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Grace Heiting

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Grace Heiting

Member of the CDSWOY Class of 2022
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Written by Adam Shinder, The Daily Gazette

Grace Heiting crammed enough into her time at Union College to make anyone’s head spin.

Her secret to not just getting through it, but thriving while doing so, was fairly straightforward.

“Plenty of sleep,” Heiting said. “And a lot of coffee. That’s kind of how I rock.”

Heiting, who is one of three college honorees for the third-annual Capital District Sports Women of the Year awards, spent her years at Union with dual focuses on both the athletic and academic fronts.

In the classroom, she was a double major, carrying a 3.83 grade point average while pursuing a difficult course load in both Biology and Spanish.

As an athlete, too, Heiting decided to double up. Recruited to Union to play on the Dutchwomen’s Division I hockey team, she also made the choice to play for Union’s Division III women’s lacrosse program — and, just as she did academically, excelled on both fronts.

“I have known Grace for five years now and she’s one of the most articulate, most creative, most involved, and most committed student-athletes that I’ve ever had during my coaching career,” Union women’s hockey coach Josh Sciba said

In three hockey seasons — Union didn’t play in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic — Heiting was consistently among the Dutchwomen’s top performers. She led the team in goals scored as both a freshman and a senior, and topped Union in overall points as a sophomore while finishing her time with the program with 19 goals and 18 assists. She also served as a team captain in her senior season.

But, for the ever-ambitious Heiting, that wasn’t enough. She had a passion for lacrosse as well, and during her freshman season made the decision to become a two-sport college athlete.

“My entire freshman year, I kind of had it in the back of my head,” Heiting said. “I didn’t know if that was something that was realistic or possible. I remember when my hockey season ended, that was when I was really poring through the lacrosse schedule, and I was able to bring it up to my hockey coach Josh Sciba. And I remember I was a little bit nervous; you know, I didn’t know how he was going to react. I didn’t know any other women’s hockey players that had done this.


“He had the best reaction. He went to his laptop and pulls up the lacrosse schedule and was like, ‘Alright, I think we can make this work. I’m going to get you in touch with your coach.’ I think having that support from the higher-ups was incredible. He helped set me up with the lacrosse program, and after I had a little tryout and met the girls, it was just a no-brainer. I was so grateful for that opportunity.”

That decision paid dividends, especially in 2022, when she was named to the IWLCA All-Region first team after producing the third-highest single-season points total and fifth-highest single-season goal total in Union history, while also establishing a program record of 5.18 points per game.

“I can’t say enough about what Grace Heiting meant to the Union College women’s lacrosse team this year,” former Union interim women’s lacrosse coach Jessica Davos said. “A kind, caring and fiercely competitive young woman who performs just as well in the classroom as she does on the field, Grace is the epitome of ‘student-athlete.’”

For Heiting, academics has always been just as important as athletics. An aspiring doctor, she was a part of Union’s Beckman Scholars Program, a 15-month mentored research program for undergraduate students in the STEM fields. She was honored a combined seven times by the the Liberty League and ECAC Hockey All-Academic teams, and received Union’s Lee, William, Dr. Norman and Dr. George Wrubel Memorial Prize given to a senior preparing for a career in dentistry or medicine, based on both their academic achievement and their character.

As a senior, she presented at the Experimental Biology Meeting in Philadelphia, where she received the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology Section Travel Award.

“It was such such an incredible opportunity,” she said, “to just see what other schools and other people are working on and what they’re passionate about.”

In the community, Heiting served as a campus ambassador for the Gift of Life Campaign, a nonprofit that recruits donors to join the national bone marrow registry, and served as a member of Union’s Honor Council.

Since graduating from Union, she’s moved on to the University of Maine, where she’ll wrap up her college hockey career and pursue a certificate in Arts & Humanities in Medicine before moving on to her ultimate goal of medical school.

“One thing I know for sure,” Union athletic director Jim McLaughlin said, “is that she is going to have a very positive impact on every patient she comes in contact with, just as she has done as a student and athlete on our campus.”

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