SOFTBALL: Clayton Heights player aims to be queen of diamonds

CLAYTON HEIGHTS — She’s been to three provincials, received multiple tournament MVPs and was twice named Female Athlete of the Year at her high school.

Kelly Halverson is one heck of a softball player.

Academically, the Clayton Heights Secondary senior is just as impressive. She’s maintained a near-perfect 3.9 GPA in her senior year, made the honour roll four years running and received the school’s Junior Night Rider award for Most Outstanding Student.

"Most of the awards that I have are from school, through either athletics, grades or my volunteer work," she said. "But the top one would be that Junior Night Rider award because, out of three different grades, I was picked."

The 17-year-old has excelled scholastically and athletically, having played basketball and volleyball for Clayton Heights, as well as club soccer.

But for half of her life, softball has been her passion.

"My mom was my coach and she played softball her whole life, so that kind of helped get me into it," she said, noting her start in a house league. "The next year, I was called up to play for the Langley Rebels, the B team out of Langley, and played two years there."

Halverson bounced around teams in Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford before settling down with the Fraser Valley Fusion, playing second base and catcher with a pop time of 1.9 seconds and a throwing speed of 62 mph.

On offence, she’s just as fierce, swinging right-handed with a .323 batting average and a home-to-first time of 2.85 seconds.

She’s appeared twice at South Surrey’s Canadian Open Fastpitch International and has competed in tournaments all over the U.S., including Pennsylvania, Las Vegas and Huntington Beach.

That’s how the secondbasewoman and catcher caught the eye of Kevin Gall, the softball coach for North Dakota’s Jamestown University, going on 16 years with the team.

"Last summer, (he) called me and basically said that he had seen me play two years prior and was still really interested in me," said Halverson. "I went down for a visit in January and I just fell in love with it. It’s kind of a smalltown feel — everybody’s so nice, the campus is gorgeous.

"The whole team was so kind to me and I couldn’t ask for a better coach."

Halverson will join the Jamestown Jimmies this fall while studying kinesiology — a pairing that fits like a catcher’s mitt.

"I’ve always been passionate about sports and I just want to continue that," she said of the exercise science. "If I can do a job where I’m involved with athletes or athletics in general, I think that will just make working actually fun.

"I don’t know what direction I want to go with it yet, whether I want to go into training or physical therapy or whatnot, but as long as I’m involved in sports, I’ll be happy."

Halverson is excited to kick off her first collegiate season, but her goals on the field are a bit different than the usual accolades.

"Honestly, just being the best player I can be," she said. "I want to get better and learn everything I can from the coach and the team because they have some amazing players there."

jacobzinn@gmail.com

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