COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State senior women’s lacrosse player Bridget Vilbig has been named one of 10 finalist for the Yeardley Reynolds Love (YRL) Unsung Hero Award. The award recognizes the accomplishments of two Division I lacrosse players (one male, one female) who demonstrate dedication, integrity, humility, hard work, community service, leadership, kindness and sportsmanship – all qualities that Yeardley Love exemplified throughout her life. The two award winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 25.
Nominated by her coaching staff, Vilbig, from Bethpage, N.Y., is a kind and warm-hearted young woman that has shown a great deal of growth over her collegiate career, not only on the field, but especially off the field as well.
“I cannot think of a finer person to serve as a representative for the One Love Foundation,” Ohio State head coach Alexis Venechanos said. “I am certain that Bridget’s maturity and charisma will radiate in her pursuit of excellence in any endeavor that she pursues. Bridget’s personality is naturally suited to lead in any atmosphere. Whenever I spend time with Bridget in a group of people, her ability to engage others always impresses me. Her light-hearted, humorous, and genuine personality shine both as a player and an individual. She always makes others around her feel welcome and also is very patient with others. Bridget’s patient and caring personality serves as a beacon that all of her teammates and peers look to for guidance and understanding.”
“Bridget’s commitment to her team, in addition to her community, made her an excellent choice as a finalist for this special award,” said Chris Solomon, Love’s cousin and co-chair of the YRL Unsung Hero Committee. “Her ability to balance her athletic career, her academics and her significant volunteer commitments in the Columbus area makes Bridget a special individual who embodies the characteristics of a YRL Unsung Hero.”
Bridget not only has the great personality to become a well-rounded and fully developed student-athlete, but also possesses the knowledge and skills needed to succeed both socially and academically. Her mentoring extends well beyond the field of competition. She volunteers her time with programs such as Best Buddies, Special Olympics, Second & Seven and Soles4Soles. Through Best Buddies, a program to befriend someone with an intellectual disability, she has developed amazing friendships with local children. This fall the Buckeyes volunteered more than 450 hours in one month and Bridget led the team in service hours. She was also recently selected by her academic advisor and coaching staff as one of 10 student-athletes – out of an impressive 1,200 nominees – who will travel to Bolivia this summer to provide relief for the poor as a part of the Sole4Soles program.
“Bridget’s continuous work in the community is what proves to me that her educational understanding goes well beyond the depths of what being a student-athlete really means,” Venechanos added. “Her ability to think outside of the box, a skill many praise, is one of the reasons behind her many achievements as a mentor and a leader. Bridget truly embodies everything that I try to teach the young women I coach.”
Vilbig’s playing career recently came to an end earlier this month. She was part of a senior class that recorded 45 victories, which tied for the most ever over a four-year period, and helped the Buckeyes to two consecutive NCAA tournaments. She is a three-time OSU scholar-athlete and is on pace to graduate in December with a degree in special education.
About the One Love Foundation
The One Love Foundation in honor of Yeardley Love was created in 2010 to honor the memory of Yeardley Love, a UVA senior who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend just weeks before graduation. After her death, Yeardley’s family and friends were surprised to learn the statistics – that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in this country will be in a violent relationship in his or her lifetime and that young women ages 16-24 are at 3x greater risk. Today, One Love’s ambitious goal is to end relationship violence by educating, empowering and activating young people in a movement for social change. To achieve this, One Love develops creative technology-based tools and resources that meet young people where they are and inspire them to action. For more information, please visit www.joinonelove.org.
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