Led by one student’s drive, Battle Mountain High starts girls softball team

Students advocated for and planned all aspects for inaugural season

From left to right: Lelia Conlin, Kelly Alter, Michelle Stecher, Ella Wanner, Karly Woodbridge, Sophia DeLappa, Juan Pena, Dan Reynolds, Dr. Ted Long, Dr. Katie Jarnot and Gentry Nixon.
Courtesy Photo

Battle Mountain High School Junior Karly Woodbridge presented a proposal for a new girls softball team to the Eagle County School District Board of Education on April 13.

During the board meeting, Woodbridge asked for board approval of her proposal for the team at Battle Mountain, citing that travel to and from Eagle Valley High School made participating in girls softball impossible. In her presentation, Woodbridge walked the board through the steps taken to identify priorities, addressed potential hurdles and outlined logistics to ensure the inaugural season would be a successful one.

Working with Battle Mountain High School Athletic Director Gentry Nixon and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Katie Jarnot, Woodbridge reviewed a district policy around student activities and interscholastic sports/standards for participation to get a baseline of needs to move forward. From there, Woodbridge took the initiative to find practice space and recruit potential coaches, parents and athletes to participate.

From these efforts, more than 30 students have already voiced interest, which would field both a junior varsity and a varsity team.

“Dr. Jarnot and I got Karly pointed in the right direction and she ran with it from there. She handled all of the necessary research, reached out to all potential interested parties and put together a well thought out and complete presentation for the board,” Nixon said. “It was truly awe-inspiring, and I couldn’t be more proud of what Karly accomplished. She will forever be a trailblazer in the Husky community.”

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After meeting with Eagle County School District Chief Operating Officer Sandy Farrell to discuss budgetary concerns, it was determined that this opportunity would be possible with $500 from the school’s supply budget, fundraising opportunities, and student athletic fees.

Before presenting to the board, the proposal was reviewed to meet Colorado High School Activities Association requirements and Title IX compatibility. Softball is a Colorado High School Activities Association approved sport and numerous opponents were found within the geographical region. In addition, men’s and women’s sports are currently offset at Battle Mountain, so the addition of softball matches with the boys baseball team, allayed potential concerns and cleared the path for the board vote.

As Woodbridge sat with fellow student athletes Sophia DeLappa and Ella Wanner, the board asked her about why she had not previously presented this idea for proposal.

“I didn’t have the time, but I will get to play as a senior. Although I wish I was able to do it sooner, it is happening at the right time. I do have a younger sister that is coming in, so she will hopefully be able to take advantage of this opportunity,” Woodbridge added.

Present school board members unanimously voted to approve the addition of girls softball.

The team’s new inaugural season will be fall 2022.

“Hearing from a passionate student that took this project on from start to finish and presented her findings in such a precise and complete manner is truly what makes this work so rewarding,” said Board of Education President Michelle Stecher. “It isn’t every day that a board presentation is followed by applause and photo opportunities. We are truly excited for Battle Mountain High School to usher in a new era of girls softball.”

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