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Morgan Burchhardt

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Morgan Burchhardt

2020 Grand Collegiate Woman of the Year
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Written by Ken Schott, The Daily Gazette Associate Sports Editor

Morgan Burchhardt experienced a lot in her six years at The College of Saint Rose.

There were two appearances in the NCAA Division II women’s soccer tournament Final Four. 

There were also two major knee operations.

Burchhardt wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.

The sixth-year senior and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School graduate who had three goals and 14 assists for the Golden Knights last season is one of the three college recipients of the inaugural Capital District Sports Women of the Year, which also honors 10 high school athletes.

“I just think that it’s an amazing honor,” Burchhardt said. “It’s a great way to showcase young women in the area and their accomplishments athletically and academically. It’s just such a great way to recognize The College of Saint Rose women’s soccer program.”

Burchhardt appreciates all she went through, and that drove her to succeed.

“When I started as a freshman in 2014, on the first day of preseason, I gained the respect of the upperclassmen by passing my physical test and producing on the field,” Burchhardt said. “Because of that, they really took me under their wing. I was extremely fortunate for that because that leadership — especially because some of them were national champions [in 2011] — really carried with me throughout my time.”

Burchhardt was named a captain her sophomore year. But then in 2016, she suffered a torn ACL that kept her out the entire season. She tried to return in 2017, but after playing one game, Burchhardt reinjured the knee and had to have another season-ending operation.

There was never a point that she wanted to give up.

“I always wanted to represent Saint Rose on a national stage for soccer, as well as individually,” Burchhardt said. “I always wanted to be an All-American. I saw the honor my freshman year when the upperclassmen were receiving it. I knew I was going to be an All-American at Saint Rose, and I was going to do anything to achieve it. I knew, in order to achieve that, I needed to lead this team as far as I could. Not only was it me leading, it was my co-captain Nina [Predanic] leading. It was a lot of the upperclassmen leading for this past year.

“I knew we could get a team back to the Final Four. It was just a matter of when the parts would come together. It came together my last season.

She returned in 2018. Burchhardt is the only player in the team’s history to record 10 or more assists in four seasons. She’s fourth all-time in career points (114), second all-time assists (52) and tied for 11th all-time in goals (31).

At the end of last season, Burchhardt was a United Soccer Coaches third-team All-America pick.

“Just getting that appreciation and showing the girls what it’s like to get to a Final Four is exactly what I tried to do during my time,” Burchhardt said. “My knee injuries, obviously, took a dominate roll for two years and it did impact the team, obviously, on the field. However, I always tried to keep my leadership there as much as I could on the sidelines during games and practices. My teammates’ support has been amazing throughout my time. I was so fortunate to play with so many different players and the background that they’re from. It’s crazy that a little school in Albany completely widened my eyes to that opportunity.”

One of the community service projects that Burchhardt was involved in and proud of was her work organizing Penny Wars, a fundraiser for the Strength in Numbers non-profit organization.

“It raised over $700 collecting loose change in about a 10-day period for a couple of hours a day,” Burchhardt said. “All that money went back to Strength in Numbers. Blake Snyder’s father, unfortunately, passed away from cancer. It was really nice to give back to another Saint Rose alum and also a soccer player.”

This article appeared in the 2020 CDSWOY Awards Program on August 18, 2020.

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