St. Mary’s Shae O’Rourke captures USA Today New York State Female Athlete of the Year

St. Mary's Shae O'Rourke captures USA Today New York State Female Athlete of the Year

Shae O’Rourke is still three weeks away from season-opening practice with St. Mary’s of Lancaster.

But before ushering in 2021, the Lancers’ senior must say goodbye to her last season one more time as she has been selected by USA Today as the Girls Athlete of the Year in New York State and the state Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

O’Rourke, who has verbally committed to play at South Carolina of the Southeastern Conference, will compete for top honors in the country against other state players of the year during the USA Today High School Sports Awards Show at 8 p.m. Thursday. The event, hosted by Michael Strahan and Rob Gronkowski, can be watched on any smart device through the USA Today Sports Wire and News Wire Channels, available on Roku, Samsung, Amazon Fire and most smart TVs.

“I appreciate it,” O’Rourke said of the honors, noting they are a product of hard work. “I wouldn’t have done it without my coach and teammates who always want the best for me. It’s just such a surreal feeling.

The two honors are the latest O’Rourke earned following a season in which she led Western New York in goals with 39 as she surpassed 100 career goals in helping the Lancers to an 8-2-1 mark. She needed just 10 games to amass the total after finishing with 32 in 15 games in 2019. O’Rourke, the all-time leader in goals in a season (44) and career (115) at St. Mary’s, earned first team all-state as a freshman and sophomore and All-Region Northeast as a sophomore.

“Shae has had an incredible run as a high school soccer player and has received some awesome, well-deserved accolades along the way,” Lancers soccer coach Brittany Heist said. “The honor of receiving both, soccer state player of the year and female athlete of the year from USA Today is an exceptional honor for Shae to be receiving in New York State. … To be noted as the best athlete and player this season is something that I think is a fantastic way to finish the 2020 season.”

O’Rourke was named state Gatorade Player of the Year in June. She also was named state Player of the Year in Class C and Player of the Year in Western New York by area coaches.

On being named USA Today Female Athlete of the Year for New York State, O’Rourke said: “Not only did I reach my soccer goals, but I reached a goal where I can be a great athlete. Winning athlete of the year for New York has been such an amazing award to receive. I felt so overwhelmed with happiness. I knew that with the help of everyone, not only can I be a good soccer player but an even better athlete. Just so grateful for the award.”

O’Rourke plans to watch the award ceremony from home.

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