Spotswood High School's Stephanie Yarnall was named as a recipient of the 2023 NJSIAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Photo Credit: Debra Yarnall
By Dawn Miller
Last UpdatedJune 10, 2023 at 3:59 PM
SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Spotswood High School senior Stephanie Yarnall was named the Chargers 2023 recipient of the NJSIAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Yarnall was one of 380 plus seniors honored at the 30th annual NJSIAA Scholar-Athlete Luncheon on May 21 at Edison's Pines Manor. One senior from all the Garden State high schools competing in the NJSIAA was chosen based on academic and athletic achievement as well as community service. Each deserving senior also received a monetary scholarship. Since the program began in 1993, the NJSIAA has awarded more than 2.5 billion in scholarship money to senior award winners throughout the state.
"I was honestly so surprised to hear that I won the Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, because when you hear about these big prestigious awards, you never think it's going to go to yourself," Yarnall said.
Yarnall has been a four-year varsity letter winner for soccer and track during her time as a Charger. The Milltown native began her soccer career as a striker freshman year, before playing defense her sophomore and junior years. This last season, Yarnall moved to forward and was a part of the program's first Greater Middlesex Conference Blue Division title since 2015.
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"One of my favorite highlights from my time as a Charger had to be this past soccer season, where we had the opportunity to play South River on Crabiel Field under the lights," Yarnall said. "At this point of the season, holding the division title really came down to this one game. It was against our biggest rivals, and it was being played in Milltown. Just the fact that this game was on the field I had grown up on made it so much more exciting for us Milltowners."
"We came ready to play our best game yet," Yarnall continued. "So many people showed up from our high school as well as from Joyce Kilmer, and we ended up winning the game 3-0. I am happy to say that I had one of the goals that contributed to our win that day, and after our next game we secured the Blue Division title."
Yarnall was also a member of the Chargers girls winter and spring varsity track and field teams for four years, running the 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1600-meter distances. She's also been a member of the 4x800-meter and 4x400-meter relay teams.
As a part of the Chargers girls track and field program, Yarnall has earned the Top Newcomer Award her freshman year and the Captains Award. This year she was awarded the Most Valuable Runner Award and was named to the Greater Middlesex Conference All-White Division Team for the spring track and field season. Yarnall has been Spotswood High School's Student-Athlete of the Month three times.
Away from the athletic field, Yarnall has also stood out in the classroom at Spotswood High School. The teen has been on the honor roll for every marking period during her time as a Charger. Recently, she received the AP Scholar Award and has been named the valedictorian of Spotswood High School's Class of 2023. Yarnall is also a member of the National Honor Society where she served as vice-president this year.
"One of my proudest accomplishments in high school was organizing and helping run our badminton tournament, where our proceeds went to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of our late classmate Jason D'Angelo," Yarnall said.
D'Angelo passed away from cancer in November 2021.
Yarnall has been a member of Spotswood High School Heroes and Cool Kids program, where teens mentor younger students in the Spotswood School District, since her sophomore year. She was the treasurer for the Chargers Class of 2023.
At the June 8 Spotswood High School Senior Awards Night, Yarnall received the John J. Carney Volunteerism Award, the Outstanding Achievement in Math Award, the Outstanding Achievement in Science Award, the Milltown Democratic Organization Service Award, the Milltown PTO Award and the Gloria Bradford Scholarship Award.
Yarnall will be attending the Honors College at the University of Vermont in Burlington this fall. She plans on majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Business Administration.
"It was such an amazing feeling to be truly recognized for all the work I had put in as a Charger," Yarnall said of being named an NJSIAA Scholar-Athlete. "It reassured me that all this hard work was taken note of and appreciated by the school."