Athlete of the Week: Julia Kelner

Mia Potamianos and Jenna Vespi

Editors of Promotion

With only a few seconds left in the state championship game, senior superstar Julia Kelner blocked the shot to ensure the win for the Jamesville-DeWitt High School Varsity Girls Basketball team. Center Kelner helped lead her team through a very strong and successful five- month-long season as co-captain, alongside senior Angela Busone. “She’s a good leader. She’s so helpful on the court and off the court,” said freshman player Sydney Baker.

Recently, Kelner was named Nice ‘n Easy Grocery Shop News Channel 9 Athlete of the Week. “This year Julia worked so hard on her game and really earned that title,” said Kelner’s teammate, junior Meg Hair. “She really deserved it,” agreed Baker. Junior Kasey Vaughn, who has been on the team with Kelner for four years, said, “on the court Julia is one of the smartest players I’ve ever played with. She’s really tough and loves to go at it at the post.”

Kelner proved to be not just a leader on the court, but on a more personal level as well. “Off the court, she’s definitely a character. She’s really funny and just a great overall teammate to have,” said Vaughn. As a captain, she really helped to welcome the new freshman players to the team.  “It was definitely a good experience for my first year on the team. They really welcomed the freshman and they made us feel at home and a big part of the team which was really awesome,” said freshman Maya Leslie.

This team’s dynamic is unlike any other. Earlier in the season the team took a trip to Washington D.C, and also to New York City. “We’re all pretty close because we had to hang out a lot, especially when we traveled,” said Kelner, which could be why the team is tightknit. Last year, the team won the Believe to Achieve award, an award given to teams whose hard work and commitment to the Central New York area are “immeasurable.”  Over the months, they have built a strong bond that will now be missed. “Ending the season is sad, because we won’t be hanging out together every day anymore,” said Hair.

After the state championship win, the team played, and lost, in the Federation Tournament. It was a tough note to end a successful season on, and Kelner admitted she did cry, but is looking forward to what’s next. “I was so motivated by my want to win and by my teammates,” said Kelner. “We all are constantly pushing each other to do our best.”

Kelner has been playing on this team since her freshman year at J-DHS and is planning to continue her basketball career at Division I Bryant University, in Smithfield, Rhode Island. “She’s going to have a very successful future at Bryant and a very successful career. She’ll do what she did here: leave her mark,” said Vaughn.

“I know that Julia is very ambitious and I know that she’ll find success in whatever she chooses to pursue.” said Busone. The J-DHS community is so proud of the success Kelner has achieved throughout her high school student-athlete career and is excited to see where her future brings her.

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