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updated: 6/13/2014 8:18 PM

Felicelli was quite a catch for Carmel

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  • Carmel's Kathleen Felicelli connects for a 3-run homer against Nazareth during action this spring.

       Carmel's Kathleen Felicelli connects for a 3-run homer against Nazareth during action this spring.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel's Kathleen Felicelli, right, drives on Burlington Central's Kayla Ross during the Class 3A supersectional at Hoffman Estates.

       Carmel's Kathleen Felicelli, right, drives on Burlington Central's Kayla Ross during the Class 3A supersectional at Hoffman Estates.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel's doubles teammates Kathleen Felicelli, left, and Michelle Kannenberg congratulate each other after winning a set against Barrington.

       Carmel's doubles teammates Kathleen Felicelli, left, and Michelle Kannenberg congratulate each other after winning a set against Barrington.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
 

A former wide receiver should have yielded to the surehanded shortstop/clutch shooter/tennis whiz with the uncanny hand-eye coordination.

Carmel Catholic's Kathleen Felicelli was even wearing a jersey, albeit a Cubs blue "Castro 13" replica.

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No way Felicelli drops that home-run ball that the Cubs' Chris Coghlan deposited into the front row of the Wrigley Field bleachers recently. Standing to Felicelli's right was her brother Matt, who was standing next to another guy. Matt, a former Carmel wide receiver and recent University of Iowa graduate, tried to catch the baseball. Unfortunately for him, the guy next to him tried to do the same thing. They bumped into each other and dropped the ball, which landed back on the playing field and was never tossed back into the bleachers.

Opportunity lost.

Souvenir lost.

"You'd think he'd be good at catching," Felicelli joked of her big brother. "I thought he had it, or else I would have tried to have gone for it, but I was just kind of watching. He was so embarrassed. It was really funny."

Rarely is Kathleen Felicelli a spectator. If there is a ball in flight in her sight, get out of the way. She's got it.

For the second year in a row, Felicelli is the Daily Herald's Lake County female athlete of the year. All did she during her senior year was advance to state with tennis doubles partner Michelle Kannenberg, lead Carmel to its first sectional championship in girls basketball and hit 11 home runs in softball to graduate as the school's all-time leader with 37 long balls.

Felicelli also batted .445 this spring in earning all-area honors for the third year in a row. But maybe the most impressive thing the four-year varsity starter did was the move she made after teammate Jenny Behan hit her 13th home run, which gave the junior the single-season school record. Felicelli, who had set the school mark with 12 homers during her sophomore year, ran up to Behan.

Felicelli smiled and hugged a slugger.

"She's awesome," Felicelli said of Behan. "She totally deserves that (record). I was so proud of her."

Felicelli's three-year varsity basketball career culminated with Carmel upsetting two-time defending state runner-up Vernon Hills in the Class 3A Ridgewood sectional final. She scored a team-high 17 points in the upset.

"Not to discriminate against the other sports, but I would say that was a pretty huge highlight, because we were doubted the whole season," said Felicelli, a tenacious defender who averaged a career-best 16 points per game, as the Corsairs captured 24 wins. "Everyone was definitely ruling us out for the Vernon Hills game. (Winning) was really a cool experience, especially with having all of our friends there. I don't think I'm ever going to forget that. I think about it all the time."

Felicelli surpassed 1,000 career points late in the season, finishing with 1,067, and led the Corsairs in scoring for the second straight season. Called "the muscle of our team" by coach Kelly Perz, Felicelli earned repeat appearances on the All-East Suburban Catholic Conference and all-area teams.

Last fall, she and Kannenberg advanced to state for the second time in three years. The doubles duo won four state matches, before their season ended in the back draw.

When Carmel's softball team lost to Libertyville in the regional finals, it marked the end of Felicelli's high school athletics career. She will not play competitive sports in college.

She'll miss all of it, including her great teammates, she says. She'll miss the daily routine and being a Corsair.

"I feel like I'm going to miss the structure of it -- going to practice every day, having coaches teach you new things all the time, and just having those mentors," said Felicelli, who can't say enough nice things about Perz and softball coach Jason Raymond. "Just the all-around experience of Carmel athletics is such a good one. The coaches are so good."

The University of Michigan awaits her. She's considering studying economics or business, maybe political science. Her choice of athletics will be intramurals and, suffice it to say, every intramurals or dorm team will want the free-agent athlete.

"Hopefully," she said, laughing, "I won't be the last pick."

She'll be a great catch.

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