McSpedon wins FCIAC's Carlucci Scholarship Award

Like everyone else, Julia McSpedon has 24 hours in a day.

That reminder is needed, however, when discussing everything McSpedon finds time to do.

At Ridgefield High, McSpedon (a senior who will graduate Friday) played three sports each school year, kept her GPA well over 4.0, made the National Honor Society, took nine AP classes, and served on a leadership council. Earlier this spring, she was named the 2018 CAS-CIAC Female Scholar Athlete from Ridgefield High.

Outside of high school, McSpedon has been just as busy. She was a member of the Ridgefield Chapter of the National Charity League (earning a National Service Award), an usher and altar server at St. Mary Parish, and a summer camp counselor at the Waccabuc Country Club. Since kindergarten, McSpedon has been a member of the Girl Scouts of America (receiving the group’s Silver Award) and also taken lessons at the Millenium School of Irish Dance in Ridgefield.

“If I had a secret, I wouldn’t be as stressed as I was for the past four years,” said McSpedon when asked how she actually does all she did. “At times, yes, I do feel over-committed, but I would never have ever given up any of the activities I participate in.

“I love what I do so passionately that I have been willing to take on much of the extra stress of time management so that I can play the sports I love, take challenging academic courses, and participate in other extracurricular activities that I have been involved in for many years.”

McSpedon’s accomplishments haven’t gone unnoticed: At last week’s Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference Awards Night in Norwalk, McSpedon was one of two winners of the RoseMarie Carlucci Scholarship Award.

The only scholarship honor given each year by the FCIAC, the Carlucci Award annually bestows a plaque and $800 for college expenses to two senior female athletes — Sarah Johnson of St. Joseph in Trumbull was named the other winner.

The award is named after Carlucci, a longtime teacher and coach at Westhill High School in Stamford who was killed in an automobile accident in 2007.

McSpedon learned that she was one of the two winners last month.

“I came home after an event one day and there was a message on our answering machine,” she said. “My mom called me downstairs and I replayed the message from the FCIAC Commissioner congratulating me and telling me that I was a winner.

“I actually cried when I got the news because I never thought I would receive the award out of all of the amazing female student-athletes in Ridgefield, let alone all of Fairfield County.”

According to its stated criteria, the Carlucci scholarships are based on dedication to female athletics and the pursuit of excellence. Emphasis is placed on participation in more than one sport, but the committee may also consider academic performance and financial need.

At Ridgefield High, McSpedon played field hockey in the fall (receiving All-FCIAC honorable mention as a junior and senior) and ran indoor track during the winter. She played softball for her first three years before switching to outdoor track this spring.

Her final sports season taught McSpedon a lesson.

“I had only started throwing javelin this season,” said McSpedon, who is headed to Notre Dame this fall. “Having never competed in a throwing event before, I had no expectation or even hope of qualifying or placing, but on my second throw I threw just over 90 feet, which landed me a [qualifying] spot at the Class LL state championship.”

McSpedon went on to finish sixth at the conference championships (90’3”) and 11th at the Class LL meet (97’3”).

“I completely surprised myself, my parents, and my coaches,” said McSpedon. “I was capable of way more than I knew or expected, which was a powerful moment for me as an athlete.”