Butte Women’s Basketball Alumni Marissa Peters and Kelsey Zelenski Team Up at Providence College – Chico Enterprise-Record
BUTTE VALLEY — Former Butte College women’s basketball players Marissa Peters and Kelsey Zelenski have been competing since seventh grade, eventually joining as teammates at Butte for the 2021-22 season.
The two will continue their journey as teammates together as they both signed letters of intent to pursue their college basketball careers at the NAIA Presentation College divisional school in South Dakota.
“I signed with them because it was my only offer, but they made me feel like home when I went,” said Peters, who noted that she was very homebound and had a hard time. struggling with the idea of moving across the country. “It was kind of like a very low key visit, it wasn’t a very big school, it was a small town and they did a really good job of making me feel at home and feeling like if I could see myself there. ”
For Peters teammate Zelenski, she had several others, including two schools in California, one in Idaho, and Presentation in South Dakota. Zelenski had one Division II offer and three NAIA offers, but decided to go with teammate Peters to South Dakota.
Zelenski visited all four schools, but Presentation coaches first contacted her in December after seeing her film on a recruiting app and followed her constantly, which Zelenski noticed and appreciated.
“At first I was like, ‘I don’t think I could see myself moving to South Dakota, but these coaches are so cool I want to keep talking to them,'” Zelenski said. and watching my matches, so I think that’s really cool. I kind of kept that in mind, but I never made a decision.
The time at Butte was the second stop in college basketball for Zelenski and Peters. Zelenski left Pleasant Valley High School after his senior year at Masters College and Peters went to Folsom Lake College after graduating from Willows High School in 2019. Both returned after their freshman year due to the pandemic and joined coach Tyler Newton at Butte College.
Zelenski endured a battle with three surgeries, including two on the shoulder and one on the knee. Getting back on the court for her basketball season was a challenge, getting cleared about a week before the season started, and after Butte’s historic run in the state tournament, she knew she wouldn’t. wasn’t ready to hang up her shoes.
“The goal was always to play a four-year (college) again and hopefully win a scholarship,” Zelenski said. “During the (recovery) periods it was really hard to see this as an end goal, I didn’t know if I would make it, but it was always the plan and I’m just really lucky to have gotten here and I’m glad I made it to Butte because my team and my coaches got me through it.
For Peters, her dad told her to play college basketball for a year and if she didn’t like it, she could hang up her shoes and be done with it. After returning from Folsom Lake College, she had no intention of playing basketball. Her former high school teammate Meghan Weinrich convinced her to come out for the team, and even late in the season, Peters didn’t see himself continuing his basketball career after Butte.
It wasn’t until the third round of the state playoffs, when Butte traveled to Fresno to play at Fresno City College, that Peters decided she might want to take her talents to the next level.
“I had a discussion with Tyler that I kind of wanted to give up. He asked me where I wanted to play and I kind of told him that I was okay with living in Chico and getting my degree at Chico State and hang them up,” Peters said. “After I beat Fresno, I had another conversation with him and said I don’t think I can drop this game just yet. This feeling was just amazing. It was a split-second decision.
Butte defeated Fresno and entered the Elite 8, in a historic run for Butte College’s women’s basketball program.
Over the past year, Peters and Zelenski have developed a strong bond that never existed before the start of the season. Peters said Zelenski is one of the main reasons she’s ready to cross the country. Peters didn’t tell Zelenski how much she liked Intro and could see herself there, instead leaving Zelenski to decide for herself. For both athletes, it was important to make this transfer their last stop and complete their athletic eligibility there. After Zelenski told Peters how much she liked Presentation, Peters responded by saying that she thought Presentation was the best fit.
“I’m a very homebody, so it’s kind of cool to take a piece of my home with me,” Peters said. “It will probably be the easiest part of it all, but there are difficulties because you are away from your family and stuff like that. It makes the journey so much easier knowing I have her by my side through it all.
The two have developed a strong bond on and off the court which they hope to transfer to the court in South Dakota. In a squad full of underclassmen, the Presentation coaches preached the leadership the two Butte College players can bring. Zelenski said she was good at talking to the team, especially communicating on the pitch in defence, but praised Peters’ ability to connect with players one-on-one.
Zelenski said she hopes to bring experience to a young group of players, knowing that she played at an NAIA school in the Masters, and that she and Peters played at the junior collegiate level in Butte.
“Playing together for another two years is going to be great. I feel like we complement each other really well on the pitch, so it’s going to be really cool to be able to transfer that to a new team,” Peters said. to be really cool to see how we can rub off on the less experienced players and I’m really excited to not mentor, but almost mentor these kids in some way. They have a lot of freshmen, so it will be really cool to help their program and build it. It will be really fun for sure.