Shields wins Brackbill Award

By on May 1, 2019

Williamson named a female finalist

Warwick seniors Emily Williamson and Connor Shields were honored at an L-L League banquet Sunday night in Strasburg. Shields received the A. Landis Brackbill Award and Williamson was named a female finalist. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Warwick seniors Emily Williamson and Connor Shields were honored at an L-L League banquet Sunday night in Strasburg. Shields received the A. Landis Brackbill Award and Williamson was named a female finalist. Photo by Missi Mortimer

As Warwick track and field coach Alex Daecher knows, there’s a good reason that senior Connor Shields was elected as a team captain this spring.

“He’s well-liked, and more important, well-respected by his peers and coaches,” Daecher said.

You can most certainly include his teachers among that group as well.

After all, the University of Notre Dame recruit is carrying an impressive 4.0 grade point average.

“He’s just an impressive kid,” Daecher said.

It’s no wonder then that Shields — along with ELCO’s Ryelle Shuey — took home the prestigious A. Landis Brackbill Award at a Lancaster-Lebanon League banquet last Sunday night at Strasburg’s Fireside Tavern.

Shields easily met the award’s criteria of maintaining a 3.5 GPA and lettering in or playing in 75 percent of two or more PIAA-sponsored sports in one year.

“It was a massive honor, it’s really exciting,” said Shields, a three-sport athlete in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. “There’s so many great athletes (in the L-L League), like (Manheim Township swimmer) Charlie Gingrich, a league record-holder in the 50, all the great runners, and Ryelle, who’s a great soccer player. There’s just so many amazing people there.”

Amazing is also a word to describe the career that Shields has put together at Warwick. A two-time State qualifier in cross country, he earned his first PIAA medal last fall, taking 20th overall, capping a fall season in which he placed seventh at the L-L Meet and fifth at Districts.

In February, Shields, a two-time State qualifier in indoor track, took home an eighth-place finish in the 800 at the State Indoor Track and Field Championships at Penn State University.

And later this month, he will be aiming for a third straight trip to the PIAA State Championships in outdoor track. Over the past two seasons, Shields has won L-L bronze and silver in the 1,600, and District bronze and a sixth-place medal in that event.

“I’ve definitely learned (competing in high school athletics) just how hard you have to work to be successful,” Shields said. “Running is far from an easy sport. There’s so many tough workouts that you just have to grind through, and my teammates make it a lot easier, pushing me every day.”

It’s not just on the oval or the 5K cross country course where he has excelled, however.

In April, Shields took home the first-ever Amazon Future Engineer scholarship, one of 100 high school seniors to receive the honor.

“(Academics and athletics) definitely is a time management thing,” said Shields, who is also a member of National Honor Society, English Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, and a Presidential Scholar candidate. “If you’re managing your time well, it’s just not going to go well for you. So it definitely helps me stay disciplined with balancing athletics and academics. It’s fun though.”

All of it has helped Shields develop into what Daecher describes as a well-rounded individual.

“Connor’s just a neat kid to talk to,” Daecher said. “He’s a nice kid, he’s a good teammate, he’s a captain, and he’s a great leader, so his resume speaks for itself and what he does. He’s just a good person and that’s a big part of it. I think he’s probably one of the most reliable kids I’ve ever met. If you ask him to do something, you know it’s going to happen.”

Ditto for senior Emily Williamson, an Elizabethtown College recruit in track and field who was named a female finalist for the A. Landis Brackbill Award, along with Cedar Crest’s Hannah Shirey, Lancaster Country Day’s McKayla Forman, and Manheim Township’s Lucy Svetec.

“That was really cool,” Williamson said. “I wasn’t expecting anything like that. Connor is a great student and a great athlete, so it was pretty exciting when I was also nominated for (the Brackbill). There’s a lot of really competitive kids from the other schools too.”

A three-sport athlete in soccer, basketball and track and field, she was a member of the Warriors’ 4×100 relay which set school and L-L League records at last week’s Penn Relays, clocking in at 47.25 seconds to win the Northeast final.

Williamson has also played a key role in the Warwick girls winning back-to-back Section One titles while going a combined 12-0.

Although she might not finish among the team leaders in point scoring, that’s only because Williamson competes in a lot of relays, in which she shares team points with three other teammates.

In the Warriors’ title-clinching win over Penn Manor on Monday, Williamson completed on the 4×100, 4×400, and 4×800 relays.

It wasn’t the first time she’s done that.

“Emily is probably one of the most selfless kids we have on the team,” Daecher said. “(Her attitude) is just, ‘What do you want me to do? Do you want me to run this?’ She just says, ‘What do you want me to do and I’ll do it.’ And she got first in all the events.”

Prior to the season, Williamson was selected as a team captain.

“There’s no doubt why,” Daecher said. “She exemplifies that lead by example, like, ‘Go out there and do your job and be proud of what you do and give it your very best.’ She’s a great role model for that.”



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