Athlete of the Week: Kelsey Warren

An exclusive interview with Kelsey Warren whose extraordinary fourth season with the women’s softball team and versatility as a utility player has earned her a spot as Athlete of the Week.


Photo provided by COD Athletics

Lily Goodfellow, Sports Writer

Athlete of the Week: Kelsey Warren

Sport: Women’s Softball

Position: Utility

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Naperville

High School: Naperville North


Lily Goodfellow:When did you start playing softball?

Kelsey Warren: I believe I started playing when I was six or seven. My older sister  inspired me to play. She went on to play at the University of Wisconsin and Northern Illinois so I  followed in her footsteps and I always enjoyed watching her play, so she  inspired me to play when I was really young.


LG: How long have you been playing for COD?

KW: So this is my fourth year. Eligibility-wise, I am a sophomore. Since I came during the [year] Covid [started], this is my fourth year playing. But I’m in my junior year of classes. It’s a little confusing. Unfortunately this will be my last year [playing], but I am going to try to stay and be a manager next year, just so I can be around the girls. I love being here. It’s hard to get me away from COD softball.


LG: What is a utility player?

KW: It basically means that I can play wherever the coach needs me to, so I do play a lot of shortstop, but I also do play outfield too. 


LG: What strengths do you have that make you a great athlete?

KW: I’m pretty tall, so that gives me a lot of reach. I like to run and I feel like I have a lot of endurance, but not just physically. I feel like as a person I’m a leader. Being one of the older girls on the team, that really plays into my strengths and my contributions to the team.


LG: What has softball taught you about testing your personal limits?

KW: Softball has taught me a lot. Softball has taught me how to work through tough situations. I just did an assignment for my Sports and Society class and we talked about this a little bit. Softball’s an escape. It takes you away when you need a break from hard things that you’re going through in life. But also it’s taught me in tough games and tough tournaments, or even in the hole and just not hitting well, softball has taught me to keep pushing through.


LG: How do you think the team will do this season?

KW: I think the team is going to do really well. I’m a little biased because I am on the team, but with the returners I think we have some really good strengths this year. We have a lot of new lefty batters. We have a decent amount of pitching this year. We have my sister, Chloe, who is a great pitcher, and then we have Amber, who is returning back. This is my last go around for making it to the National Championship. I went one year. My second year here we made it to the National Championship, so hopefully fingers-crossed we will make it this year.


LG: Did you get to play with your sister in high school as well?

KW: No. So I’m actually 24. My younger sister is 20. When I graduated from high school, she was just going in. I took a couple years off from softball. I had originally committed to play softball at Coastal Carolina and I ended up deciding not to go and that softball was not going to be the route for me anymore. It only took a couple of years for me to figure out that that’s not how I wanted my life to go. I missed softball so much. That’s how I ended up coming to COD, and since I came in the [year] Covid [started] I had all of these extra years here. So it just ended up that my sister was going to be here at the same time. I played with her last year and this will be her last year playing at COD too. we get to play our last year together.  


LG: What commitment does softball take and what are your future goals with the sport?

KW: My future goals with the sport would definitely be to go into coaching. I love softball so much. I want to be around the game as much as possible, and unfortunately for athletes, especially in softball, there’s not many opportunities after college. So hopefully getting into coaching and hopefully next year I will get to be a manager on the team so I could stick around. [Those] would be my future goals for softball. Also teaching lessons and helping other young players learn. As far as my commitment, softball takes up a big chunk of my everyday life. I go to school, then practice, then straight to work and then home to do homework and stuff. It’s a commitment I would never give up. I absolutely love the commitment and it’s made me a better person.


LG: Where do you work?

KW: I work at Lou Malnati’s in downtown Naperville. But that’s just a “for now” job. They’re really flexible with my school and softball schedule. But I’m in the 3+1 program with Lewis here, so I’m going to get my Bachelor’s next spring through Lewis, but all of my classes will be here. I want to be a police officer in Naperville. I want to be a canine officer. I love dogs. I will go into the police academy which is held right at the Homeland Security building here. Long-term goal, I would love to be a detective.  


LG: Who are some of your role models in sports?

KW: So definitely my older sister. I’m a little biased because she is my sister. She has taught me everything there is to know about softball, so she’s definitely a role model to me. Famous-wise, I love Jennie Finch. A lot of people know who Jennie Finch is and I’ve looked up to her. She played for the Chicago Bandits and she played at University of Arizona. She’s an amazing athlete. I’m a lefty slapper, so I run and hit the ball at the same time on the left side of the batter’s box, so I’d say that Caitlin Lowe is probably my favorite professional athlete because she’s a really good lefty slapper also. 


LG: What is your favorite food?

KW: My favorite food is definitely chicken fingers. I’m not a picky eater, I promise, but I could eat chicken fingers all day.


LG: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

KW: Honestly, I’ve already been there. I have a fear of flying, so that’s kind of a problem. But I think I could make this flight again since I’ve already been. I went to the Virgin Islands when I was a freshman in high school and it was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, so I would love to go back if I could get over my flying fear. I can fly short flights, like to Florida, but I’m scared a little bit. 


LG: What one word best describes you?

KW: Energetic. I’m always up.


LG: Thank you, Kelsey!

KW: Thank you for interviewing me!