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Morgan Burchhardt

Explore CDSWOY All-Time Roster Members

Addyson Galuski’s resume is already impressively full: State champion, all-state athlete, leading scorer in Waterford-Halfmoon girls’ soccer history.
The best word to describe Amanda Chambers, a member of the UAlbany cross country and track & field teams, is perseverance.
Amelia Canetto, a senior at Taconic Hills, combined all that throughout her high school career, which saw her star athletically, achieve academically and make her mark within her community.
During her career at Averill Park High School, Anna Jankovic stood out with her athletic and academic achievements, but it was the way she treated others that impressed so many people around her.
Ayaka Suesada’s school encourages everyone to explore their creative side, and although she called herself “not the best artist necessarily,” a school administrator credited Suesada for her “beautiful works of art in drawing, painting, sculpture, weaving, wood, iron and stone.”
With plenty of time on her hands last year because of restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Guilderland High School’s Beth Irwin put her sewing talents to good use.
When it comes to Queensbury senior Brigid Duffy, there seems to be no such thing as too busy.

Lauren Willis

Member of the CDSWOY Class of 2021
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Written by Jim Schiltz, The Daily Gazette Staff Writer

Lauren Willis’ plate may be full, but as the South Glens Falls junior sees things there’s always room for a little more.

So with all of her academic and athletic work and volunteer activities, the 17-year-old go-getter is also making a push these days for a girls’ ice hockey team at her high school.

“I’m in the process of starting a team. That’s one of my big things. The [Section II] athletic directors know about it, and someday, it could happen,” said Willis, who has played ice hockey in the Adirondack Youth Hockey Association since she was 2 years old. “Having a hockey team would benefit others, including my younger sisters. If I had that, I might be taking a different path.”

Willis’ has decided that field hockey will be her sport at the college level, and her studies will center around the medical field. Even further along, her objective will be to assist others like she already often does.

“I love working with younger kids,” said Willis, who is one of 10 high school honorees for the inaugural Capital District Sports Women of the Year awards, which also sees three college athletes recognized.

Willis lends her ice hockey and field hockey knowledge to youngsters in and out of school, and come Christmas time, you’ll find her ringing a Salvation Army bell, and wrapping gifts and passing them along as part of the Ben Osborn Fund.

“You don’t realize how many people in your community need help,” Willis said. “It opens your eyes and makes you not take what you have for granted.”
What Willis has is an awfully bright future, and a resume that’s already full of athletic and academic accomplishments, like honor roll recognition every year since 2017 and a spot on the all-state field hockey team in 2018.

“My dad [Jeffrey] has high expectations, and I want to exceed them all,” Willis said. “From now on, the work doesn’t stop. I want to keep going.”

Willis is a member of the Spanish Honor Society and National Honors Society and has earned scholar-athlete status in field hockey, lacrosse, and bowling.
” Academics are very important to her as can be seen by her 94.18 GPA,” South Glens Falls athletic director Matt Griep said. “It’s nearly impossible to look through her transcripts and find a teacher that hasn’t stated she’s a pleasure to have in class, strives to do her best, or displays a positive attitude.”

That positive attitude has helped Willis thrive as a field hockey player. Among her stats that stand out are 10 successful penalty strokes after missing the first one she attempted during her freshman season.

“I talk to myself,” Willis said. “I’m always saying, ‘I got this. I can do this.'”

Willis scored 17 goals this past fall season, and for the third time was selected a first-team Foothills Council field hockey all-star and her team’s most valuable player. The center midfielder captained the Bulldogs as both a sophomore and junior.

“Lauren is a natural leader,” South Glens Falls field hockey coach Mary Ponda said. “This characteristic was very much evident during her freshman year on the varsity team. With a strong group of seniors, Lauren did not hesitate to speak up when needed, whether she was asked to or not. I knew that she would be capable of handling the leadership role and was elected team captain every year thereafter.”

Willis will be leading offseason practices before the fall field hockey season, which she is already looking forward to. She’ll be joined by her younger sisters Jillian and Lillian.

“It’s going to be some fun games,” Lauren Willis said.
Willis played on the South Glens Falls boys’ ice hockey team for four years before shifting to bowling as a junior.

“Because it’s always go, go, go, I did bowling to kind of relax,” Willis said. “Plus, it gave me more time to work out, and work on my field hockey and lacrosse skills.”
Willis enjoys cooking and often makes a ziti dish for team meals. She also enjoys painting.

“It’s the time where I let out everything,” Willis said.
This article appeared in the 2020 CDSWOY Awards Program on August 18, 2020.

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