Kenly Rogers, Kyleigh Fridley look back on time with East Fairmont as head coach Beckman surpasses 100 wins
Rogers was a ball kid for the team as a child, remembers Beckman’s leadership as she is now the team’s leading scorer
FAIRMONT, W.Va (WDTV) - East Fairmont girl’s basketball is celebrating a milestone unlike many others this week. Head coach James Beckman recently surpassed the 100 career win mark, and since then, he’s taken time to reflect on what’s gotten him to this moment.
“You always talk about your first win. It’s always your hardest,” said coach Beckman. “Whether it’s your first of your career or your first to start a season. Very humbling for me, but I wouldn’t be at that 100 wins if it wasn’t for my current players, my alumni players, my current coaches, and my past coaches. It’s really a shared accolade for East side. I wouldn’t be where I was at without the brand.”
It was an especially great moment for Kenly Rogers. Not only is she a current scoring leader for the team, but she has an interesting background that ties her to the Bees since she was in elementary school.
“I’ve been following this program, I was actually ball kid when I was little,” said Rogers. “It’s cool to see the work he’s put in and be a part of it myself. To see him get what he has been putting into this. It’s very cool.”
For Rogers, she remembers her time as a ball kid well, because it put her in a position to look up to former players, a role that she serves today.
“I was sitting on the end, wanting to be on the floor. Wanting to be like those girls,” Rogers said when asked to tell a story about being a ball kid. “Getting to be out there, it’s very surreal. You never thought you’d be a junior when you were in fifth grade. It means a lot to me. I’ve put in a lot of work. I remember looking up to those girls. I work really hard to be that for someone else.”
Kyleigh Fridley also remembers what it was like for her as an audience member, and what’s happened from then to now as coach passes the century mark.
“I remember being little, I was obsessed with basketball. I wanted to come watch the high school girls. We thought they were royalty,” said Fridley. “They’ve always wanted to bring the little girls up and make us feel comfortable.”
Now that she’s in the moment, she says that the emotions were higher than any other.
“It was great to be on the floor,” said Fridley. “To be able to say you were there when he got that win. To run out onto the floor and congratulate him.”
Coach Beckman gave a smile when asked to remember his first win, the players who helped him get to this moment, and the stories of when players like Rogers and Fridley watched from afar. For him, it’s all about tradition.
“The old saying, tradition never graduates,” said Coach Beckman. “Those young kids, they look up to Kinley and Kyleigh now. When they come up, there will be a new branch of kids looking up to them. We want to continue to have that success and pass it on to a new generation of basketball players.”
The success coach talks about is in place this season, the team is continuously ranked as a top five team in the state, and for Rogers, winning is the new tradition.
“It’s a big deal for this program to be placed so high. In the past it hasn’t been that. It’s cool to see the effort we put in being noticed,” said Rogers. “Our goal is to get to Charleston and win that state tournament. That’s everyone’s goal, but that’s what we’re fighting for.”
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