Sunday, April 30, 2017

She Runs for Beau

Story and Photos by Bridget Chavez
Link to Unedited Interview Here
Link to Video Package Here 

Just Another Day at the Park

It's a bright morning at Onondaga Lake Park. It's one of those rare days where the sun is shining reflecting off of the lake and there's a slight breeze keeping the temperature nice and cool. It's a perfect day to be outside and taking advantage of the weather. There are small children playing on the brightly colored jungle gym and their moms and dads are not far off keeping watch over their little ones. There's a trail that circles the lake with distance markers along the way for runners and walkers alike.

There are about a dozen or so walkers and joggers sprinkled throughout the trail this morning, but one pair in particular stands out. They're off and on the trail but they're enjoying themselves and laughing. They are Lauren Burnham and her four-year-old son Nolan. At first glance, you might think it's a typical day out at the park for mother-son bonding time and maybe to an extent it is. Both mother and son are sporting athletic gear, running shoes and shorts, Burnham has her hair tied up as if she's about to go for a run, but take a closer look and they're both decked out in brightly colored gear that says, "#TeamBeau" and "IRun4Beau."

More Than Your Average Training

Burnham is part of a national organization called"I Run 4 Michael" in which volunteers dedicate thier workouts, races or any physical activity to children or adults who may not be able to participate in physical activities and raise awareness for the diseases that are impacting their lives. Burnham is matched with a two-year-old boy, Beau, from New Jersey. She dedicates her current training and races she has coming up to Beau.

"We have kids the same age, so it clicked with us," Burnham says, "It's like an extra family that we've adopted." Burnham says her son Nolan plays with both Beau and his brother Braden, also four, when the families meet up.

"I just hope he [Nolan] learns acceptance for other kids through all of this," Burnham smiles. "There's nothing wrong with any of these kids. And it's great that he can see how normal this is."

Beau has been diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy that affects his breathing, walking and muscle development.

"It's an everyday thing for him just trying to breathe," Burnham says. Beau is on respirators and has to have oxygen at night while he sleeps and isn't able to eat so he has a gastrostomy feeding tube put in. Burnham says they've known Beau and his family for a little more than one year and she and her family are trying to spend as much time with him and his family as possible.

"We're not just running to say, 'Hey I did a marathon,' we're running to bring awareness," Burnham says.

Full Circle

"I initially started running these miles for him, but honestly its turned into running for his entire family," Burnham says. "it's kind of come full circle and now they're inspiring me."

Burnham says when she first met Beau, he didn't have any arm movement and as of recently, the family got him a wheelchair and he is now able to wheel and push himself around the house. Burnham says when he defies the odds, she pushes herself to do the same. Burnham has now run five half marathons and is taking it quite a few steps further.

"I signed up for a triathlon and I don't even know how to swim!" Burnham laughs, "But if this boy can do it, then I will figure out a way to get this done." Burnham is training the Iron Girl Triathlon in Syracuse in August and the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

"Hearing what Beau can do, I just keep pushing myself to the limit," Burnham says.

Syracuse Completes Sweep with 6-1 Score on Senior Day

Story and Photos by Aubrie Tolliver

Syracuse, N.Y. -- Hannah Dossett smashed her second homer of the season as part of a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, leading the Syracuse University softball team to a 6-1 victory over Virginia Tech Sunday afternoon at Skytop Softball Field. The win gave the Orange a sweep of the three-game weekend series over the Hokies.

Seniors honored

Syracuse celebrated its Senior Day with a pregame ceremony. Seniors Sydney O’Hara and Alyssa Dewes were given framed jerseys and flowers as gifts for their four years of commitment to the program.

“Throughout their career, they have both been consistent and meant a lot to the Syracuse program,” head coach Mike Bosch said in a post-game interview.

Consistently good

Batting averages, earned runs averages and fielding percentages—softball is a sport that measures consistency more than almost any other. O’Hara has been a poster child for the term “consistent” throughout her four years.

She has missed just seven of the 200 games SU has played and has a .347 batting average over that span. This season, she leads the entire Atlantic Coast Conference with a .475 batting average, which is on track to set a program record.

What most Orange fans will have trouble forgetting, however, is her four-home run game against N.C. State back in March where she drove in eight runs.

In the matchup against Virginia Tech, O’Hara went 1-3 at the plate with two walks.

Although she went 0-for-3 in this one. Dewes possesses a batting average of .265 and has 14 homers, 16 doubles and 56 RBI to her name, 

“On and off the field, day in and day out, they give their best,” Bosch said. “A lot of leading is leading by example and they do exactly that.”

Even early

The SU offense began its scoring in the bottom of the second. The leadoff batter, Bryce Holmgren reached base by way of a walk. Afterwards, two consecutive singles through the middle of the infield—first by Dossett, then by Jessica Heese—plated Holmgren and the team’s first run.

But, the Hokies responded the following inning with a run of their own off SU’s starting pitcher AnnaMarie Gatti, when leadoff batter Jessie Mehr reached base an error by Dossett at third base.
A walk and a fielder's choice put Mehr at third and Hokie first baseman Vanessa Gonzalez singled to shortstop Sammy Fernandez, knocking in her team’s only run. It was unearned.

Third is the charm for Syracuse

The bottom of the third was the most damaging inning for Tech. The Syracuse offense led off with three consecutive singles. The third was O’Hara’s only hit of the game but it gave her team its second run as Sammy Fernandez crossed the plate.

The following batter, Faith Cain, grounded into a double play—the second one the Hokies defense had turned—but Alicia Hansen scored making it 3-1.

The Hokies changed their pitcher from Olivia Lattin to Elizabeth Birie following a Holmgren single. But next batter Dossett atoned for her error in the top of the inning, rocketing a no-doubter over the left-center fence, making it 5-1.

Holmgren knocked one more run in for good measure in the fifth inning with a single down the left field line. O’Hara stepped into the circle the next inning and shut down the VT offense, just as Gatti had done five innings prior. 


With the win, Syracuse improved to 30-18 on the season and is an even 10-10 in the ACC. Virginia Tech finished off its season with a 19-34 overall record and a 5-19 conference record. The Hokies, who came in last in the ACC standings, will not be participating in post-season play.

The Orange, however, tab the seventh spot in the conference standings and will play in the ACC Championships starting Thursday, May 11.

But first, SU will end its regular season with a non-conference game against Cornell Tuesday at Skytop. First pitch is set for 3:15 p.m.

Syracuse Closes Out ACC Play With Senior Day Win - Video Report

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Senior Day brought a series sweep for the Syracuse University softball team Sunday. Here's a video report by Lauren Walsh

Orange Sweeps Virginia Tech

Photos from SU Softball against Virginia Tech

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Syracuse University Softball team closed out its ACC regular season with a 6-1 win over Virginia Tech on Senior Day, Sunday. Here's a look at the game in photos by Aubrie Tolliver. Click on any picture to start slide show.