Cline connects

Fairview's Kiersten Cline hits the ball during a nonconference softball game against Montpelier on April 17 at the Superior Athletic Complex in Montpelier.

SHERWOOD — Fairview High School’s 2021 senior class has had plenty of individual and team success this year.

Kiersten Cline has been at the center of a lot of it.

The league player of the year for the Green Meadows Conference-winning volleyball and girls basketball teams, Cline has gotten off to a huge start in softball as well for the state-ranked Apaches.

“It’s so crazy. It’s nice because last year we didn’t have that season, so we came into this year like we’re going to go as hard as we can and play as hard as we can and be a team because there’s six of us (seniors),” Cline said. “Then the underclassmen too in different sports and everything, we have such a close team.

“So then also getting ranked ninth in the state, we know we have a target on our back. But we love having targets on our back, we like playing with pressure, we like playing with all of that so it’s really awesome.”

Cline, who has a 4.0 GPA in the classroom, has helped Fairview (11-1, 4-0 GMC) win 11 straight games by an average of more than 12 runs per contest. She had a .512 batting average with a double, three triples, three home runs, 22 RBIs and 26 runs scored through the Apaches’ first 11 games.

“Obviously on the field, she’s one of those players that is so versatile for us as well,” Fairview coach Staci Renollet said. “She’s a great center fielder. This year, we moved her into third base, so kind of depending on where we are pitching-wise, what kind of team we’re facing, she’s one of our strongest infielders and outfielders.

“She hits third for us, which is huge in our lineup because when you look at her stats, I think she’s leading us in RBIs and leading us in runs scored, which is kind of a difficult combination to do. So that means the girls around her are hitting as well, but we kind of count on her in that third spot moving runners around.”

Cline is among a strong group of seniors, including Anna Ankney, Olivia Ricica, Emerald Rittenhouse-Starbuck, Clair Shininger and Cassie Mavis, that have an opportunity to win their third district championship at Fairview. The Apaches posted a school-record 22 wins in winning a Division III district title in 2019, and they earned a district crown in 2018 as well.

“We talked to the seniors, not many of them have an opportunity to win a district championship every year they’ve played the sport,” Renollet said. “So for Kiersten and her teammates, they won a district championship freshman year, sophomore year and they see that as a goal that they want to reach again, realizing it’s not going to be easy.

“But Kiersten and her other teammates, they’re just really clutch when it comes to those big game situations.”

Cline’s offensive numbers have been staggering -- she batted .475 with 11 doubles, a triple and three home runs her first two seasons -- but her positivity and leadership are two attributes that have been impactful as well.

“My favorite thing to do is just make people laugh. I like to make people smile, crack a joke, whatever I can to just make them positive and have a positive mindset,” Cline said. “During practices when someone messes up, you’ve got to be like ‘Hey, you got it, next ball,’ and put everything behind and I think they have learned well on how to achieve that.”

During the fall, Cline led Fairview’s volleyball team to its first GMC title since 2001 after the Apaches went 22-2 overall and 7-0 in league play. In the winter, Cline powered the Apaches to their second-straight Division III district runner-up finish and a 21-4 overall record, including 7-0 in the GMC for their first conference crown since 2005.

“It’s such an honor. To be able to be named player of the year is something so crazy and to get all the compliments and everything,” Cline said. “But just individually knowing all the hard work pays off.

“My teammates are so supportive and everything and they push me hard and make me great, and I want to push them hard to make them great.”

Cline is a member of the National Honor Society and is the co-editor of the school’s yearbook group. She is planning on going to Ohio State University to study psychology, then go into the school’s occupational therapy program.

Before then, however, she’s looking to cap off her high school career with one last outstanding season in a year full of them at Fairview.

“It’s just awesome (with) the school community and the support,” Cline said. “... The seniors, we knew we wanted this year to make it special with COVID, with everything.

“We wanted to leave a legacy at Fairview, that’s for sure.”

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