Brianna Williams of Bronx Science was honored with the PSAL Wingate Award on Tuesday. The PSAL Wingate Award honors New York City Public High School student-athletes in their senior year for their outstanding achievements in their respective sports. The coaches, commissioners and sport’s coordinators nominate athletes for this award. A committee, comprised of PSAL staff, reviews the nominated candidates and chooses the most accomplished student-athlete in each sport as the recipient of this most prestigious award.
Williams made her name in PSAL tennis from her first year at Bronx Science. Williams did not lose a single match representing the Wolverines in the regular season, playoffs or individual tournament of her freshman campaign in 2012, as she took home both the PSAL singles title and the Mayor's Cup All-City singles championship. She was undefeated again as a sophomore on her way to another All-City individual title. With her influence on the Bronx Science tennis program helping to turn a last place team into a perennial contender, other young tennis talents began to see Science as one of the elite programs in the city. Several more impact players arrived to join Williams as the team earned the number one seed in the PSAL team event each of the last two seasons. With all the pieces finally around her, Williams captained the Wolverines to their first ever PSAL team title this past October.
Known for her booming serve, agility, speed, aggressive style of play, positive temperament, modesty and competitive spirit, Williams was honored with the sportsmanship award at the 2014 New Balance National High School Tennis Championships at Harvard University; an event where she won six of seven matches played on the national stage.
"I'm really honored to be named the Wingate recipient this year," said Williams."This award is special to me because it sums up my tennis accomplishments both individually and with a team of amazing girls who have supported me through everything. When I graduate, this award will remind me of my Bronx Science experience."
Faced with a wrist injury that prevented her from defending her Mayor's Cup crown in spring 2015, Brianna managed the following four months of recovery with grace and a determination to help her team. With migration of PSAL Girls' Tennis to the fall semester shortening the off-season, Williams knew she would not have time to recover use of her dominant right hand before it finished healing. Working with her coach, family and teammates to learn how to play left handed, Williams went undefeated in PSAL dual match play as a lefty doubles player and even won a singles match playing lefty.
"Her efforts this year, playing lefty, nearly outweigh all the titles and accolades of her previous three years," said Williams' coach at Bronx Science, Jeff Menaker. "I knew from her freshman year that she would end up one of the greatest PSAL players ever. It's Brianna's character and leadership that set her apart in my eyes. Another kid might have given up the season with an injury healing. Brianna looked for any possible way to contribute to her team."