Katie Kelly might be petite, but she’s not hard to spot around the ballpark. She’s a fireball of energy, all smiles and exuberance. One moment she’s crashing into an outfield fence to make a daring catch. The next moment she’s inside the dugout, rattling the chain link fence and howling encouragement like a maniac. And later when speaking with a reporter, her accent makes her seem to hail from New Hampshire – but she swears she’s not from the east coast.
She also holds the distinction as being the only senior on this year’s Lady Falcons. Being named captain was something she has cherished.
“I’ve been watching carefully since I was a freshman,” Kelly said. “I’ve gotten to watch a lot of great leadership come through here. Bailey Hicks has been one of my role models. She was a senior when I was a sophomore. I still talk to her all the time. The girls last year that were seniors, I still talk to them all the time. It was a little bit scary at first, I’m not going to lie. It was a lot of responsibility. But [co-captains] Jordyn [Boyd], Olivia [Riener]and Gina [Wyner] have been my rocks, and it has been a lot of fun. It’s been fun to be the only senior, but it’s great to have all my teammates because we’re all so close. But then Senior Night comes along, and I’m like ‘oh wow I’m the only senior.’”
After the Falcons finished third at last year’s State tourney, a parent approached Kelly. They pointed out how stars such as Nicole Shavlik, Alyssa O’Farrell, Kat Hatlen and Alena Jones were moving on. “Katie, this is your team now,” the parent said. Kelly felt pangs of fear.
“The scariest part was the shoes I had to fill,” Kelly said. “I was nervous how I was going to fill those big shoes and continue this legacy here. When I was elected as one of the captains, I had the support of my teammates. As captains, we give speeches and vote. It’s a different experience, I get to know the coaches on a different level than I normally would. We’re the link between them and the rest of the team. “
The 2016 season has proved a smashing success. As of this writing, the Falcons are 17-4 and one game away from reaching the State tourney once again.
Woodinville coach Dani Weir appreciates how Kelly has embraced the roles she’s been given.
“She hasn’t been a constant starter throughout the year,” Weir said. “And you couldn’t tell it by looking at her. She has been just as happy in that position as a motivator on the bench as she is being in center field and batting second [in the lineup]. I know that whatever I ask of her she will do it with a smile and she will be excited and she will give her best no matter what. And it hasn’t just been this year, but all four years that she’s been here.”
Kelly says Senior Night was something she’ll always remember.
“My teammates painted the wall at the skate park with my name on it,” she said. “They all got me gifts and flowers and signs. They decorated the field and Coach Dale painted my number on the fence. It was great.”