Multitasking Harshbarger delivers for STM
MAROA — Randa Harshbarger will get credit for the most important goal in St. Thomas More’s girls’ soccer history.
But before the Sabers swarmed the field after a 3-2 win against Mount Zion in a Class 1A sectional title match thanks to the game-winning goal from Harshbarger, Randy Harshbarger, Randa’s father, should receive some recognition.
For navigating the family car from Charleston to Maroa.
With time to spare.
The younger Harshbarger competed Saturday morning at the 1A state track and field meet as part of STM’s 3,200-meter relay. After she finished her two laps at O’Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston — and got her second-place medal — Harshbarger was the passenger as her dad drove to the soccer match.
“It’s been a very busy, but very fun day,” Randa Harshbarger said. “I knew that if I got there and could hype the girls up and have them more focused, I knew we could pull it off.”
Harshbarger checked in with 10 minutes left in the first half and quickly made her mark as she assisted on Caroline Geubelle’s goal to give STM a 1-0 lead.
Harshbarger’s athleticism and skill stood out once more in the second half.
With the match tied at 2, Harshbarger received a pass from Michaela Ward, dribbled past a few Mount Zion defenders and put the ball in the back of the net for a 3-2 STM lead.
The lead held up the rest of the way, allowing the Sabers (12-9) to enjoy the program’s first-sectional title.
“She’s something else,” STM coach James Johnson said. “She’s just an athlete.”
With the match tied at 1, Ward converted a penalty kick to put STM ahead 2-1, but the Braves managed to tie it at 2 before halftime.
Harshbarger, along with Lexi Wallen, Courtney Wax and Eliza Kramer, are the STM girls’ soccer players who were part of STM’s state championship girls’ basketball team last winter.
They’ll try to keep the soccer journey going at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Manteno in a super-sectional match at Chillicothe IVC High School.
“It’s been a pretty cool year,” Harshbarger said. “Everyone keeps asking me if I’m getting tired of it, but it’s so exciting.”