Class of 2021: Stillwater’s Wagner plays on, off the football field

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STILLWATER – On the football field, she was a key competitor as the Stillwater High School women’s football team produced one of the largest multi-year races in section track history. II.

Off the pitch, Devon Wagner’s impact was even greater.

“He’s someone who always does the right thing,” said Christine Ihnatolya, head coach of Stillwater women’s football, “even when no one is watching.”

Ready to study finance at the University of Tampa, Wagner was twice captain of the Stillwater women’s soccer team, which won the Class C State Championships in 2018 and 2019. Stillwater also participated in the game. Championship in 2017 and, following that game’s loss, set up an unbeaten streak that lasted 52 games before ending earlier this year in the “Fall II” season created to host competitions for school sports teams unable to compete last fall due to concerns over the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Wagner has provided consistent leadership and solid play during his five seasons playing varsity soccer. Away from the field, Wagner was involved in community service, active in her church, participated in leadership programs – and, within weeks, led a fundraising effort that raised thousands of dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which earned Wagner the Upstate New York Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Student of the Year Award in 2019.

Volunteering and trying to help others will also be areas of interest for 18-year-old Wagner during her college days.

“It makes me feel whole,” Wagner said.

Wagner’s father, Brad, had entered the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s philanthropic contest for adults in 2010. Nine years later, after attending an event where Wagner heard about the contest for teenagers, Wagner entered. In recent years, several members of his family had been diagnosed with cancer and his uncle Tim Ferrante had been diagnosed earlier that year.

“So I wanted to do something,” said Wagner, “but didn’t know what to do because I was 16 – and what can I do? “

The student of the year event, she quickly decided, was it.

Promotion 2021: profiles of the best graduates in the region

“When I heard about it, I was like, ‘This is exactly what I have to do,'” said Wagner. “I went home and signed up without my parents even knowing. . . . I just wanted to help.

Through a series of fundraising events, a letter-writing and door-to-door fundraising campaign, Wagner’s “Team Believe” raised approximately $ 64,000. As part of the recognition for raising so much money, Wagner was able to set aside a $ 50,000 research grant in honor of his uncle – who, the week Wagner found out it would be possible, learned that ‘he was in remission from the disease.

The eldest of Brad Wagner and Kiki Wagner’s three children, Devon Wagner said she treasured her high school experiences with community service. She won’t be playing college football, but also has many unforgettable memories playing for Stillwater. There are all the victories, of course, but also the camaraderie of becoming a championship-level team.

“Just seeing our team believe in ourselves and help each other – the brotherhood we’ve all experienced,” Wagner said of what she will remember most from her high school football career. “It really created a family that I will never forget.”

Wagner, a graduate of a class of 78 stillwater students, was instrumental in fostering such an environment. Ihnatolya said she appreciates the way Wagner always looks out for her teammates on and off the pitch.

“She was always watching me too,” Ihnatolya said. “She really tried to make everyone around her feel special.”

This quality made her an ideal captain.

“A captain is someone you admire, both on and off the pitch,” said Ihnatolya. “He’s someone who is a leader on and off the pitch, and these are qualities that [Wagner] encompasses the community, city, school and sports field.

Promotion 2021: profiles of the best graduates in the region

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Categories: Class of 2021, High school sports, News, Saratoga County, Sports


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