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The Sports Journal

Honors Pour In for Ex-NBHS Softball Star Newberg

Kelsey Newberg was an exceptional athlete at New Britain High School.

With that experience as a platform, she has scaled academic and athletic heights at Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y., and is about to begin her professional nursing career in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Albany Medical Center.

Her softball exploits helped Sage finish third in the Skyline Conference and second in the ECAC Metro New York-New Jersey Tournament that came to an end for the Gators on Sunday.

With her sparkling career and season numbers as both a pitcher and utility player have come numerous accolades, but being selected a candidate for the NCAA Woman of the Year represents national recognition for athletics, academics and her service to humanity.

Newberg graduated from New Britain High School in 2009 as a successful two-sport athlete. She played softball for coach Mimi Parks and volleyball for Michelle Abraham, using her athletic pursuits as a means of procuring a scholarship to Division II Queens University in Charlotte, N.C.

“I played there but I decided to transfer because I couldn’t do nursing and play both softball and volleyball,” Newberg said. “It got crazy with nursing so I decided to just play softball.”

Newberg did more than just play. Her name can be found in the Gators’ record book for both career and season achievements.

She is the school’s all-time career leader in wins (28) and strikeouts (261). She’s second in innings pitched (338), fifth in complete games (36) and sixth in ERA (3.29). Her three season records – wins, strikeouts and games – were set during her junior year when she went 16-9 with 119 strikeouts in 30 appearances.

She has also been a proficient offensive player.

She batted .306 as a junior with her 45 hits ranking seventh on the season list, her at-bats (147) third and runs scored (31) fourth. All told, she batted.293 in 107 games.

The awards will fill a trophy case. On a school level, she has twice been named Sage Gator of the Year. She was Skyline Conference Pitcher of the Week twice and ECAC Metro Pitcher of the Week once. She was a first-team All-Skyline player as a junior and second-team in both positions this year.

But numbers and awards aren’t the athletic byproducts that will carry Newberg into her post-college world of helping save lives.

“Playing athletics gave me confidence and enabled me to take on leadership roles,” said Newberg, president of the Sage Student Athlete Advisory Committee and Student Nursing Association. “It’s made my experience at college and my character as a person better.

“There’s also the teamwork aspect of going into hospital work. You have to work as part of a healthcare team. Getting everybody ticking, knowing people’s strengths and delegating the right people for the right jobs is something I learned from softball.”

On May 6, Newberg was named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-District first team, placing her in contention for All-America honors. She was awarded the 2012 ECAC Merit Medal for her volunteer spirit.

“Through my nursing association I’ve made strides in raising breast cancer awareness,” she said. “Through the SAAC I organized a volunteer day in the pediatrics section at Albany Medical where we decorated the wings for Easter.”

She also helped administer New York Special Olympic Games in the fall.

In 2012, she went to India and earned independent study credits through her work in women’s health.

“It enriched my life,” she said. “I stayed there for a month and helped deliver babies. Seeing medical care in a third-world country makes me appreciate what we have here and what I’ve learned.”

Newberg was inspired for a career in nursing through two episodes in her New Britain days.

Witnessing her father’s time as a patient at New Britain General Hospital had a profound effect on her. She will soon be serving her second term as a NBGH student nurse as an Emergency Room technician before starting her professional career in Albany in mid-June.

“It’s a great opportunity up here,” she said. “It’s really incredible to be a new graduate and getting that job.”

She also cited New Britain High athletic trainer Hilary Bristol for honing her interest and supporting her endeavors. Bristol would invite interested students to train with her during study halls and that experience continues to run deep.

“She’s amazing,” Newberg said with a strong hint of devotion. “She came all the way up here for my Senior Day. She really looks at each kid as an important person, not just an athlete.”

Newberg is the daughter of Fredrick and Judith Newberg.