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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: PAIR OF HORSEHEADS ATHLETES SIGN TO PLAY IN COLLEGE (6 PHOTOS) (2021-11-18)

By Brian Fees
Southern Tier Sports Report
A pair of Horseheads athletes made it official recently as they signed to play college sports.

Softball standout Olivia Packard signed with UMass (Amherst) to play Division I softball, while Alexis Guzylak signed with Bloomsburg, to play Division II lacrosse.

For the two athletes it was a special day.

“I am so excited to get a chance to play,” Guzylak said. “Just to continue playing is everything I was looking for, and I’m really excited.”

For Packard it’s special to have her signing day and get a chance to move on and play college softball next year.

“It’s amazing, it’s really a dream come true,” Packard said. ‘I’m so excited to play at the next level.

“I’m just extremely grateful for everybody who came out today. It made me think about how they impacted the process and pushed me to be the best I can be.”

The Southern Tier Sports Report did a previous story on Packard’s decision to choose Umass. Packard commits to UMass

For Guzylak choosing a college was tough with everything going on with Covid.

“It was very difficult, and a long process for me,” she said. “But, I’m glad everything worked out in the end and I cannot be happier.

“The way the coach and I clicked. I met the team and they are all very nice and it seemed like an environment I wanted to be in.”

Bloomsburg is looking at Guzylak as a midfielder and someone who can take the draw.

“Just coming in and giving it my best shot int he midfield,” Guzylak said. “Also, taking the draw is something they are looking for from me. They like my commitment to work hard, pushing the other players to their potential and giving it my all.”

For the Horseheads senior there are some things she wants to keep working one before college.

“I definitely think I can improve on my defense,” Guzylak said. “There is always room to improve and keep getting better as a player all the way around.”

Playing in Pennsylvania, not too far from her home, is something that was nice for Guzylak.

“I am definitely very involved with my family,” Guzylak said. “Don’t want to be too far away from them and like having them at the games to support me.”

Having her college decision made helps the Horseheads star be able to focus on her senior year.

“I’m every excited, it’s nice knowing so I don’t have to worry about it or stress about the process,” Guzylak said. “I can worry about other things I like to do and not have to stress about the recruiting process and enjoy my senior ear.”

Before college there is one more high school season to play.

“I am very excited about that as well,” Guzylak said. “Hopefully as normal as possible and it will be fun.”

One thing that makes this last high school season even more special is having her mom as coach.

“It’s very special for me,” Guzylak said. “Emotional, obviously, I am excited to have one more season with her.”

Next year will be different not having her mom as her coach, but Guzylak knows her mom will always be there supporting her.

“It’s going to be different, because I’ve had her there my whole life,” Guzylak said. “She’s coached me all the way up, but I’m excited for change, I think it will be good, a good opportunity for me. She’ll be there supporting anyways.”
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IN TOP PHOTO: Horseheads’ Olivia Packard (left) and Alexis Guzylak. . . PHOTOS BY BRIAN FEES

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