Kenzie Fowler joins Ron Hassey & Sean Elliott in an exclusive clubby Andy Morales on Jun. 06, 2010, under Sports
My brother, Javier, and I tried to think back to all the local high school kids who went on to greatness at the University of Arizona by leading their team to a national team championship game or a similar pinnacle such as a Final Four appearance.
We came up with three: Ron Hassey, Sean Elliott and Kenzie Fowler.
Hassey and Elliott were able to take Arizona to places they’ve never been before like an NCAA championship and a Final Four but Fowler belongs in their class because she put an entire program on her shoulders as a freshman and delivered.
Like Mia Hamm and Jennie Finch before her, I am sure there are hundreds of young girls who see Fowler as role model and as a hero of sorts.
I am one of the lucky ones, having seen Fowler pitch from around age nine. Even then, I told her parents that her teammates will always be able to say they played with her when she was a kid.
I knew she would be good but I didn’t know she would be great at this level – not this soon.
As a Physical Educator and coach I’ve seen thousands of boys who have great skills but you can never tell which one will succeed. The odds are against them due to the sheer numbers. Malcolm Millner, Ryan Cota and Alex Brown were students of mine.
By contrast, I’ve only seen three girls that I knew would succeed athletically.
Shannon Galanek was one of my students who struggled with the knowledge that she was highly skilled but had no direction. She was better than all the boys and they knew it. She took her skills to Adams State where she was an All-Region softball player and currently serves as an assistant coach there.
Alanna Pawlowski was such a great athlete as a child that I was not surprised that she went to Penn State as a soccer goalie. She is a journalism major who takes part is student protests. I love it.
My daughter played with Fowler on the first ever Desert
Thunder team way back when (current Wildcat Karissa Buchanan was on that team also) and, contrary to most “over-night” success stories, the national softball community became aware of Fowler pretty quickly.
Her name has been synonymous with pitching since she was about 12 years old.
Her current Wildcat teammate, Brigette DelPonte, was also well known. She was so well known that teams walked her as a kid rather than face that swing of hers.
Win or lose, the marketing campaign at Arizona should focus on Fowler jerseys and posters much like is done with the football players who have yet to reach any level of success.
Ron Hassey, Tucson High School
Arizona Baseball World Series Championship 1976
Professional Championship: Oakland A’s 1989
Sean Elliott, Cholla High School
Arizona Final Four 1988
Professional Championship: Spurs 1999
Kenzie Fowler, Canyon del Oro
Arizona Softball World Series Championship series 2010
Did we miss someone? To qualify they had to attend a Southern Arizona High School and took Arizona to a team championship game or to similar success. I know there are hundreds of individual sport athletes – I’m looking for a leader of a team sport – the main player.