All Revere High senior Kathryn “Katie” O’Donnell wanted was play one more season for the varsity softball team. More than anything, she wanted to helped lead Coach Joe Ciccarello’s program to another state tournament berth.
Though Katie had already accomplished much – tying the school record for goals in a field hockey season, being named league MVP, and serving as a captain of the first state tournament team in 31 years – there was still one more goal on her schedule.
But the global pandemic of 2020 ended Katie’s dream this week when the schools were closed for the remainder of the year.
Katie will have plenty of memories to cherish, like walking into the fieldhouse and having the great Jen Wells congratulating her for tying her record for most goals.
Another Katie O. all-time moment: rushing for a touchdown in the annual Powder Puff flag football game during a victory over Winthrop at Della Russo Stadium.
O’Donnell was going to be starting player and a softball team captain with Eve Lescovitz. She grew up playing softball in the Revere league at the St. Mary’s field and in the East Boston Girls Softball League.
A Record-Setting Season
Katie O’Donnell, who is 5-foot-2, scored 14 goals last fall as Coach Brianna Scata’s field hcokey contingent qualified for the MIAA Tournament for the first time since 1989. Her 14 goals tied Jen Wells’ all-time mark.
“She [Jen Wells] is a physical education teacher and she personally congratulated me, which was nice,” said Katie. “I know she was an incredible softball pitcher, too.”
Katie played on the forward line with Kathy Umanzor, Julianna Raffa, and Kayla Armetta. The team won its first seven games and won more games than any field hockey team in school history.
“I think she [Scata] was a really great coach that turned the program around,” lauded Katie. “She was always there for all of us. She’s a phenomenal coach. She also played when she was in high school.”
Katie completed her autumn by helping to lead the Revere Powder Puff team to a hard-fought 22-14 victory over Winthrop at Della Russo Stadium. A running back, Katie took a handoff from quarterback Brianna Popp and
Part of her fall sports was spent rooting for the varsity football team and her classmates on the team. “They had a really great season,” said Katie.
She was a three-year varsity basketball player, having begun her career for the Revere recreation league and travel team under the leadership of Anthony Palermo. She served as a captain of this year’s team with Erika Cheever.
A Difficult Ending
Katie said the ending to the school year and her final season was “very tough.”
“As seniors, we’re going to try to do as much as we can, hoping that this pandemic passes by summer,” said Katie. “We can do whatever we can and hopefully nothing is virtual. For softball, we were just hoping to come back and have a great season but it was canceled.”
“In addition to Coach Scata, I want to thank Coach [Joe] Ciccarello and Coach [Matt] Willis for everything they’ve done the past few years. They’re both very good coaches and know a lot about their sports.”
An Honor Roll Student
Katie said her academic experience at Revere High “was something I’ll never forget,”
“I thank all my teachers since freshman year,” she said. “They really made it the best experience I could have had.”
A member of the National Honor Society, Katie will attend UMass/Amherst and study in the Criminal Justice program.
She is grateful to her parents, James and Kathleen O’Donnell “who never missed my games.”
Her grandfather is legendary Chelsea High School teacher James O’Donnell. It was Mr. O’Donnell who inspired two generations of Chelsea students to love history by making the learning experience fun and rewarding. Students still speak of Mr. O’Donnell with reverence and appreciation.
“That’s my grandfather,” said Katie proudly. “I get that a lot. He still has a great sense of humor. He’s making his jokes every day. He always says that learning should be fun.
She also has a brother, James, who is a student at Holy Cross.
“I want to thank James for coming to all the games he could, even when he was at college,” said Katie.
Though it is unknown at this time when the annual RHS awards night will be held, it is a certainty that Katie O’Donnell will hear her name called several times in recognition of her brilliant career.
Director of Athletics Frank Shea said that O’Donnell was not only one of the finest all-around athletes in the Greater Boston League, but an outstanding representative of the school and the community.
“To participate in three sports and excel as she did – she really displayed her versatility and leadership while serving as as an excellent example for the underclassmen in our program,” said Shea. “Katie is a great kid who participated in three different sports seasons for a number of years.”