Kelsey Felix is fulfilling a dream and continuing a family legacy.
The standout field hockey goalkeeper from Eastern York High School recently committed to play on the NCAA Division I level for Lock Haven University.
That just happens to be the same school where her mother, Steph, was a midfielder.
Steph, a 1996 Lock Haven graduate, also just happens to be Kelsey's head coach at Eastern.
The fact that her mother was a Bald Eagle was a major factor in Kelsey's decision.
"My mom would always talk about the history, culture and atmosphere at Lock Haven, being a family rather than just a team," Kelsey said. "When I visited Lock Haven I instantly knew that I wanted to be a part of this family and it was the perfect school for me."
Hall-of-fame coach: A big part of the culture at Lock Haven is its hall-of-fame coach, Pat Rudy, who has led the Bald Eagles for a quarter of a century and been a college field hockey head coach for more than four decades.
Rudy's career record is 613-231-21 and her Lock Haven mark is 367-139. The Eagles are coming off an 11-9 mark in 2019, including a 6-2 record in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
"PR, she’s a great coach, very experienced," Kelsey said. "Throughout Lock Haven field hockey history, the school's only had three coaches. I thought that was a great achievement for their program."
Mom is happy with daughter's decision: Not surprisingly, Steph is pleased with the selection made by her 17-year-old daughter.
Steph played on NCAA Division II national title teams at Lock Haven in 1992 and 1994 and was an assistant coach on the 1995 national championship squad. Lock Haven moved up to D-I in field hockey in 2004.
"I think it’s a perfect fit," said Steph, who played for Donegal High School in Mount Joy, Lancaster County. "The class size and the hockey talent is great. I think she’ll have the best of both worlds academically and athletically. ... I hope she enjoys all the tradition they have.
"And I'm happy I'll be able to go up and travel to Lock Haven and support her and visit my alma mater."
Major played role: Kelsey said the fact that Lock Haven has a strong health science program also played a major role in her decision.
She's hoping to become a physical therapist or a physician's assistant.
Strong junior campaign: Kelsey is coming off an all-state junior season for the Golden Knights, when she was a York-Adams League Division III all-star for a third-straight season.
In 2019, she had 10 shutouts, an .850 save percentage and a 1.09 goals-against average. She helped Eastern to a 14-5 season.
Dealing with the pandemic: Kelsey said she's been running and working on her footwork since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the spring high school sports season.
Kelsey is also a key member of the Golden Knights' standout softball program that had its 2020 season canceled by the virus outbreak.
Now, Kelsey just hopes there will be a 2020 high school field hockey season this fall for her and her teammates.
"I'm really hoping for a senior season," said Kelsey, who also plays for the Spooky Nook field hockey club team based in Lancaster County. "I’d like to make some memories from high school to take with me."
National accolades: Kelsey, who also considered Northwestern and William & Mary, has garnered national attention for her field hockey play.
She was named to the under-17 national squad in 2019 and she had been rated one of the top 50 recruits in the nation for the Class of 2021 by Max Field Hockey.
Dream fulfilled, dream awaits: That impressive background earned her a partial scholarship with the Bald Eagles. At Lock Haven, field hockey is one of just two sports to compete at the D-I level, along with wrestling.
"I've always wanted to play D-I," Kelsey said. "It's always been a dream."
That dream should be fulfilled when 2021 rolls around. She's hoping her time at Lock Haven might help her fulfill another dream — playing for the senior national team and possibly competing in the Olympics one day.
"I do think about that," Kelsey said. "It’s a dream."
Reach Steve Heiser at email@example.com.