Over the past four seasons, Christian Harrington cut through defenders on the soccer field like a hot knife through butter; almost like a Division I soccer talent playing against high school kids.
Harrington recently made plans to play soccer at Division I Saint Francis in Loretto. He will compete for the Red Flash, beginning with the fall season.
For Harrington, it's the culmination of a journey that began nearly 10 years ago when he moved to the Warren area from Wisconsin.
"I moved here in fourth grade and played for the Kinzua U12 team," said Harrington. "Until then, it was the most competitive soccer I'd ever played, and I just fell in love with it."
That love of the game was quickly coupled with his unselfish attitude and Harrington excelled while playing for the Warren Dragons varsity soccer program for each of the past four years. During his career, Harrington tied the state record for assists in a season (46 in 2012) and broke four separate school records for boys soccer.
Among the school records held by Harrington are assists in a season (46), career assists (85), tackles in a season (590), and combined tackles and steals for a career (2,143). While admitting it wasn't the biggest part of his game, Harrington scored 46 goals in his career, including a career-high 25 as a senior.
In addition to his statistics, Harrington was named all-state as well as to the all-District 10 and Region 4 first-team in 2011. As a junior in 2010, he was named to the Region 4 first-team and as a sophomore in 2009 he was named to the Region 4 second-team.
According to Harrington, he thinks his time spent playing for such a strong and competitive program - like Warren - will only help him when he puts on the uniform of Saint Francis.
"Everyday I was playing against the best players in the area during practice - my teammates," said Harrington. "Getting to play against those quality of players and having a quality coach in my Dad made me a little better everyday. My Dad, my Mom my teammates and (former Warren Area High School boys soccer coach) Mark Evans really helped get me to where I am today."
More than any of the numbers Harrington compiled, his Dad and coach for the past six years, Tom Harrington, says it's Christian's unselfish attitude that has impressed him most to this point.
"He's very unselfish and I'll give you an example of that," said Tom. "Every year before the season, each member of the varsity team must complete a five-mile run to get their uniform. When the time for that run came around, we had two boys who were unable to complete the run - one because of injury and one because he wasn't physically ready.
"Christian ended up completing the run three times. The first was with the team and then twice more with each of these kids individually. It didn't matter to him that those players weren't necessarily going to be starters or score lots of goals. All that mattered to him is that they were part of the team. Team has always come first with Christian."
Harrington's journey to Saint Francis started with his participation at a Saint Francis camp prior to last season.
"I went to a camp over the summer and the coach at the school saw me play and gave me his contact information," said Harrington. "He drove up to watch me play a couple of times and soon started making me offers. For me, it wasn't a hard choice."
Harrington, who is not receiving an athletic scholarship, said that he had also visited several smaller Division II and III schools, but liked the mix of competitiveness and talent he saw at Saint Francis.
"I'm looking forward to taking that next step in competitiveness," said Harrington. "Not just the games, but also every day at practice. At the smaller schools, I noticed the guys were talented but didn't seem to have the same competitive fire and work ethic that I saw at the Division I school. I really wanted the opportunity to not only play against talented players, but also with guys who take the game as seriously as I do."
The school's location was also important to Harrington.
"The location of Saint Francis couldn't have been more perfect," he said. "I wanted to be far enough from home so I didn't come home every weekend and pretty much never move out. But I wanted to be close enough to be able to make it home quickly if necessary. Saint Francis was the best of both worlds, both on the field and off."
His coach and father, Tom doesn't know what Harrington's future with the Red Flash holds. However, he does know what kind of player Saint Francis is adding.
"They are getting a top-notch ball handler who is going to come in in top-notch condition," he said. "But above all, they are getting a kid who will always put the team ahead of himself. That's something you don't find every day."