Warren multi-sport standout Mohney will play soccer at Fredonia
If you’re a sports fan living in Warren County, no doubt you’ve run across Sawyer Mohney through the years.
“When I was younger, I participated in swimming, soccer, basketball, softball and Tae Kwon Do,” said the Warren Area High School senior. “I was always trying to keep up with my brothers and wanted to try all that Warren County had to offer. Swimming offered the opportunity to stay in shape, Tae Kwon Do offered balance, focus and discipline, softball was my Mom’s sport and my brothers played baseball, basketball was my social sport and soccer was my natural sport, my brothers played and my Mom coached.”
Mohney will be taking her passion of sports to Fredonia State University in the fall to play women’s Division 3 soccer.
“I always loved soccer, I was obsessed with the sport and followed the pro and national team players,” she said. “Basketball was always fun but I was not as aggressive as some of the players so I never felt I could compete at a higher level. Swimming would have been more fun if I could have figured out how to breath under water, The pool length is long when you hold your breath. Tae Kwon Do was very time-consuming so I stuck with it until I got my blackbelt then put my time towards other things. Softball was fun but it interfered with spring soccer, so I had to make a choice.
“Soccer was my family’s main sport,” said Mohney. “I have been at the fields since I was born. I never could get enough and participated in leagues all over year round. I could not imagine going through life without it and pretty quickly decided that I wasn’t ready to give it up.
“Fredonia (N.Y.) has always been a second home to me,” said Mohney. “My Mom grew up there and we spent a lot of time there growing up. When I looked at the college, I discovered they had my major, so I scheduled a visit. At my visit, I felt at home and talking to coach (Chris) Case only solidified my desire to continue playing in college.”
Mohney will study Applied Mathematics and Accounting.
“Those majors work well together, and I ultimately want to be an actuary,” said Mohney. “I looked at going actuarial sciences, but Applied Math gives me more options. I have always loved math.”
Counting soccer goals is always fun, maybe actual goals as well.
“I have always been goal-driven and the feeling of achieving a goal is enough to drive me towards achieving my next one,” said Mohney. “Recovering from tearing my ACL was one of the biggest challenges I have faced to this point, not only physically but mentally. Everyone told me I could not get back to the level I was playing at before my injury and I felt left out from the team I had been a big part of as a freshman. Hard work and not being able to quit ’til something is done has always assisted me in achieving my goals.”
It didn’t take much to motivate Sawyer.
“Being from a small town and having the support of the Warren Times Observer, I always liked seeing my name in the paper,” she said. “I remember going into Domino’s (Pizza) one day and saying my name to pick up my order, (and) the guy working the counter asked me if I was the kicker, he used to kick for the team. This is just one of the many stories I can recall. This is support you do not get in bigger areas.”
A kicker, yes, on the football team.
“It is actually a funny story, I was down at the Industrial tournament and Stephanie Arnold, Blake and Ryan’s mom, told me the football team needed a kicker,” said Sawyer, “and wondered if I would be interested in trying out. I had never picked up a football, so my brother and I went to the store, bought a football, and I went to Beaty and tried it. We got a couple videos, took them back to Stephanie… And Coach (Mark) Morelli wanted me at the field the next day to try out. The rest is, quite literally, history. I learned from football that being perfect isn’t always achievable, and though I didn’t like missing, the team was always very supportive if I missed just as much as they would have been if I made it.
“I always looked up to my brothers… (So) when I started football my oldest brother, Hunter, was my biggest fan, taking me to the field, fetching balls, and taping my kicks,” she said. “Mason and Hunter both overcame obstacles in soccer and were very supportive when I was coming back from my injury and was facing many obstacles. They were always giving me much-needed advice. It was awesome having my whole family, including my grandparents, up in the stands at Fort LeBoeuf when I kicked the winning goal in the D10 (soccer) championship. My parents were always encouraging me to do my best and this is a big part of why I am so goal-driven and why I wanted to continue on at a higher level.”
Her high school coach isn’t surprised in the least she’s playing at the next level.
“Sawyer would show up to practice, grab a ball, and start working on a skill — her shot or some aspect of the game she could improve ,” said Warren Area High School girls soccer coach Jeremy Bickling. “The shot she made in the District 10 championship game wasn’t luck; her hours of repetition prepared her for that moment .
“She asked questions and understood how the game was played,” he said. “I would ask her what she was seeing on the field, and she always had an understanding of my question and provided me with a concise assessment and recommendations. Sawyer didn’t walk a golden path to success. She faced several setbacks, including a serious knee injury and recovery from surgery. She never gave up, she never cracked. When the team was beat up and we lost starter after starter to injury, Sawyer stepped into the role of leader. In multiple games, in our late-season push to maintain our position as the top 3A team in Region 6, she game up with critical goals and played minutes banged-up and tired. She played a role in keeping us on target with our goal of getting a title — and finished it off for us — all the while being quiet, kind, and humble.”
Anything worth it is never easy.
“When I tore my ACL three years ago, I had no direction. I no longer had sports, so I concentrated on my academics,” said Sawyer. “At that same time, I started the St. Bonaventure dual enrollment program. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, but through that program, I found that I absolutely loved math. That was when I realized that math was what I wanted to do for a living. When I tore my ACL, I learned to live more in the moment and that played a major role in shaping who I am.”