By Sam Conner
The Winslow Lady Bulldogs softball team has begun its 2013 season under the direction of new Coach Kelly Fifelski. She replaced the late Becky Barris, who resigned, ending a brilliant and successful career.
Fifelski is a graduate of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich. She played four years of softball for the Hillsdale Chargers and was an assistant coach there one year. She was a multi-sport athlete in high school, having played four years of softball and basketball, and three years of volleyball.
She had coaching experience at Yuma High School, where she coached a junior varsity softball team for two years and also coached a junior high school team. She says that she loves coaching and has really enjoyed her experience in Winslow so far.
“Winslow has been good for me,” she said, “The people have been friendly and helpful, and those who are assisting with the coaching are doing good jobs.”
Helping Fifelski as varsity assistants are Richard “Meaty” Smith and Mickie Williams. Daphne Barton and Brian Wilcox are coaching the junior varsity.
According to Fifelski, the number of people who have helped her adjust to Winslow, to teaching and to coaching softball is large and growing. Among the many she named is the late Becky Barris, who would undoubtedly still be helping if she were still here. She seemed pleased that her replacement was a well-qualified softball player and coach, and hoped to see the team continue the success it had under her.
The list of those helping includes Athletic Director Don Petranovich, Jefferson School Principal Cyndi Mattox and most of the Jefferson staff, especially the second grade team. Many of those included are parents of softball players, such as Stephanie Lymer, Richard Smith and Mickey Baca. Jodie Garner and Shelly Clay were also mentioned as helpful.
When she came to Winslow, Fifelski was hired as a second grade teacher. When she introduced herself she said that she had gone to college on a softball scholarship and played all four years. With Barris having resigned as the varsity coach, leaving the position still open, the opportunity was there and with encouragement from those who heard of her experience, she applied for and was awarded the position.
Asked how she related teaching second grade and coaching high school softball, Fifelski said that there are similarities and working with both is helpful. She said that both learn the same way, with high school girls just being bigger. Both are challenges in their own way and provide great opportunities to learn.
She said that she is pleased so far with the way the girls work hard, have good attitudes, and work to demonstrate they know how to play their positions and the game. She is pleased that the Lady Bulldog softball team has a good number of talented veteran players returning, supportive parents and people knowledgeable of the game willing to help.
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By Sam Conner