Excellence in Athletics Award: Rylee Donaldson

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Maddie Hamilton, Photography Editor / The Bucknellian

Lauren Medeiros, Senior Writer

Rylee Donaldson ’23, a senior from Allentown, Pa., has been awarded The Bucknellian’s Excellence in Athletics Award.

Donaldson played all four years on the Bucknell Women’s Soccer Team and contributed to two Patriot League Championship titles, in 2021 and 2022. 

Donaldson found her passion for soccer at the age of five and always strived for greatness. 

“My older brother played many sports growing up, including soccer, and I always wanted to be just like him,” Donaldson said. “I started soccer as soon as I was old enough and my dad coached me until I was a freshman in high school.” 

Donaldson’s drive and hard work ultimately paid off when she committed to Bucknell for soccer. She chose Bucknell because she felt it had the perfect balance of rigorous academics and competitive athletics. Additionally, Donaldson fell in love with the campus and the people, and knew it was the place for her. 

At Bucknell, Donaldson majored in Political Science and minored in Public Policy. Along with the soccer team, she was also a student researcher and a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. 

Regarding her soccer career at Bucknell, Donaldson earned five game-winning goals. As a key player in Bucknell’s offense, Donaldson earned various awards throughout her career, including the Patriot League Tournament MVP for 2022. 

Donaldson’s favorite memory with the team was the 2021 run to the Patriot League Championship, where Bucknell beat Boston University. 

“We were ranked 9/10 in the preseason poll, and were able to prove our talent by winning the Patriot League Championship,” Donaldson said. “Winning again in 2022 made it even better because we had the pressure of being the 2021 champs and still managed to go back to back.”

In general, Donaldson loved being a part of the Bucknell Women’s Soccer Team and everything that came from it. 

“From preseason, to the bus rides and away games, home game rituals, team bonding, winning championships, and everything in between, BUWS has made my four years here beyond amazing,” Donaldson said. 

“I learned the value of hard work and how it pays off when you are willing to put the effort in,” Donaldson said. “I learned the value of teamwork and being able to step up when the team needs it, but also how to find a different role when the team needs it. I learned that no matter the highs and lows, teammates will always have my back and vice versa. Being a part of the soccer team has made me grow as a player and as a person in ways that I would have never imagined.”

After graduating from Bucknell, Donaldson will be attending Villanova University to study public administration, where she plans on continuing her soccer career for a fifth year. After that extra year, Donaldson plans to attend law school, as she intends to become a lawyer and be involved in the government in some way. 

Before parting ways with Bucknell, Donaldson wanted to offer some final thoughts:

“Bucknell has given me irreplaceable memories and friends, and I am immensely grateful that I made the decision to play soccer here when I was a sophomore in high school,” Donaldson said. “As graduation approaches and I look back on my 4 years, I would not have wanted to do it any other way.”

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