In an era of athletic specialization, starting at early ages, Elizabethtown College junior Lydia Lawson is a rarity.

Two sports at the collegiate level is unusual, but even more unique is how Lawson excels at both basketball and soccer.

But, as Blue Jays women’s basketball coach Veronica Nolt says, “Lydia is a special person.”

Lawson closed up the fall season, by being named the Landmark Conference Women’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Year — the second straight year she has received that honor.

In between those honors, she was named a 2017-18 first-team All-Landmark Conference guard on the court and is already off to another fine season.

“That’s pretty amazing for a kid that I could probably bench press,” Nolt joked about the diminutive Lawson. “She has a ‘let’s go give it our best shot’ attitude and that is why she is fun to coach.”

Despite being listed as 5-foot-4, Lawson doesn’t play with a chip on her shoulder because of her size. She uses her best attribute to score goals on the pitch and frustrate the opposition on the court.

“Sometimes I am at a disadvantage, but I think I am also at an advantage with my speed,” she said. “It doesn’t really affect me when I guard girls taller than me. I am not intimidated at all.”

The Elizabethtown women are off to a 4-2 start this season, with Lawson being a huge part of it. She played all 40 minutes, scoring 17 points with seven assists and two steals, in loss to 6-1 Moravian.

Prior to that, she dropped 14 with eight rebounds, six assists and four steals in a win at York.

Lawson leads Elizabethtown in assists and steals this season, plus is third in scoring and defensive rebounds.

“I think Lydia is one of smartest student-athletes I have ever coached. Not just academically, but athletically. And in the game of basketball in particular,” said Nolt. “She recognizes things and knows where the rebound is going to come down and gets herself in position. Quite honestly, that is tough to teach.

“She’s one of those kids that she trusts her abilities. She trusts her teammates and recognizes that if she does her part, they will do their part and it will work out.”

Those impressive court numbers are coming off a soccer campaign in which Lawson scored 16 goals, with seven assists for 39 points. The goals and points were conference highs, while her goals and points per game average lands her in the top 25 nationally.

Not only is she all-conference is two sports, but the occupational therapy major is also recognized academically, with a 3.87 GPA. Lawson is a true student-athlete.

“Being a multi-sport collegiate athlete is what makes me the player that I am,” she said. “My major is not an easy one, but playing two sports forces me to have great time management and be dedicated to my sports and academics.

“E-town has been the greatest experience so far. Coming in as a freshmen, you don’t know what you are going to get in a school. Honestly, it’s like a second home. I love my school, the community.”

With no seniors on the basketball squad, Lawson and fellow juniors Marissa Emlet and Mikayla Ruth help provide leadership.

“I think we do have a core group of girls that have a lot of experience and the start of the season has been really exciting to set the tone for the rest of the season,” said Lawson. “We just have to keep improving from here.”

Between basketball, soccer and outstanding academics, Lawson is a rare breed. Just don’t ask her to choose between the two sports as she will say: “I can’t pick. They are different. I benefit from that.”

So does Elizabethtown College.