Playing with a Positive Attitude

Danielle Panico a finalist for the Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship

Elizabeth Roy, Contributor

Danielle Panico (’18) is a busy student-athlete at Abington High School. Not many can successfully balance a commitment of excellence to both being a student and an athlete, but Panico has proven she can.

Panico is captain of 3 varsity sports (cross country, basketball, and track), the vice president of the National Honor Society, president of the Anti-bullying Club, on the Executive Committee of the State Student Advisory Council, a delegate to the Regional Student Advisory Council, a member of Peer Leaders, and a team liaison for the Student Athletic Advisory Council.

Recently, Panico became one of the 15 New England Finalists for the Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship under the Positive Coaching Alliance organization (PCA). Over 3,800 students applied for this scholarship.

When asked why Panico thinks she was chosen as a finalist she stated, “I try to enhance the culture of athletics at Abington High by always staying positive and by being a good role model both on and off the court.” 

Panico applied for the Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship when she was a junior. She had to write 3 essays on the topics of Personal Mastery, Leadership, and Honoring the Game. The finalists were chosen based on their essays, academics, athletics, references, and character.

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She acts as another coach because she helps her teammates rise to the occasion and compete at a higher level.

— Coach Brian Lanner

AHS teacher and coach Brian Lanner, who has been Panico’s cross country and track and field coach for the last four years, says Panico “brings high energy every single day to practice and meets. Starting as a freshman, she continues to show leadership.

As one of the 15 New England finalists, Panico was invited to a Recognition Ceremony on Jan 26 at Harvard University, during a Harvard vs. Dartmouth men basketball game. There she participated in a video interview conducted by PCA’s Executive Director.

During warmups, Panico got to know the other Triple- Impact finalists. Just before tip-off, she gave Harvard Men’s Basketball Coach Tommy Amaker (member of PCA’s National Advisory Board) and Dartmouth Men’s Basketball Coach David McLaughlin both their own “Respect Your Rival” t-shirts, along with a Positive Coaching Alliance book entitled “Elevating Your Game”.

After the game, Danielle and the remaining finalists got to hang out with the Harvard basketball players.

Panico is now a part of the PCA-NE Student-Athlete Council and is featured on the PCA-NE’s webpage.  She has also been invited to work with a PCA mentor, a PCA trainer, and a staff or board member. Next fall, she will be attending Virginia Tech, majoring in Public Relations. 

If any current junior is interested the Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship, applications are accepted until May 31 this year. More information can be found at