Levy answers the call

It was a day that had Rachel Levy (Woodbridge ’01) so excited she had butterflies in her stomach. Lacrosse practice was officially beginning on Jan. 21 at Greensboro College (N.C.) and Levy was preparing for her first varsity season.

She had missed that chance a year ago when she spent the spring training with her Army Reserve Unit. Now, there were no planned detours, no expected delays. She was ready to take the field.

Then at noon, the phone call came. Her unit, the 991st Truck Company, was being called up as part of the massive buildup overseas for a possible war with Iraq.

In a flash, everything else was on hold. Lacrosse. School. She had to put things in storage and withdraw from classes.

At 19, Levy was no longer a student. She was a soldier with orders to report to Fort Bragg and then to Turkey for an indefinite period of time.

“I knew what I was getting into,” Levy said Wednesday, two days before she was scheduled to leave for Turkey, where she will serve as a truck driver transporting ammunition and supplies. “I knew it could happen and now that it has, I’m being as positive as I can.”

The hardest part of Jan. 21, Levy said, was having to tell her teammates and her coach the news.

“I held off as long as I could,” Levy said

Since she was a little girl, Levy has always wanted to make the military her career. It’s a family tradition.

Her father Richard is a retired Army lieutenant colonel. She has an uncle who is a chaplain at the Air Force Academy and two other uncles who are retired from the military.

“It’s such an honorable position,” Rachel Levy said. “It means a lot to me to serve.”

Richard Levy said his daughter has always been focused and matter of fact about what it means to serve in the military.

“I’m also a father and I have concerns, but she knows what she is doing and I believe in what she is doing,” Richard Levy said. “It’s what I did for 22 years. You live with it.”

Levy could have delayed things, but she wanted to start preparing for her future right after graduation from Woodbridge, enlisting on July 25, 2001 in the Army Reserve.

That decision would help pay for her college education and give her experience toward her goal of becoming an officer following graduation, but it also meant she was eligible to be called up when needed.

“Before Sept. 11th happened, I never thought too much about it,” Levy said. “I signed on the dotted line, but the possibility came more into focus with Sept. 11th.”

If the military is her first love, lacrosse might run a close second.

While at Woodbridge, Levy had played basketball and participated in crew her freshman and sophomore years, but decided to focus on lacrosse after going to a free lacrosse clinic her junior year.

“After that I was hooked,” Levy said.

A member of Woodbridge’s first varsity girls lacrosse team, Levy played two seasons. Although she wanted to make sure she got military training in college, Levy was also looking for a school where she could play lacrosse.

Levy considered going to the Virginia Military Institute, but it didn’t have a varsity team.

Her coach at Woodbridge, Heather Thorstad, suggested Greensboro. Thorstad had played there and it was a good Division III program. The Pride have won two straight Dixie Conference titles and had its best season in 2002 after going 12-5.

Although Levy has not played in any games, she has participated in the program’s fall-ball schedule.

“We’re hoping for the best and that we will have her back this season,” Greensboro coach Tammy Dixon said. “She’s more than welcome.”

In the meantime, Levy bides her time, ready to do her duty, but with the hope her stay overseas isn’t too long.

“I’m very anxious to get going and get over there so we can all get back as quickly as possible,” Levy said.


Indiana University of Pennsylvania freshman Meagan Cleary (Woodbridge ’03) was named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Week following her recent performance against Shippensburg and Bloomsburg.

Cleary recorded an NCAA B cut time in the 50 freestyle (24.53) against Shippensburg. She also had a B cut qualifying time in the 100 freestyle (53.60) after winning that event against Bloomsburg.


Kia Manuel (Gar-Field ’00) scored a team-high 23 points and added seven rebounds Wednesday to lead USC-Spartansburg past Georgia College & State University 73-59. Manuel, a 5-11 junior forward, is second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.5 points per game.

Teammate Sarah Jansen (Gar-Field ’00) leads the team with 52 assists and is averaging 4.2 points per game. USC-Spartansburg is 9-10 overall and 3-8 in the Peach Belt Conference


Lauren Rowe (Gar-Field ’99) has been named the Patriot League’s Women’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Rowe, a senior at the United States Military Academy, has been a three-time selection to the league’s academic honor roll. An art, philosophy and literature major, Rowe has also been twice named to the Verizon Academic All-District I Team.

In athletics, Rowe was named the league’s defensive player of the year in women’s soccer after leading the Black Knights to their first regular-season title since 1993. Rowe started 17 games and anchored a defense that held opponents to nine goals for the season.

David Fawcett’s They’re In College Now column appears Fridays in the Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger. Reach him at (703) 878-8052 or at [email protected]

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