Forum Photos by Michael V. Cusenza
By Michael V. Cusenza
It’s been quite the school year for St. Francis Prep standout senior Emily Engstler.
In September, ESPN dubbed the 6-foot-2 Roosevelt Island resident New York’s top women’s basketball prospect; a month later, after being courted by NCAA Division I heavyweights like Ohio State, Rutgers, Miami, and Purdue, Engstler indicated that next fall she would be taking her talents upstate to Syracuse.
Engstler’s final year at the Fresh Meadows high school got even sweeter on Friday afternoon when officials from McDonald’s presented her with the jersey she will don at the vaunted McDonald’s All American Games in March in Atlanta.
“This is a great honor and I’m humble and so appreciative,” Engstler gushed inside the SFP gym. “It shows me that hard work and dedication pays off.”
According to McDonald’s, this year’s boys and girls teams, featuring 48 total athletes, were chosen from more than 700 nominees by the McDonald’s All American Games selection committee. Since 1978, more than 1,300 players have competed in the McDonald’s All American Games, including some of the top names in basketball history: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Candace Parker, Maya Moore, Elena Delle Donne, and Breanna Stewart.
And Emily Engstler.
On Friday, in the World’s Borough, she recognized the support system that helped get her to this stage.
“To my teammates: Every one of you has a special place in my heart. I’m so happy to share this moment with all of you—I love St. Francis Prep!” she exclaimed into the mic. “My parents, teammates, teachers, and classmates helped guide me, and for that I’m extremely grateful.”
Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) said Friday was a “great day for St. Francis Prep and a great day for Queens.” He also highlighted Engstler’s work ethic—on and off the court.
“She did it the old-fashioned way,” Weprin added. “She earned it.”