all-academic all-American awards

(June 14, 2019) Stephen Decatur junior Sarah Engle was named a US Lacrosse All-American for 2019, while her teammate, senior Logan Townsend and Worcester Prep senior Gracie Gardner earned All-Academic honors.

“Both are incredibly prestigious awards. I can hardly believe that two Decatur girls are receiving the awards,” said Decatur Coach Sara Braniecki. “Four years ago the process was revised to make it more prestigious. Only one girl for every six schools with lacrosse can be honored. On the Eastern Shore (private and public schools), there are 12 lacrosse-playing schools, so two girls can be awarded each award.”

Coaches nominate girls and then all coaches vote based on players’ details/stats, Braniecki said.

“Since I have been the head coach, we have not had an All-American at Decatur and we have had one other All-Academic winner – Victoria Kerkovich in 2017,” she said. “Ali Lathroum and I now coach [Sarah and Logan] and she was an All-American winner and I was All-Academic [in 2007].”

Engle was named Bayside Conference South Co-Player of the Year for 2019 with Parkside’s Leah Vilov. She also received First Team Bayside South Conference accolades.

“Sarah plays a huge role on our team. She has been an influential player since she came in as a freshman,” Braniecki said. “She consistently produces both goals and assists [and] she is a selfless player.

“She makes big plays everywhere on the field, whether on the defensive or attacking ends or transitioning through the midfield,” Braniecki continued.

Braniecki said Engle is always composed and never gives anything less than her full effort.

“Her work ethic to continually perfect her game is one of the reasons she finds so much success and one of the reasons that she is so highly respected by her teammates,” Braniecki said. “She is the example of a true athlete – always working hard, showing good sportsmanship and displaying great character. I can’t wait to see what she does in her next season here at Decatur and in her future career at Loyola.”

Engle finished the 2019 lacrosse season with 49 goals, 17 assists and 64 draw controls.

She has verbally committed to Division I Loyola University in Baltimore. She plans to sign her National Letter of Intent as a senior in the fall.

Braniecki said Townsend, who graduated on May 29, certainly deserves the All-Academic award.

“She is remarkably successful both in the classroom and on the lacrosse field,” she added. “She is a great leader who leads by example and through her passion for the game.”

Townsend earned First Team Bayside South Conference for her defensive performance this season.

One of Townsend’s greatest attributes is her ability to prioritize whatever she has going on, Braniecki said.

“She is a highly involved student at Decatur but blends that with being a dedicated athlete as well,” she said. “Logan finds success in all of her academics while continuing to challenge herself through taking rigorous courses and setting herself up for future success, through taking AP classes and participating in the dual enrollment program at Wor-Wic [Community College].”

Townsend never shies away from a challenge, whether it be athletically or academically, and that is something that is going to make her successful in her future endeavors, Braniecki added.

Engle and Townsend also played basketball and soccer for Decatur.

Worcester Prep Coach Chris Williams said Gardner’s talent in soccer, basketball and lacrosse speaks for itself.

“She is a very skilled and decorated athlete, but her achievements as a student-athlete are even more impressive,” he said. “She is a role model for how to balance dedication and hard work in the classroom, with being a successful multi-sport athlete on the field.

“When I nominated her, I was blown away by her academic achievements,” he continued. “I was so proud of her when I heard that she was voted to be an Academic All-American by the region’s coaches.”

In addition, Gardner was named to the All-Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference teams her senior year in soccer, basketball and lacrosse.

Gardner, a goalie, earned the Player of the Year award in soccer.

She graduated on May 24. She plans to attend Clemson University.

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