Richfield Springs had been awaiting a season of success for years; this spring that success was anticipated and then realized by the Indian girls.
“Finally we’re the team that other schools don’t look at on the roster and say, ‘that’s a win,’” said Kaity Richvalsky, the junior left handed pitcher for the Ridgefield Springs softball team that won the Tri-Valley East for the first time since 1995 and made it to the Section Four Class D finals. “Now we’re a team that people see on their schedule, and say, ‘oh no, they’ll be tough to beat.’”
It’s a story years in the making and transcends one sport. The Richfield girls also won the won the T-V track title led by Tessa Buck, a sophomore, who went on to win the long and triple jump in Section Four Class D. Softball coach/athletic director Jay Lehmann and track coaches Brian Roecklein, and T.J. Hoose share credit with a group of girls who have struggled recently in soccer and basketball but have been building momentum for years, especially in the spring.
“When I started five years ago, I started writing all the comments I heard from their competition on the blackboard during one of our first team meetings. They included the usual dismissive remarks about an unthreatening team. Things like ‘don’t worry, we’ll beat them.’ This year it’s a different story. It’s been a lot of hard work on everyone’s part, but five years later, it’s really nice to have teams worried about us,” said Lehmann.
The coaches and girls suggested several reasons for the turnaround. As far as the softball team was concerned, Lehmann and Richvalsky both mentioned the definite increase in experience amongst the girls on the team. Clearly the emergence of Richvalsky has helped although she in turn credits her family for their support and her teammates for matching her dedication in the sport.