so much,” Harney said.
Harney said he developed his love for football and lacrosse in the Mahopac Sports Association, where he has developed lasting friendships.
“Whether I was on a team with my friends of a part of the camps and clinics run by past players and coaches, they made me love the game, and this is what I want to pass on to the young kids of Mahopac,” Harney said. “I want the younger generation to love the game as much as I do and know that they can stay in Mahopac and still be recognized by the college coaches. It’s all possible.
“I always remind myself when you get where you’re going, turn around and help the next one in line,” he added.
The football season, typically held in the fall, has been postponed until March. Lacrosse is slated to begin in mid-April.