No shooting jumpers.
No swinging the softball bat or bouncing a tennis ball on her racket.
No balls, period. No TV. No headphones. No way. No how.
Kathleen Felicelli spent 3˝ days this week at a monastery just across the Wisconsin border. The retreat is required attendance for Carmel Catholic students.
“It’s a lot of praying and bonding with your classmates,” said Felicelli, noting what happens in Wisconsin, stays in Wisconsin. “No exercise at all.”
Yes, she survived half a week with no sports.
“It was awful,” she joked.
Funny, when it comes to competing, few athletes are more serious. She packs a game face for each sport she plays. A three-sport varsity athlete since her sophomore year, Felicelli is the Daily Herald’s Lake County female athlete of the year. She followed up her third season as a No. 1 doubles player for the tennis team by earning Daily Herald all-area and all-East Suburban Catholic Conference honors in both basketball and softball. She was a part of 20-win teams in the latter two sports.
“I asked her one time which sport she likes the best and she said, ‘The one that I’m playing at the time,’ ” Carmel tennis coach Nancy Fehn said with a laugh. “She devotes herself entirely to each sport that she’s playing.
“It’s fun to watch her play (tennis),” Fehn added. “The fact that she’s so fit in the other sports helps her even more.”
As she heads into her senior season, Carmel’s three-sport sensation remains uncertain about what her future holds regarding athletics. Late in the softball season, Loyola University assistant coach and former Antioch head coach Jeff Tylka contacted Carmel coach Jason Raymond and inquired about the slugging shortstop. Tylka invited Felicelli to watch a Loyola game.
“It was really cool for him to take notice,” Felicelli said. “But I’m still not really sure what I’m going to do, or what kind of college I’m going to go to, or for what exactly.”
The 5-foot-8 Felicelli entered her junior season of softball having spent four weeks in a walking boot due to a stress fracture in her left tibia, an injury she played with nearly the entire basketball season. But neither that nor an unseasonably cold spring could keep Felicelli from swinging a hot bat. The two-time All-ESCC selection finished the season with a .487 batting average, 10 homers and 45 RBI. In three varsity seasons, she’s slugged 26 home runs.
“It wasn’t the stress fracture that really hurt in the beginning of the season,” Felicelli said. “It was just that I had to regain my muscle. I hadn’t run in four weeks, so I was kind of out of shape. Running around the bases took a lot of my energy, but I think I got back into it, and now it’s perfectly fine.”
She did more than post staggering offensive numbers on the softball diamond. Realizing that she was now an upperclassman, she took the responsibility seriously.
That’s so her style.
“Because we had a lot of younger kids on the team, I tried to set a good example,” said Felicelli, the varsity’s starting shortstop since her freshman year. “I really think that I improved this year. Which is always good.”
This is good, too, for Carmel: Felicelli plans to play all three of her sports again as a senior.
“I can’t stand not being active,” she said. “I can’t even imagine not playing one of my sports. I don’t know what I would do with myself. Having that much time to do homework would be amazing, but I don’t think I’d be able to do it.”
No way. No how.
In a couple of months, she’ll serve up her fourth varsity tennis season.
“She’s a great server,” Fehn said. “She loves to rush the net.
“Everything about her,” the coach added, “is absolutely wonderful.”
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