By: Valeri Guevarra, Editor in Chief (‘22)

Indian Hills sports are not the strongest compared to other schools, but three female athletes have proven that Hills is on the rise as in the North Jersey high school sports community. These three student-athletes have been nominated for ‘North Jersey Athlete of the Year’ in their respective sports by USA Today & Bergen Record/North Senior Allison Lounsbury, junior Natalie Christopher, and freshman Katie Lawrence are nominated for North Jersey Female Athlete of the Year in cross-country, bowling, and swimming, respectively. 

 Lounsbury is no stranger to cross-country accolades. In addition to athlete of the year, she collected numerous honors this past cross country season, including All-State third team, All-County first team, and Big North first-team. She’s also been a strong runner during her entire high school cross country career as, similar to Lawrence, Lounsbury was nominated for athlete of the year as a freshman back in 2019. Reflecting on her success, Lounsbury noted the importance of having a support system. She comments how, “My coaches: Coach Tuohy, Coach Zaccone, Coach Rodak, Coach Osieja, and Coach Owen Ross have helped me each step of the way in each of my seasons. My parents have given me the inspiration and motivation to do well and have driven me to succeed. Finally, my team and my running friends have helped motivate me during every aspect of my training.” In the fall, Lounsbury will be running at Amherst College and majoring in economics. 

As one career ends, another’s is just beginning. Katie Lawrence started her high school swimming career with a bang, becoming a double Bergen County Champion and double silver medalist at the NJ State Meet of Champions. Like Lounsbury, Lawrence is no stranger to the spotlight. Lawrence also swims on the Wyckoff YMCA Sharks, a club team in Wyckoff, where she’s had her share of honors, including recently finishing 6th at YMCA Nationals, qualifying for YMCA Nationals since she was 12, and owning multiple club records. On the Hills swim team, Katie was a key contributor to the best girls’ swim team season in history, including a 3rd place team finish and state sectional final appearance (first in school history). When asked about the nomination, Katie humbly expressed her excitement and the nonchalant experience of finding out about it– she was finishing homework after Sharks practice when her mom told her. Lawrence also mentioned her support system when talking about her success and said, “I am really thankful for my coaches who are constantly giving me feedback on how I can improve my stroke, my parents for driving me to practices, and my teammates for challenging me and just making the sport bearable on the hard days.” 

Unlike her fellow nominees, junior bowler Natalie Christopher doesn’t have the same story: starting a sport young and gaining years of experience. Christopher just started bowling last year, and through consistent hard work, she’s quickly made herself into a bowling star. During this past bowling season, her second year of bowling, she earned All-County first team. Christopher was asked who helped her quickly achieve bowling success, and she praised her coach. “I would credit my parents for introducing me to bowling, and I would credit Mr. Michaels. I wouldn’t have joined the team if it weren’t for him. He pushed me to work harder and become the best that I am. Mr. Michaels encouraged me to become friends with my peers on the team and that made me more comfortable around them and more confident with myself. Even though he is just my coach, he changed me to be a better person and leader, and I couldn’t be happier,” Christopher explains. 

These three ladies will be honored at the 2022 North Jersey Sports Awards Show at 7 pm on  June 28th at Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, where the winners will be announced. To find out more details on who is invited, other non-Indian Hills nominees, etc., please visit