By Lisa Capobianco
Team Lauryn will return to the Apple Harvest Road Race this year in memory of Lauryn Ossola, a former YMCA Stingray and Lady Knight’s swimmer at Southington High School who died tragically in car accident two years ago.
Team Lauryn will participate in the 5K/5 mile Road Race at the 45th Annual Apple Harvest Festival on Sunday, Oct. 6 to raise money for an academic scholarship in Lauryn’s memory. A graduating swimmer of the high school’s Lady Knights Swim and Dive Team who will be a student of a four-year university or college receives the scholarship.
In May, Team Lauryn awarded the scholarship to high school senior Molly Potter. Lauryn’s father, Jerry Nickodemski, said he will never forget that moment when he made a difference in someone else’s life.
“We’ve done a lot of things to make sure no one ever forgets Lauryn, but handing Molly the envelope with the check touched me in a way that made me feel like we did something that ensured that Lauryn would live in the heart and mind of an individual for the rest of her life,” Nickodemski said.
Lisa Ossola, Lauryn’s mother, said roughly 130 people joined the team during last year’s road race, and hopes more people will sign up this year to keep her daughter’s memory alive.
“I want them to realize they are doing something positive for the community and to remember and honor Lauryn, to never let her be forgotten,” she said.
Friends and family remember Lauryn as a passionate and dedicated swimmer who served as a role model “inside and outside the pool.” Not only did Lauryn serve as a four-year member of the high school’s swim and dive team, but she also served as a captain of the team during her senior year.
Lisa said Lauryn had a positive impact on her swim coaches and teammates, especially the younger swimmers who looked up to her as a role model.
“She was a genuine, sincere person who cared about other people.” “People looked up to her.”
Lauryn also enjoyed the Apple Harvest Festival. Even when Lauryn attended Villanova University in Pennsylvania, Lisa said her daughter still made an effort to attend the annual event. Lisa said she used to send Lauryn apple fritters by mail if she could not attend the festival.
“She loved fall.” “She loved the Apple Harvest Festival.”
Anyone interested in joining Team Lauryn can visit http://www.active.com/running/southingtonct/apple-harvest-festival-road-races-2013 to choose one of the Team Lauryn races. Anyone interested in making a donation to the scholarship fund without racing can send a check payable to: “Lauryn E. Ossola Swimming Scholarship” and mail to: UBIFCU, RE: Lauryn E. Ossola Swimming, 120 Woodford Ave., Plainville, CT 06062.
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By Lisa Capobianco