FULTON — One of Oswego County’s star scholar-athletes will continue her family lineage following her nomination and acceptance to go to West Point later this year.
Fulton lacrosse standout Alexa Patterson was nominated by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand earlier this year to go to the prestigious military academy. She was one of only four students throughout the state to be nominated by Gillibrand.
“It is my honor to nominate these talented young leaders to our nation’s service academies,” said Gillibrand in a release, adding that nominations are based on academic records, leadership potential, and overall achievement.
Achievement is no stranger to Patterson. A scholar-athlete throughout her high school career, she has been a leading force in the Raiders’ lacrosse program along with her sisters, Keara and Carleigh.
Her lacrosse skills helped her earn a spot at West Point, while there she will play for Army’s NCAA Division I lacrosse team and study their management and medical programs.
“(I was) introduced through lacrosse, and that was the step I needed to take to get in,” Patterson said. She added that West Point’s coaches and athletic advisers helped her secure a spot on the team.
Patterson won’t be the only member of her family to play Division I lacrosse. Her older sister Keara plays for Quinnipiac University in Connecticut and was a big inspiration for her to continue the lacrosse family tradition, she said.
“My (older) sister did well, and we all wanted to follow in her footsteps,” said Alexa, whose younger sister Carleigh also plays varsity lacrosse for Fulton.
Alexa mentioned that her uncle attended the Air Force Academy and played lacrosse there. She said her uncle is the closest connection to the military in her family and that sparked her interest to go to West Point.
According to the academy’s official website (Westpoint.edu), getting into West Point is no easy feat. A student can’t be admitted without a congressional nomination and must go through a six-week cadet basic training before attendance.
Patterson said she is more than ready to take on the challenge.
“I really wanted to go to West Point because I knew it would challenge me in every way,” she said.
She will be one of 45 athletes on the lacrosse team. In the 2021 Patriot League’s preseason poll, the Army Black Knights were picked to finish third. The league is composed of several leading universities in the East.
Patterson said she is excited to work with the Knights’ players and coaches and contribute to the team’s success. She expects the transition to be smooth from the Fulton Raiders to the Knights.
“It’s going to go well with all the connections with the older girls,” Patterson said.
Patterson is currently a senior at G. Ray Bodley High School. She said following graduation, her “summer vacation” would be short because she is scheduled to start basic training on June 28.
She plans to spend her short break with her family and get ready for basic training for the academy. She said that she is nervous about attending the school and expects the first six weeks to be a challenge.
“I am nervous, but it’s more of an excited nervous,” she said.
Christopher Ells, Fulton’s athletic director, said he has seen Patterson continue to improve in lacrosse since she was in seventh grade.
“We are very excited for her to reach this accomplishment. Alexa is a tough and educated worker,” Ells said. “She does a great job advocating for everyone here.”