Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake multi-sport standout Ella Blesi announced recently that she will be joining the Syracuse University women’s lacrosse program beginning in the 2023-24 academic year.
The 17-year-old rising senior excels in soccer, basketball and lacrosse, and this past spring season from her midfield spot she helped the Spartans reach the state Class C semifinals before being recognized as a US Lacrosse All-American and Suburban Council first team all-star.
Blesi, who owns a 4.0 grade-point average in her high school career, will play for Syracuse head coach and Niskayuna graduate Kayla Treanor.
“All the way growing up in middle school and high school I thought I’d be going for soccer,” Blesi said. “This past season my teammates and coach [Katie] Kerner and coach [Shawn] Kline helped open my eyes to how much I really love lacrosse. Early in my college process I looked at maybe playing both [sports] at the D3 level, but I have decided to focus on lacrosse.”
Blesi visited Syracuse earlier this month and was so impressed that she made a verbal commitment to the university the next day.
“I fell in love with the campus as soon as I saw it,” Blesi said. “When I met Kayla and the staff, I fell in love with them, too.
“My life changed in two months, and after I made the call, it was like, ‘What just happened?’ I took some time to let it all set in before I made my announcement, and now I’m just so excited to get to Syracuse and start that chapter of my life.”
Syracuse went 6-2 in the ACC and 15-6 overall in the 2022 season, Treanor’s first as its head coach after previously starring there. Syracuse made its 19th NCAA tournament appearance and went 2-1 with a quarterfinal loss to Northwestern.
“One thing that caught my attention was her winning mentality. You can tell she is hungry for a national championship,” Blesi said of Treanor, a collegiate All-American and record-setting scorer at SU. “I like that winning mentality.”
Blesi said Treanor gave her words of encouragement when the Spartan teen made her commitment.
“She emphasized getting out and playing club lacrosse and taking opportunities I haven’t touched on. I won’t be playing club soccer. I’ll be joining the lacrosse world,” Blesi said. “It’s definitely going to take a lot of work to play at that level, but I’m ready to dig in. I will put in the work. She [Treanor] said she wants me to be part of a national championship team.”
With her exceptional speed and shooting accuracy, Blesi collected 73 goals and 14 assists for the Spartans (17-4) this past season, with five goals and two assists coming in a 17-7 win over Albany Academy in the Section II Class C title game. She had three goals and an assist in a 20-9 regional semifinal win over Saugerties and four goals in an 8-7 regional championship-game win over Tappan Zee. Blesi added two more goals when Burnt Hills fell to Manhasset 20-10 in the state semifinal round.
“We played in a lot of big games but I definitely think the regional championship game was the most memorable,” Blesi said of the contest that was decided on Maggie Lescault’s free position goal in the final seconds. “We were down the whole game. Our team really wanted to make it to the [state] final four. Our school hadn’t done it in a while.”
Blesi and MK Lescault formed the starting backcourt for the Burnt Hills’ basketball team that had its finest season in years and finished as the Section II tournament Class A runner-up last winter. That team featured many multi-sport athletes including rising senior Lescault, who has committed to Johns Hopkins for lacrosse, and recently graduated Carlie Rzeszotarski and Callie Chevalier, who will play volleyball at Colgate and Slippery Rock, respectively.
“For a lot of us, basketball is a secondary sport,” Blesi said. “We were out there having fun and we all clicked.”