Sarah Kate Kelarek began playing varsity basketball for Salado in September.
It didn’t take long for the freshman to earn her first accolade as a Lady Eagle after Kelarek was named KDHPressbox.com Player of the Week on Thursday.
Kelarek didn’t just win the honor, she ran away with it after a 17-point performance against Marlin.
Kelarek tallied 810 votes, a whopping 99 percent of the overall vote, in a race that was never close.
“It feels good because I know that (the community is) supportive,” Kelarek said. “All the teachers got the kids to go online and vote for me.”
Also nominated was Ellison reserve Shaqur Martin, who came off the bench to score a team-high 15 points in the Eagles’ win against Round Rock, also his first game of the season.
Gatesville had a pair of players nominated to round out the field as senior Seth Martin scored 19 points in a win against Troy and senior Meghan Haferkamp scored 18 in a road win against Clifton.
As impressive as her effort against Marlin was, it wasn’t even a career high for Kelarek, who topped that with a 20-point game against Burnet earlier in the season.
Not bad for a girl who was playing eighth-grade competition this time last year.
Yet coming into the season, Kelarek welcomed the jump in competition rather than feared it.
“I was ready to get into high school and start playing with people who had the same passion I did,” she said.
And while playing against players considerably older than her was a shock at first, she said the transition, overall, has been a smooth one.
“At first it was kind of scary,” Kelarek said. “After I got to know my team and they started to accept me, I knew it was all going to be OK.”
Now, Kelarek just wants to contribute in every way she can with a coach, Diane Konarik, who she said made her transition even easier.
“It feels pretty good knowing that my coach is so supportive of me and really helping me out,” Kelarek said.
Contact Jordan Mason at email@example.com or 254-501-7562