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Morgan Burchhardt

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Morgan Burchhardt

2020 Grand Scholastic Woman of the Year
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Written by Adam Shinder, The Daily Gazette Staff Writer

As a sprinter, Lydia Ware is one of the most decorated competitors in Averill Park track and field history.

On her own merit, she’s got individual school records in four different events — the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes outdoors, and the 55-meter and 400-meter dashes indoors — and qualified for the state championships during both the indoor and outdoors seasons.

But for Ware, it’s the six Averill Park relay records she holds a share of — three indoors, three outdoors — that mean so much more.

“It’s more than you,” Ware said. “It’s you working with your friends, and I think that’s cooler than just individual records. I have a couple of relay records with my friends, and that’s super cool. You get to practice together, and then when you get to a meet and you know you broke a school record, it’s the most exciting feeling in the world.”

Ware, who also competes for Averill Park in soccer and is the valedictorian of the school’s Class of 2020, 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.

She’s had a record-setting career on the track for the Warriors, reaching the state meet in the 55 meters during the indoor season and both the 100 and 200 meters outdoors. She also earned a third-place finish at the indoor state meet as a member of Section II’s intersectional medley relay team.

“I’ve been to the state meet a couple of times,” Ware said. “That’s always a really cool experience, and I’m proud of that, because it takes a lot of extra work and time.”

But for all her athletic accomplishments, Ware’s biggest focuses have always been in the classroom and the community.

Academically, in addition to being her class valedictorian, Ware is a member of the National Honor Society and participated in the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth program, where she earned High Honors after finishing in the top 30% of selected students.

She plans to attend Roberts Wesleyan University in Rochester, where she’ll run track and study medicine.
“Track is really exciting, but it’s not the biggest part of my life,” she said. “I work really hard outside of practice to make sure I’m getting all the stuff done that I need to do.”

Ware said she relies on a strong community network to keep balance in her life.

“There’s a lot of people that I’m friends with that overlap between school and track,” she said. “I have people on the track team who are in my classes, and we all get together and have study parties and help each other out.”

In addition to serving on the Averill Park Student-Athlete Advisory Council and co-founding the APHS Science Club, Ware is a dedicated volunteer at Brunswick Church, which she’s attended “since probably a couple days after I was born.” At her church, Ware is heavily involved in Music Ministries, Child Nurture Ministries and Vacation Bible School.
It’s her way of giving back to a community that’s given so much to her.

“The fact that I’ve grown up with all those people makes it even more special that they’re sharing all of my life’s events with me and I’m sharing all of their life events with them,” Ware said. “I love all the people in my church, and it’s really important to me to give back to them, since they’ve given so much to me since I was a young child. I think that’s what they deserve. I’m really happy to be giving them everything I can.”
This article appeared in the 2020 CDSWOY Awards Program on August 18, 2020.

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