YRL Unsung Hero Award 2017 Winners Announced!
- May 23, 2017
- By Sharon Robinson
Abby Finkelston of Princeton University and Liam Driscoll of College of the Holy Cross named recipients of One Love’s 2017 Yeardley Reynolds Love Unsung Hero Award.
The One Love Foundation is pleased to announce that Abby Finkelston of Princeton University and Liam Driscoll of Holy Cross are the winners of the 2017 YRL Unsung Hero Award. The award is given annually to one male and one female Division I lacrosse player who demonstrate dedication, integrity, humility, hard work, community service, leadership, kindness and sportsmanship - all qualities Yeardley Love exemplified throughout her life.
Abby and Liam represent the best of college athletics and were chosen from a pool of outstanding nominees. All of the student-athletes nominated for the award deserve recognition for balancing academics, athletics and extra-curricular activities, so it is exceptional to be able to highlight these individuals who also find time to significantly give back to their teams, universities and communities.
“It is an honor to present Liam Driscoll and Abby Finkelston with the 2017 YRL Unsung Hero Award," said Yeardley’s cousin and Committee Member Gregg Langhoff. “Liam and Abby have demonstrated what it means to be an unsung hero. The work they’ve done in their communities exemplifies what a fully rounded student-athlete can accomplish.” As winners of the award, the One Love Foundation will make a donation in their name to a charity of their choice.
Abby Finkelston is a rising senior on the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team. After sustaining severe injuries in a car accident in high school, Abby rebounded to become a starting attacker both her freshman and sophomore years. This year she had another setback with hip injuries that took her off the playing field. Through all of this, Abby has been a positive leader for her team. She even used her injuries to help others in similar circumstances by founding the Wounded Tigers Network, a resource and support system for injured student-athletes at Princeton. Instead of letting injuries and hardships slow her down, Abby has used her trying experiences as motivation to better herself and help others. In addition to being an exemplary student-athlete, Abby has also been a longtime member of Best Buddies and is actively involved in its Princeton chapter.
“With Abby, it is never about what she can get, but always about what she can give,” Princeton coach Chris Sailer explains. “I am so proud of her for remaining an integral part of our team after her serious injuries. She conceived a way to make a positive difference and remained upbeat, always having the best interests of the team at heart.”
Upon accepting the award, Abby added, “The YRL Unsung Hero Award is incredibly special. The legacy of Yeardley Love is one that will never fade away in the lacrosse community and I believe Yeardley's life has united all of us in a truly remarkable way. Without even knowing Yeardley personally, she has impacted my life tremendously and from this day forward I aspire to make her proud.“
Liam is a 2017 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and will be pursuing a teaching position at Annunciation Catholic School in Denver, Colorado. A senior captain and lifelong athlete, this Crusader chose Holy Cross because of the many service opportunities that exist in Worcester and because the men’s lacrosse program embraces this culture. A highlight of his collegiate career was participating in the Agape Community Immersion Trip in which he helped revitalize a terrain in Western Massachusetts. He is also deeply involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
"Liam possesses superior leadership qualities that make him an inspiration for his peers on and off the field. He is truly a man for others through his extensive service involvement and overall selflessness. It is such an honor for our program to be associated with an award that is named after Yeardley Love. Her legacy lives on through the important message that the One Love Foundation continues to convey and we support all of their amazing work,” said Coach Judd Lattimore.
Liam believes that “as members of the Holy Cross lacrosse team, we are called to be 'men for others' in the Worcester community, in the classroom, and on the lacrosse field. This standard demands a commitment to serve others, compassion for our neighbors, and a relentless work ethic every day. I am humbled to be a nominee for this award, presented by an outstanding organization. The One Love Foundation does an extraordinary job of educating young people about relationship abuse. This is a critical issue that we need to shed light on moving forward.”
While Abby and Liam were chosen as winners for the award, each of the ten finalists have made significant contributions to their teams and communities in ways that cannot be measured in goals or saves. They are truly exemplary students that epitomize the best in collegiate sports. Each finalist was highlighted earlier this month on One Love’s website and social media. The men’s finalists were Tyler Pfister from The Ohio State University, Brady Dove from the United States Naval Academy, Mark Rizzo from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Ryan Lukacovic from the University of Virginia, a tri-captain of the men’s lacrosse team who biked across the country to fundraise for the foundation last summer. The women’s finalists were Maddie Curley from Boston University, Katie Burgee from The Ohio State University, Alina Atayan from Marquette University, and Lauren D’Amore from the University of Pennsylvania.