Littlefield excels in four sports — including footballCourier Publications/VillageSoup spotlights BAHS standout
Belfast — It is no secret that Ashley Littlefield, athletically, is as talented as they come.
Excelling at a high level in three sports, let alone four, is a daunting task, to say the least.
Considering her all-around stellar play in four sports, including one somewhat unconventional for females, Littlefield beat out a field of four talented finalists to be named the 2013-14 Courier Publications schoolgirl athlete of the year.
Littlefield, who is a 2014 graduate of Belfast Area High School, beat out Searsport's Alicen Brooks, Camden Hills' Rachel Pease, Oceanside's Brooke Dugan and Vinalhaven's Ashley Hamilton to earn the prestigious honor.
Littlefield played softball in the spring, basketball over the winter and both soccer and football in the fall for the Lions.
“I am pretty happy,” said Littlefield on being named the Midcoast's top high school athlete. “I was reading different articles written about different people and I was really hoping that I would win this. I've always been excited about winning awards for sports because I've always taken a lot of pride in playing all kinds of different sports.”
Littlefield, a center back on the soccer pitch, earned second-team all-conference honors, while she also proved to get her kicks on the gridiron as well as Belfast's place kicker.
She booted 20-of-25 extra-point attempts on the season, second in the Big Ten Conference behind only Winslow's Dylan Hapworth. The Black Raiders advanced to the state Class C championship game before falling to Leavitt of Turner in the finals.
Those 20 extra points made were enough to earn her second-team all-conference in Class C's Big Ten Conference.
Littlefield was the girls basketball team's best all-around player as she netted around eight points per game as a forward, while on the softball field, she excelled both in the pitching circle and at the plate.
Lion softball coach Chris Bartlett, who also is the school's football coach, said Littlefield batted .301 on the season, though she was “more of a singles hitter” in terms of power. She also was a force as the team's pitcher as she struck out 130 batters in 110 innings, earning her second-team all-conference honors.
Littlefield's interest in athletics piqued at a young age naturally, with her mother, Amy Dyer-Kelley being a 1991 BAHS graduate as well as a member of the Husson College (now Husson University) Sports Hall of Fame.
Dyer-Kelley was a collegiate basketball and softball player, while she played field hockey, basketball and softball during her high school career.
“I'm very proud of her,” said Dyer-Kelley of her daughter. “She did great through athletics in high school, she worked part-time, she did four sports, her grades were commendable and on the honor roll. I'm very proud of her and what she has accomplished in her high school career.”
“I've always played sports, nearly since I was born,” said Littlefield. “My mom has a picture of me with a basketball when I was not even a year old. My mom has always made me the best that I could be in all the sports that I play.”
It is a bit of an anomaly that Littlefield became a soccer player in the first place. There certainly were plenty of potential roadblocks.
Her grandfather, Lewis Dyer, started the peewee football program in Belfast decades ago, but she was not allowed to play as he was concerned she would get injured by the larger boys on the team.
Then her mother, who played on the 1990 state Class B championship field hockey team at BAHS, attempted to bring her to youth field hockey practice.
“I remember going to coach [Allen] Holmes' camp when I was a kid, and I knew from the start that I was not a field hockey player,” she said. “I was terrible. So I made my mom bring me to soccer camps.”
“I said to her, 'You know what, I want you to try it,' ” said Dyer-Kelley. “So she didn't like it. At all. She said, 'It's a stick, it's not my foot!' She tried it, but she said, 'Mom, I want to play soccer. I like to kick the ball.'”
Which could not be more clear now, given her success on the gridiron.
Basketball was her favorite sport growing up, but has changed to football in recent years, the least conventional for high school female athletes.
However, Littlefield, through her athletic prowess, has proven anything but conventional.
“I would love to have another year of football if I could," she said.
“With all the other sports I play it's all mostly girls and not everyone got along,” she said. “But on the football team you're kind of forced to get along. And with guys it's just easier. It's just, 'Do what you need to do on the field' and that's it.”
Littlefield wrote a touching essay about her experience on the football team this past year, which Bartlett read to parents at the end-of-season banquet, which offered a unique perspective on “the bonds that she saw that take place on a football field, that you don't get in other sports,” said Bartlett.
“Here's somebody who is coming literally from almost the opposite sport of soccer, but crossing that gender threshold,” he said. “She just talked about what it was like as far as being part of a football team. We all know how special it is, but she is someone who was always on the outside looking in.”
It certainly made full participation in both soccer and football practices challenging, let alone games.
“I had a home game for soccer one day,” she said. “Started at 3 o'clock, got done from that, ran right off the field and changed into my football uniform in the vehicle on the way to Dover-Foxcroft and showed up in time for warm-ups for the Dover game. I did that twice throughout the season.”
Littlefield started playing softball in middle school and started working on her pitching in eighth grade. She recalled looking up to Victoria Overlock, who was a dominant pitcher during her tenure with the Lions.
“I was always trying to live up to her for softball and pitching,” Littlefield said. “And with soccer we both played the same position for both sports, so it's like I was really trying to fill her shoes.”
She swung up to varsity her freshman year, which was Overlock's senior season.
“Just watching her pitch, all I could think was, 'That's what I want to do when I get up here and playing on varsity,' " Littlefield said. “It definitely drove me to try to be better.”
Littlefield split time in the pitching circle during her junior year with teammate Killyan Richards, both doing their best to fill the void left by Overlock. During her senior year Littlefield toed the pitching slab on her own and more than held her own against some of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B's top squads.
Bartlett said Littlefield had “ice in her veins” and “had 100 percent confidence in her abilities” when it came to her stepping inside the pitching circle.
“She didn't let the pressure or anything get to her,” he said. “It was almost like the tougher the situation became, no matter what it was, the tougher she got.”
The two have a close relationship as not only did Bartlett coach her in two sports, he also had her in several classes.
“I've always looked up to him as a coach,” Littlefield said. “We've had our ups and downs, but he's always been someone who is just really inspirational and always really knows what to say. I always listen to him and take his advice. He's kind of been like a father figure to me.”
“She's a great kid,” he said. “She really grew up and matured a lot as she got older and turned into a good leader.”
While she originally planned to follow in her mother's footsteps and attend Husson University, Littlefield called a last-minute audible and will attend Capillo Institute of Beauty in Augusta.
That will not leave much time for athletics, though Littlefield is lifting weights with the Lion football team and plans to be as close to the action as possible during the upcoming football season.
“I feel like I'm going to be one of those people that are back trying to be part of the teams when I'm like 30 years old,” she said.
Name: Ashley Littlefield.
Grade: 2014 graduate of Belfast Area High School
Parents: Amy Dyer-Kelley and Steven Littlefield.
Favorite athlete: Larry Bird.
Favorite personal moment in sports: My first point-after attempt made in the second game of the season against Madison-Carrabec.
Favorite course in school: Strength and conditioning.
TV show you never miss: None.
Favorite phone/computer app: Snapchat.
What do you listen to on your iPod before competing: Country music.
Favorite movie: The Last Song.
Food you pig out on: Pizza
Favorite book: None.
Hobbies: Fishing, hanging out with my dog, Maverick.
Vehicle you wish you were driving: Chevy Equinox.
Person you most want to meet (dead or alive): Larry Bird.
Most influential people in your life: My mom, my boyfriend and coach Chris Bartlett.
Future plans: Going to cosmetology and massage therapy school, and hopefully some day opening my own spa.
Associate Sports Director
594-4401, ext. 116
Mark has been covering local sports throughout Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln county since 2007. Haskell has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maine and is also a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School. He has won multiple Maine Press Association awards for writing and photography.
Mark loves the Boston Red Sox, iced coffee, cargo shorts and time with friends and family.
He resides in Thomaston with his wife Jenn, his sons Beckett and Austin and daughter Lila.
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