CHARLOTTE – There was never a doubt whether Gia Colombo would become a star on the field, it was more a matter of on which field that stardom would come.
Colombo grew up in Massachusetts surrounded by athletes. Her great uncle is former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano. Her grandfather, Armond, retired from Brockton’s Archbishop Williams High school in 2002 as that state’s all-time winningest football coach.
Her dad and mom are enshrined in the Brockton High Hall of Fame. Her dad, Tommy, is in Villanova’s Hall of Fame after starring at quarterback and her mom, Juliann, was a standout diver at Fordham.
Her sisters also shine on the lacrosse field – more on them later – and her brother, AJ, is a rising football and lacrosse star.
At a young age, Colombo played a variety of sports until her father handed her a mini lacrosse stick inside a Dick’s Sporting Goods store.
That’s all it took.
By the time she moved to North Carolina, she was already a star. Colombo scored more than 50 goals at Cuthbertson during her freshman season, but transferred to Charlotte Latin before her sophomore season in part to be with her club coach Nikki Williams.
The Hawks had compiled a near .500 record in the two seasons before Colombo arrived, but with her in tow, they went 32-16 and reached the title game for each of the previous two seasons.
“She’s faster than everyone else and just has this other speed level that nobody in the conference has,” Williams said.
Colombo was already a two-time all-state player entering this season, but Williams said she stepped it up to become a more complete threat.
“When you are that fast and that strong, you kind of rely on that,” she said. “I think this year she became more controlled. One thing I definitely saw is that she’s a lot more dangerous because she got more deliberate. ”
With her leadership and even better play, Latin flourished.
They went 12-5 before losing by a single goal after a dramatic comeback in the championship game to rival Country Day.
But Colombo doesn’t have time to dwell on her defeats. She’s more interested in where they will lead her.
“We had to make sure to keep our ground this year because everyone knew we were a threat after last season. We obviously wanted to do well and we did,” she said. “I would have loved to win, but the circumstances were what they were and we didn’t end up winning. That’s motivation for me to take with me next year. It wasn’t a road block. It was a stepping stone.”
The same can be said for her incredible senior season.
She was once again the main scoring threat for one of the state’s best teams and this season had more assists than in years past.
And with her stepping up on the field, the awards soon followed.
Colombo – along with her sisters Cece (a junior midfielder who earned her second all-state bid) and Gracie (a sophomore attacker making the team for the first time) – made the all-state team once again. Colombo also caught the attention of her opposing coaches who selected her as a U.S. Lacrosse All-American. She worked extremely hard in the classroom to become a U.S. Lacrosse Academic All-American. She is also the 2018 South Charlotte Weekly Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year.
“I had a lot of fun playing with my sisters. Having Cece and Gracie on the field for the last time made me want to do my best,” Colombo said. “I have some speed. My sisters both have really good stick skills, but for me, it’s about my feet. This year, I’ve added the control of my body to be able to make the finesse play instead of always relying on the power play. It was definitely a lot better for me this year and it allowed me to give more opportunities for my teammates, which I really enjoy.
“But I can’t dwell on my awards or hang myself up too high on them. I’m just looking for my next success.”
That will come at Lenoir-Rhyne.
“Gia is going to rip through that conference,” Williams said.
As an all-American at a small school, she probably will. Colombo said she loves the coaching staff, the campus and the self-described “science nerd” is looking forward to the school’s new science building that will allow her to study chemistry and become a pharmacist when her lacrosse days are over.
But she still has four years left to continue to hone her skills.
“Gia probably has the best GPA (it’s over a 4.0) on our team and she carries that onto the field,” Williams said. “She’s so smart on the field. And this is what she loves, so she works so hard at getting better. I expect she’s going to have a great career there.”
Colombo said she’s excited to get to Hickory and start on her next chapter. And if it goes anything like the story of her high school career there will be a lot to write home about.
“This year was a really nice cap off for me,” she said. “I’m going to miss playing with my sisters for the last time, but I think it was a great year for us.”
Girls Lacrosse Super Team
Emily Barnes, Ardrey Kell
The junior midfielder led the Knights in most offensive categories, including points (67), goals (44), assists (23) and ground balls (104).
Kaitlyn Coleman, Butler
Coleman helped turn a 1-14 Butler team into a 10-5 contender this season. The Radford commit scored 56 goals, tallying 72 ground balls and 11 assists.
Colombo is now a two-time All-NCISAA selection after earning the honor once again this year. The junior had a standout season in the Hawks midfield, helping them reach the state championship game for the second consecutive season.
The senior is one of the quickest players in the state. This year the South Charlotte Weekly Player of the Year earned Academic All-American and All-American status for her play by U.S. Lacrosse.
The last of the Colombo sisters, but certainly not the least. The sophomore star earned her first all-state nod this season and is a force to be reckoned with in her own right.
Flesch wrapped up her senior season in style. The Richmond Spider recruit led Charlotte Catholic with 66 points, as she piled up 44 goals and 22 assists for the 15-4 Cougars.
Belle Hardwick, South Meck
The all-conference midfielder recruit poured in 72 goals, 24 ground balls and 13 assists.
Pedlow is a two-time all-state recipient and forms one of the best one-two midfield tandems around along with teammate Thea Reddin.
The senior has earned a reputation as being one of the best on-ball defenders in the state. The two=time all-state selection helped the Hawks win NCISAA title games.
Thea Reddin, Country Day
The senior midfielder has been an integral part of the Bucs’ past three state titles. The Colby College recruit is the only three-time NCISAA recipient on this year’s Super Team.
Not only did Riopel earn a U.S. Lacrosse All-American bid for her stellar play on the field, but she also earned Academic All-American honors.
Skovira led a very good Cougar attack with 53 goals this season. The junior also was second on the team with 47 ground balls.
Abby Brown, Providence
Sadie Charles Calame, Country Day
Anna Farrell, Providence Day
Caroline Foster, Country Day
Grace Holmes, Independence
Riley Lowe, Charlotte Catholic
Molly McLawhorn, Country Day
Ellen Ambler Mosley, Country Day
Ellie Perrigo, Charlotte Latin
Maggie Pontiakos, Ardrey Kell
Landon Sule, Myers Park
Caroline Wise, Myers Park