Hazel Starr Hits the Field (’25)

Hazel Starr Hits the Field (25)

Rachel Ledoux, Writer

This year, the Bellows Free Academy’s junior varsity football team will be gaining several new players.  For the first time in over a decade, not all of them will be male. 

According to Starr, it has been fifteen years since a girl played for the Bobwhite football team.  That player was Kayleigh Williams (‘10). Previously, Sarah Coon (’08) played for the freshman and JV teams in 2004 and 2005, and, according to Coon, “there was at least one other girl who played for BFA before [her] time.”

This year, Starr began playing offense for the JV team. Despite her gender, Starr appears to be doing a great job.

“She’s had a great deal of success so far,” Randy Clark, one of BFA’s junior varsity coaches, said.

According to Clark, much of Starr’s athletic success is related to her personality, not her gender. “[Hazel is] a great young person. She has an incredible attitude, [is] very positive and is always supportive of her team. She also often has the technical aspects of whatever we’re trying to teach down very quickly, which are basically the foundation for a great football player,” Clark said. 

This isn’t Starr’s first year being in a league of her own when it comes to her gender. She was the only girl on the Steelers 7th/8th-grade team. Even though she’s been the only girl on her teams for the past three years, she has always felt like she belonged in the eyes of her coaches and teammates.

“It’s like a family,” Starr said.

Clark noted that he believes the team’s acceptance of her came from the attitude she has towards them.  “[Hazel] is very well respected, and she is very respectful of the team…so it’s been very, very smooth,” Clark said.

Despite the acceptance of her team, though, Starr describes hearing a bit of backlash from others about her playing. She says she doesn’t let it get to her:  “I wanted to play football, and people would say things along the lines of, ‘No, girls can’t play football.’ And I said, ‘Well, you can sit there and watch me.’”

Starr began playing after one of her friends jokingly suggested it.

 “I really enjoy contact sports like Taekwondo,” Starr explained. “And I’d played soccer for eight years at that point, so I knew I liked those types of sports. I figured, why not?”

Starr said that she immediately took a liking to the sport and has been playing ever since.

“Football just makes life 5 million times better,” Starr said.