Words Unlimited Bestows Honor on SRU's Kaitlyn Birrell

Words Unlimited Bestows Honor on SRU's Kaitlyn Birrell
NEWPORT, R.I. - For the first time in the 67-year history of the organization, Words Unlimited has chosen a non-Division I athlete as its female athlete of the year. Rhode Island's organization of sportswriters, sportscasters, and publicists, Words Unlimited holds its annual banquet and awards ceremony on Sunday, February 24, 2013.

MARION PERKINS MEMORIAL AWARD (Female Athlete of the Year)

Kaitlyn Birrell (Hope, R.I./Scituate HS)

Birrell arrived on the Newport campus in 2009 after leading the Scituate High School Spartans to success in two sports – soccer and basketball.  Her respective Seahawk head coaches in those two sports – Kerri Scroope and Cori Hughes – knew they were getting a talented athlete with exceptional qualities.

Qualities that her former basketball coach at Scituate, Jean Angell, can readily describe: "Her leadership, her calmness, her confidence, knowledge of the game. She’ll see things before I will then she’ll throw the ball and I’ll ask myself, ‘Where is that going?’ and all of a sudden it’s in somebody’s hands."[1]

In 2012, the Marion Perkins Memorial Award winner as the Words Unlimited Female Athlete of the Year excelled at both sports at both ends of the pitch/court for Salve Regina.

In soccer, she broke records – her own. Already established as the school’s career scoring leader by her junior season, Birrell elevated the all-time marks for goals, assists, and points during her senior campaign while earning Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Offensive Player of the Year honors for the second straight season. The school’s top four marks for goals in a single season all have Birrell’s name next to them, with her best season saved for last – 21 goals in 2012.

Birrell earned additional accolades from the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). The CCC’s leading scorer also ranked 20th in the nation in goals per game while being selected to the NSCAA All-Region Team for the third straight year.

Also in 2012, Birrell helped lead the Salve Regina women’s basketball program to its second straight conference championship and NCAA appearance while earning Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Defensive Player of the Year honors. She now owns the school’s all-time record for steals and assists.

"It’s pretty amazing that somebody at the Division III level is being recognized with this (Words Unlimited Female Athlete of the Year), but there’s not a more deserving person than Katie Birrell," says Coach Hughes. "She’s been able to achieve at such a high level at two sports, sports that overlap."

"There is no rest for her," says Coach Scroope. "What she does on and off the court and the field is amazing. Most kids that play two sports have the fall and the spring, but Katie doesn’t have the winter break; she goes back-to-back. She does amazing things on the soccer field then I watch her do the same on the basketball court."[2]

A member of the conference’s all-academic team as well, Birrell’s philosophy for success comes from her family. “My dad always says, ‘If you go out there and play your hardest, no matter if you win or lose, then you’ll look back and have no regrets.’”

The only regret for Hughes and Scroope is that graduation comes this May.

--Courtesy of Salve Regina Sports Information