From Westford Waves to college softball: Felicani commits to Nichols College


Provided by Kyla Felicani

Felicani signs her commitment to Nichols College.

Deepa Gautam, Features Editor

Somewhere in the midst of daily practices and laughter between teammates they’ve known since childhood, the familiar routine of sports quickly becomes a second home for many athletes. For senior Kyla Felicani, softball has taken that role ever since she picked up her first bat 12 years ago.

Now, after years of devotion and her time at WA Girls’ Softball, Felicani has committed to Nichols College to continue her softball career at the D3 level, playing centerfield. Although Felicani doesn’t remember exactly when her softball journey began, she has loved the sport for as long as she can remember.

“It feels like I just started one day. I don’t really even remember my first time playing, but I would just play with my friends,” Felicani said. “I liked wiffle ball and I knew about baseball, so my parents signed me up for softball and I just loved it immediately.” 

After she first signed up, Felicani quickly learned the ins and outs of the sport through local youth teams such as Westford Waves softball. During this time, she also met many of the lifelong friends and teammates that would go on to play with her at WA and shape her fond experiences of softball. 

“The best part of playing a sport is meeting new people,” Felicani said. “You create friendships with people that are unbreakable. You share the same passion with these friends which makes your relationship stronger and your time together so much more enjoyable.”

In fact, longtime teammate and friend Mia Clark describes Felicani as one of her most passionate, hardworking, and supportive teammates. As children, the pair played 10U [ten and under] together on Westford Waves, and still enjoy the sport together on both high school and club teams.

“My favorite trait is how outgoing she is. She is always down to do whatever and overall a great teammate and friend,” Clark said.

Although COVID prevented Felicani from a freshman season at WA,  she went on to play at the varsity level of WA Girls’ Softball since sophomore year. It was during these years of high school that Felicani’s growing love for softball evolved into a desire to play through college. 

“As I got older and entered high school, I realized that this is what I want to do,” Felicani said. “Softball just brings so much joy into my life and I truly enjoy playing and being active.”

Although many athletes become engrossed in the competitive nature of the sport, Felicani shines by not letting the pressures take away from enjoying the sport itself. According to WA Girls’ Softball coach Gina Mustoe, what stands out about Felicani is her ability to bring a smile and easygoing energy to each practice.

“Kyla is just a really positive influence on the team and a very supportive teammate,” Mustoe said. “As an athlete, she communicates really well as a shortstop in the infield. She practices a lot and it shows that she doesn’t quit. She has high expectations for her teammates and encourages them to put everything they have into it.”

Felicani’s athletic prowess also comes from her intense dedication to the sport outside of school. Over the summer, Felicani takes part in a travel club team, Polar Crush, training together and competing in tournaments every weekend. One of the most important aspects of training for improvement involves being aware of her capabilities while practicing diligently outside of school. 

“Over the past few years I have grown as an athlete because I now know my strengths and weaknesses of the sport,” Felicani said. “I am able to pick out different techniques I need to work on to make me a better player. Because I work so hard, I am practicing constantly on the side to better my skills and making myself a better athlete.”

This continued passion for the sport, incredible commitment to improvement, and adaptable skills as a player were all factors that ultimately resulted in her recruitment, according to Mustoe.

“Kyla can consistently hit the ball and she’s a great utility player,” Mustoe said. “She can play in a bunch of different positions and she knows how to put the ball in play and that’s what colleges need. They need a consistent, versatile player, and she’s able to play outfield and infield.”

If there’s one thing Felicani has learned through the years, it’s that balance – as an athlete, student, and friend – is key. Whether it be developing far-reaching skills on the field or taking on the role of a supportive teammate, the multifaceted nature of being a student-athlete is a challenge she has come to embrace.

“It can always be difficult balancing high school courses and a sport, but I’m excited to have that challenge: to have school be my number one priority, but also knowing that I have a sport to perform in,” Felicani said. “Having that balance is very exciting to me.”

With the help of her family, Felicani began familiarizing herself with the recruitment process early on, emailing coaches and showing interest. Eventually, a coach from Nichols College reached out after assessing her performance through her club team and welcomed Felicani to tour the campus and visit the college team. 

“Once I stepped on campus, I knew that that’s where I belonged,” Felicani said. “Nichols was just really nice, and clean, and super welcoming. [My proudest moment] has probably been getting recruited here and knowing I’ll be playing in college, since I have pushed for so long and fought for so long to get to this place.”

In the next four years, Felicani will be majoring in marketing and is excited to see where her future opportunities take her. 

“As you get older, the sport also becomes more challenging, so I’m excited for that new challenge and to see what I can handle,” Felicani said. “With all these big colleges and their sports teams, you also see that they always have such a tight bond, and I’m excited to get that with my team and have all these new experiences.”