Meet a bison:Brett kelly
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 16:10
NDSU junior Brett Kelly loves competing. He loves it so much he’ll compete for the Bison athletically in the fall and in the spring, in both cross country and track.
Most people can’t imagine the stress of competing in two sports while keeping up academically. Kelly can’t imagine not.
“I’ll always be a competitor and I’ll miss that most,” Kelly said. “I can always find competitions later but I can’t go back and re-do college.”
He probably thought the same in high school, where Kelly competed for Bismarck Century in both cross country and soccer at the same time.
“It was fun for me and I was definitely in extremely great shape I thought.”
Now in college, Kelly has turned his full attention to running, saying, “I would have put soccer as my primary sport all through high school and even my first year of college I would have probably considered myself a soccer player. But now I’m definitely more of a runner. I’ve given up on soccer a little bit, reluctantly.”
Soccer may have been Kelly’s first love, but with a mother who ran at Jamestown College, running is in his DNA.
After a high school career that included four all-state selections and being named the 2009 North Dakota Cross Country Runner of the Year, Kelly wasn’t overlooked. After touring Iowa State and Minnesota and getting recognition from Ivy League schools, Kelly decided to become a Bison.
“I toured Iowa State and they probably would have been my second choice and then the Gophers probably my number three,” Kelly said. “But I kind of decided after touring those schools that I just couldn’t handle the huge programs and feeling like I was just a statistic going there. Here it felt like it was going to mean something for me, and it definitely has.”
It’s meant something for the program as well, as Kelly has been one of the Bison’s top performers. He led NDSU at both the Stanford Invitational and the Summit League Championship last year and repeated his performance in Stanford this year, where the Bison finished third amongst D-1 teams.
“This year at Stanford was a bigger race for me,” Kelly said. “Getting out there this year and knowing what happened last year, it wasn’t a fluke. I knew where I could be this year and it gives me a lot of confidence going into next year.”
Even when he reminisces on his favorite individual performance, Kelly can’t help but bring it all back to the team.
“What we did as a team was a pretty big deal, I think. That was a huge race for us in terms of boosting our confidence and knowing that we are where we want to be.”
When the team needs a boost in confidence, they don’t need to look any farther than one of its leaders, Kelly. A top three finish at the conference championships is what he is aiming for and says, “If I didn’t do that, for this season, I probably disappointed myself.”
It may have taken time for Kelly to admit to being a runner, but it didn’t take time for him to adapt to NDSU. With a “dad on campus” in his coach Don Larson, otherwise known as Lars to the team, and his teammates doubling as roommates, Kelly is a part of a family of runners here.
“I’m going to miss the most, I would say, the guys on the team, the coaches, the trainers and everyone that has been here in our Bison family.”
Fortunately for Kelly, and for NDSU, the junior runner still has one more year of eligibility left after this year, and he’s going to make the most of it.