Riverhead athlete signs with Mercy College

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Amanda Graziano signed to play field hockey at Mercy College next year. She also plans to play softball. Her mother, Diane, and father, John, joined her for a signing ceremony at the high school last Thursday.

As a field hockey player for Riverhead, Amanda Graziano could play any position — midfield, defense or forward. Her versatility and leadership were key factors in the Blue Waves’ tremendous season in the fall that landed them a spot in the postseason.

While Riverhead’s playoff loss to Centereach may have been the final game for Graziano as a Blue Wave, her field hockey career is just beginning. Graziano signed to play field hockey at Mercy College, where she’ll take on the challenge of playing two sports.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Amanda Graziano will return as the Blue Waves’ starting pitcher this spring.

Graziano, an all-conference field hockey player in the fall, will also play softball in college. She received partial scholarships from both programs.

In softball Graziano has led the Blue Waves on the mound, where she’ll return this spring looking to guide the team into the postseason after narrowly missing out last year.

Riverhead field hockey coach Cheryl Walsh-Edwards said Graziano was one of the key players in Riverhead’s 10-4 regular season.

“She has very strong fundamentals, is very coachable, has an outstanding work ethic, and is very competitive — with a strong will to win,” she said. “I’m very proud of her accomplishments.”

In softball Graziano also played the past four years for the Long Island Anthem travel team. In college she plans to major in physical therapy.

Graziano has followed in the footsteps of her mother, Diane, who also played field hockey, softball and basketball. In 1988 Graziano’s mother was the News-Review’s Female Athlete of the Year. She was all-league in all three sports as a senior.

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Amanda Graziano's mother, Diane, was the News-Review's 1988 Female Athlete of the Year for Riverhead.
Amanda Graziano’s mother, Diane, was the News-Review’s 1988 Female Athlete of the Year for Riverhead.