Penns Valley has hired two new coaches to lead its varsity softball and track and field teams.
Tessa Deardorff will take over the softball program, and Kendyl Paolini will be the head track and field coach this spring.
Deardorff replaces Don Lucas, who led Penns Valley to the PIAA Class A title in 2002. The Lady Rams finished 6-13 last season.
Deardorff, a 2011 Penns Valley graduate, finished a standout career at Lebanon Valley College this past spring. She was a four-year starting outfielder and is Lebanon Valley’s all-time leader in hits, runs scored and stolen bases.
Deardorff said she was offered the position a few weeks ago and was approved as the coach by the school board last Wednesday.
“I’m just really excited to give back to the program that helped make me into the player that I am,” she said Tuesday. “I’m just really excited to give back to my alma mater.”
She said Lucas was instrumental in her success as a player.
“I definitely don’t think I’d be the player that I was in college or in high school without his support and him pushing me,” Deardorff said. “Personally, I was switched to the other side of batting. He changed me into a left-handed hitter so that kind of set up my whole career.”
Deardorff said she hopes to have her coaching staff figured out in the next few weeks.
Paolini will be the head coach of the Penns Valley girls’ and boys’ track and field teams, replacing girls’ coach Lynda Federinko and boys’ coach Drew Welch.
Welch will be an assistant coach along with Sal Nicosia.
Paolini, a 2010 Penns Valley graduate, competed on the track and field team at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
She was an assistant coach at Penns Valley last year, helping the team to a Mountain League championship.
Now, she’ll be leading the program.
“It’s just really, really cool to me because track at Penns Valley helped me get myself organized and get myself prepared for college and a career,” Paolini said Tuesday. “And I’m hoping to be able to do that for some of these kids.”