Valley’s Leidy awarded Williams Spirit Award

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Recent Juniata Valley High School graduate Taylor Leidy was honored with the Lynnette Williams Spirit Award Sunday at the Blair Regional YMCA.

Leidy is the first non-Blair County player to earn the award in its 18-year history.

“It means a lot to me, especially because I’m the first person from out of Blair County to win the award,” Leidy said. “To know the respect I’ve given to these refs throughout all my years playing basketball was noticed means a lot.”

Williams was a local standout in basketball before she died in an automobile accident on Oct. 12, 1999.

The award was created to recognize a valuable player who performs with a love of and respect for the game, demonstrating those characteristics through her interactions with teammates, coaches, opponents and officials.

Beth Williams, Lynnette’s mother, was on hand for the presentation from Reliance Bank’s Jack McDougal.

Leidy, the Lady Hornets’ point guard, helped Juniata Valley make back-to-back appearances in the PIAA Class 1A state championship game during her junior and senior seasons.

Leidy was a 1,000-point scorer, and despite being listed at just 5-foot-4 inches, she had more than 500 rebounds in her career.

“I think with the way the award reads, she’s the most appropriate person,” Juniata Valley coach Rachelle Hopsicker said. “I did some reading on the award, and everything I read just made me think of Taylor.”

Leidy, who plays in the Blair Regional YMCA Summer League alongside Hopsicker, will continue her basketball and track and field career at Lock Haven University. Leidy was a second-team Mirror all-star in both sports during her senior year.

“I’m very excited,” Leidy said. “It’s sad leaving behind Juniata Valley, because I had such a strong bond with all my teammates and players, but I’m excited to start a new chapter in my life.”