Relyea signs Letter of Intent to compete for UConn

Mayfield's Madison Relyea, center, signs her letter of intent to compete at the University of Connecticut on Thursday as her parents, Kara, left, and Chris, right, look on. Relyea will compete for the indoor track and field, cross country and outdoor track and field teams at UConn. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)

MAYFIELD — Having come up big in the biggest meets throughout her high school career, Mayfield senior Madison Relyea will get the opportunity to compete collegiately on the biggest stage of all.

Relyea signed her letter of intent to attend the University of Connecticut and compete on the school’s cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field teams.

Connecticut, which is located in Storrs, Conn., is a member of the Big East Conference and competes at the NCAA Division I level — the highest in collegiate athletics.

As it turned out, choosing her school was almost easier than choosing what sport to compete in.

“I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to ski or run,” Relyea said. “That was still the question — which sport I wanted to do.”

Relyea garnered interest from Manhattan, Iona and Binghamton as a cross country and track athlete, but she also was considering options to compete in nordic skiing.

“There were some smaller schools — Saint Michael’s, St. Lawrence — but I was really wanted to go to ski at [University of Vermont],” Relyea said. “I soon realized that the opportunities in skiing are a lot slimmer. I was looking at the different people that went there … you have to be on the Olympic team really to make these college teams. It was an eye-opener.”

However, when Connecticut expressed an interest, Relyea’s decision came into focus.

“As soon as UConn and [Connecticut head cross country and assistant track and field] coach Lindsay [Crevoiserat] reached out to me,” Relyea said, “I was like, ‘That’s a hundred percent [that] I want to run there.'”

For Relyea, the opportunity to compete in college was one she always hoped to have.

“I was always sure that I wanted to play a sport in college. I was looking for a big school and I knew deep down that Connecticut is where I wanted to go,” said Relyea, who plans to major in psychology.

The move means that Relyea will go from Mayfield, which has around 950 students in the district, to UConn, a school with more than 30,000 students.

“It’s going to be insane,” Relyea said. “But I do like people and I have a big social life, so I’m excited to extend that out to Connecticut and make a lot of friends. It’s going to be really different there. It’s going to be an adjustment, but I think I’ll do well with the gigantic social circles that I’ll be a part of.”

While at Mayfield, Relyea made her mark in cross country, nordic skiing, and track and field.

Relyea qualified for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association state championship meet in cross country in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. She was second in the Class D state championship meet in 2019.

She also won the Section II Class D title in 2018 and 2019. while also competing in the Federation meet and regionals.

Relyea also won the Western Athletic Conference league meet in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

During the winter season, she qualified for states in nordic skiing multiple times, winning the individual state title in 2020.

“She was always strong and full of fire, but she didn’t know how to ski at first,” Mayfield nordic ski coach Ryan Bornt said. “She had to work so hard at skiing because it’s such a technical sport. It didn’t come easy for her. It’s great to see how she progressed.”

Relyea also won the Section II individual title in 2019 and 2020, helping Mayfield to the Section II team title both seasons.

“It’s the best feeling ever,” Relyea said. “I went from being the only girl on the team to winning sectionals with a team full of my best friends. We had a tight-knit team.”

This winter, with sectionals and states canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayfield won the Section II Nordic Ski League team title as Relyea claimed individual honors.

“She’s done some things that kids from small schools don’t always get a chance to do,” Bornt said. “That shows the other kids what they can do and that’s there’s more out there.”

On the track, Relyea also has claimed individual sectional titles and set school records in the 800 meters, 1,500 meters, 3,000 meters and the 4 x 800 meter relay.

Though the pandemic derailed Relyea’s hopes of state titles during her senior year, she said she was thankful for the opportunities she has had this year.

“It’s definitely been interesting. Once I sort of knew that my senior year wasn’t going to be what I thought it was going to be because of COVID, it was hard at first. This year’s seniors have missed out on a lot of things, but I still wouldn’t change it,” Relyea said. “I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to compete in college. I’m thankful that we got to have cross country and ski seasons this fall and winter.”


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