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Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : sports : sports May 29, 2016

3/26/2013 10:40:00 AM
Lady Bulldogs off to great start under new coach
A Lady Bulldog scores a run early in the teamís 17-0 win against Williams High School March 20. Ryan Williams/NHO
A Lady Bulldog scores a run early in the teamís 17-0 win against Williams High School March 20. Ryan Williams/NHO
Navajo-Hopi Observer

The Winslow Lady Bulldogs softball team has begun its 2013 season under the direction of new coach Kelly Fifelski. She has guided the team to a 7-0 start. The Lady Bulldogs recently won the Bloomfield, N.M. Invitational Tournament.

Fifelski replaces the late Becky Barris who resigned after a successful coaching career. Barris died in an automobile accident recently.

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 playing four years of softball and basketball and three years of volleyball.

Fifelski coached a junior varsity softball team for two years and also coached a junior high school team in Yuma. She said 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 are varsity assistants Richard "Meaty" Smith and Mickie Williams. Daphne Barton and Brian Wilcox are coaching the junior varsity team.

According to Fifelski, the number of people helping 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 helped, and would undoubtedly still be helping, if she were still here. Barris 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 leadership.

When she arrived in Winslow, the school district hired Fifelski 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 the encouragement of those that knew of her coaching experience, she applied for and was awarded the position.

Fifelski said there are similarities between teaching second grade and coaching. She said that both age groups 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 she is pleased so far with the girls' work ethic. The Lady Bulldogs have good attitudes and work to demonstrate that they know how to play their positions and the game. She is pleased that the Lady Bulldogs softball team has a good number of talented veteran players returning, supportive parents and plenty of people knowledgeable about the game willing to help.

The team is off to a great start. Fifelski is popular with her players, assistant coaches, the teachers at Jefferson School, Principal Cyndi Mattox and the entire staff. She has been well received by the fans, parents of the players.

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