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Athlete of the Week: Westfield Vocational’s Megan Ilnicky

WESTFIELD, Mass—Rarely are high school students clear as to what they want to pursue as adults. For Westfield Vocational’s standout goalie Megan Ilnicky, her plans fo well beyond the soccer field, basketball court and softball diamond. They instead begin in the not-so-standard classroom setting working in manufacturing technology.

“I was actually introduced to in in seventh grade by my uncle when he did a (Westfield Vocational) women’s “You Can Be Anything” day,” Ilnicky said, “It was for women in unusual careers and we were able to explore different careers in different shops throughout (Westfield Vocational).”

Ilnicky’s accomplished athletic resume pales in comparison to what the senior has achieved in her program. In the past year, Ilnicky has established herself as the top student in her class, promoted manufacturing technology to other young women across Western Massachusetts and began working at the Connecticut Center for Advance Technology on the campus of Pratt and Whitney.

“I like being different sometimes not following the path others have followed,” Ilnicky said, “I like to take my own direction and go where I want to go.”

During her time at Westfield Vocational, Ilnicky has impressed many with her growth as an athlete and individual; None, more so, than her head coach, Maddy Mangini.

“To have Megan and her friends that surround her to be the leaders by example that they are, it just helps embellish our programs, both sports and the shops,” Mangini said, “When you’re surrounded by good people like that, it tends to bring out the best in each other.”

So with such a well-versed background in many facets of life, the heart and soul of the soccer program plans to use those on and off-field experiences to carve the path for her career.

“I may not do sports but sports will always be a big part of my life,” Ilnicky said, “Whether it’s playing like I did through high school, watching it on TV, maybe coaching in the future, it’ll be a big part of my life even though my career may not be directly related to it.”

For someone who has served as the standard on the field and, more importantly, in the classroom, the fear of post-graduation life appears to be nothing more than an afterthought.

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