Senior Spotlight: Latrobe captain hoped to lift Wildcats into title contention

Sunday, June 7, 2020 | 8:00 AM

Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight WPIAL spring athletes whose senior years were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ainsley Novotny and her senior teammates worked the past three years to help Latrobe girls lacrosse compete with the WPIAL powerhouses.

The group hoped this would be their year to contend.

The coronavirus pandemic prevented that from happening, as the PIAA canceled the season before it began.

It was a disappointing end to the high school careers for Sidnie Gmuer, Ella Hill, Taylor Hochard, Emily Hoffman, Carlin Johns and Novotny, but the virus couldn’t take away what they did accomplish, notably Novotny.

The senior midfielder was an All-WPIAL selection last year after scoring 33 goals. She finished her career with 51.

The Penn State-bound Wildcat plans to continue playing lacrosse at the club level but will focus on her studies in international politics in Happy Valley.

“She’s a fierce competitor on the field, always giving 100% and then some of herself during every game,” Latrobe coach Kaytie Costic said of the team captain. “She’s also a natural leader and role model on the field who leads by example but is always willing to help her teammates learn or shine on the field.

“All around, she’s a well-rounded player and a great individual that I’ve been honored to know and coach over the last four years.”

How have you been keeping busy during the coronavirus pandemic?

I’ve done some projects around the house and gone on walks most days with my family.

Have you been doing any lacrosse activities?

My team holds weekly Zoom calls to catch up with everyone. I’ve gone over to Saint Vincent’s field to shoot and done wall ball against my house.

If there was a lacrosse season, what were you hoping to accomplish personally and as a team?

Personally, I was hoping to reach 100 career goals. As a team, we wanted to make playoffs and give the Pittsburgh schools better competition.

What did you like most about lacrosse?

Playing alongside some of my closest friends and the feeling that I could do anything when I stepped on the field.

What are some other activities you were involved in at Latrobe?

I was the treasurer of the yearbook and a member of National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Link Crew, Letterman’s Club and the varsity volleyball team.

What was your reaction like when you found out you wouldn’t be returning to school this spring?

I was more upset than anything. No one wants to miss their senior prom, and the possibility of not having a normal graduation ceremony was something I never thought would happen.

What have you missed most during this quarantine period?

I’ve missed lacrosse a lot being that it’s been what has filled my springs for the past three years and just seeing my friends at school every day.

What are your immediate plans during the green phase?

Definitely going somewhere to sit down and eat instead of getting takeout.

What has been your favorite show to binge?

It’s between “Friends” and “Psych.” They’re both so good.

If you could have dinner with any three celebrities, who would they be?

Ariana Grande, Harry Styles and Ryan Reynolds.

If you could give a speech at graduation, what would your message be?

Don’t take your high school years for granted. I started the year wanting it to be over, and now it’s gone a lot sooner than expected, and I’ll never get some of the end activities back.

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.


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