POUGHKEEPSIE – Our Lady of Lourdes senior Elaina Wagner is a natural athlete, and recently the softball star signed her National Letter of Intent to play NCAA Division I softball at Villanova University.
Elaina, a Fishkill resident, began playing softball at the young age of eight, and has primarily played third base and shortstop ever since. Excelling since her freshman year, she has been a player on the school’s varsity team, receiving all-section and all-league honors every year. In her sophomore year, she was named the MVP of the league. In addition to being a Lourdean, Elaina plays for the Empire State Huskies, a girl’s fast pitch softball travel team program in Delaware.
Her favorite memory from Lourdes dates back to her freshman year. “It would have to be my freshman orientation. Little did I know that my life would change from that moment on and since then I have formed amazing friendships that will last a lifetime with whom I made unforgettable memories,” she shared.
Lourdes Athletic Director Bill Kyle commented, “I think from my personal point of view, Elaina is the strongest softball player I have ever seen come out of this area. Her talent is amazing and I’ve seen the hard work ethic. I think this is a culmination of a lot of hard work from Elaina, along with support from her parents and family.”
In addition to excelling on the field, Elaina also excels in the classroom. She has been a member of the National Honor Society for the past two years. At Villanova she plans to major in Education. Elaina chose to be a Wildcat for many reasons. “One being the amazing academics. It is a prestigious Catholic University where I can thrive both academically and athletically. When I went on my visit last year I instantly fell in love with the beautiful campus. The part that really won me over was the sense of family and community that Villanova provided. I felt that instantaneously when I met Coach Bridget, Coach Gabby, Coach Chelsea, and the entire softball team. It felt like home,” she expressed.
“Elaina is an extraordinary young woman with so many gifts,” expressed Lourdes Principal, Catherine Merryman. “Aside from her athletic talent, her kindness, her charity, and her love of her faith is something that every day inspires me. She has been a gift to Lourdes and Villanova is lucky to have her.”
Elaina answered positively when asked how COVID-19 has affected her high school career as a softball player. “COVID was definitely a stumbling block in the beginning, but like everything else, in life, I had to adjust and push forward. Although my junior year softball season was taken away from me, I had to find some way to get better,” she shared.
“Technology definitely came in handy. I was able to work out virtually with my travel team almost every day. It helped that it was during the spring because fortunately the weather was really nice so I was able to go to the local fields and work on some fielding and hitting. I honestly believe that COVID has made me a better player because I took advantage of the time it gave me to improve.”
Elaina is thankful to many people in her life as she prepares for her next chapter. “I would like to thank my amazing family, friends, past and present coaches, and teammates for their support throughout my entire life. None of this would have been possible without them. I want to specifically thank my parents for providing me with such amazing opportunities and making my dreams come true,” she said.
Family and friends, OLL teammates along with Lourdes Principal, Catherine Merryman, Athletic Director Bill Kyle, and coaches were all on hand to support and celebrate Elaina at the signing.