Two Newsday photographers took home first-place awards in a 2019 New York Press Photographers Association competition for their work highlighting a double-amputee basketball player, graduating high school seniors and a documentary video about a female boxer. Alejandra Villa Loarca and Shelby Knowles earned three top prizes in the 2019 “Year in Pictures & Multimedia Contest.”
Amaya Williams prepares to shoot a three-pointer for Copiague High School during a game against Riverhead on Jan. 29, 2019.
Farmingdale High School seniors Stephanie Birkl, center, and Katie Elefteriadis get emotional after seeing their former kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Rossini, left, during the annual Senior Walk at Woodward Parkway Elementary School on June 17, 2019.
Long Island native Alicia "The Empress" Napoleon-Espinosa, right, is an international World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight champion.
Amaya Williams puts on sneakers on her prosthetics as she gets ready for basketball practice at Copiague High School, Wednesday Jan. 16, 2019. Among many medical issues, Amaya was born without bones in her legs and by the age of 4 she was a double leg amputee. Today, the Copiague High School student is the first double leg amputee to play for a Long Island high school basketball team, her determination and unyielding desire to persevere and play the sport she loves has inspired an entire district.