Even during the pandemic, Seneca High School senior Cassidy Strittmatter keeps running.
She runs track, runs student council as vice president and runs swim practices for kids over the summer. Now, as her high school days come to a close, she is being recognized for her efforts to keep moving forward.
Strittmatter is the high school’s first woman of the year, an award created by the New Jersey Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NJAIAW).
“It means so much to me,” she said. “It represents the ideals that I’ve hoped to achieve through my four years of high school. It shows that all the things that I’ve been doing paid off.”
The award recognizes women athletes in college and high school who are leaders, have high academic and athletic achievement and serve their communities.
“It’s to bring recognition to the triumphs that women have overcome over the years and showcase how much our female athletes are doing, not only on the fields, but in the classroom,” said Tara Rienecker, president of NJAIAW. “Making note of it and not forgetting about it this year in particular was really important to us.”
Awardees usually represent colleges and high schools across the state and are honored with an in person luncheon and tickets to a Seton Hall basketball game. This year, due to the pandemic, Strittmatter and others were celebrated in a virtual ceremony and will receive a silver clock in the mail.
Strittmatter has made the most of her unconventional senior year. She said she’s lucky to have been able to still compete as a member of Seneca’s field hockey, swim and track teams and become a finalist for the state’s DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) business competition.
As vice president of the school’s student council, Strittmatter has used her influence to help others currently struggling. She’s helped organize holiday food drives and works on a fundraiser for cancer research.
“We are definitely keeping a positive mindset and trying to support others,” the student said. “I think that’s been a great thing, because it just helps you stay connected, even when you know you’re going through these hard times.”
Strittmatter wants her classmates to know that even as the world seems to be on hold, everyone can keep working on themselves. She’s been reading for fun, something she hasn’t done in years.
“It’s okay to be upset about things that are happening right now,” she noted. “But, you also have to remember to just keep pushing yourself. This is going to end at some point, so just try to find new ways to better yourself.”
Strittmatter will go on to play field hockey at James Madison University in Virginia, where she plans to study finance. One thing she’ll miss, though, is her “Seneca family.”
“I’ve always been someone who loves to be around people,” she explained. “The most special thing about playing sports at Seneca are the connections that I’ve had, the friendships I’ve made and the memories I have with those people.”