Athlete Feature: Will Kelley

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Athlete Feature: Will Kelley

Enzo Goebel, Staff Writer

Sophomore Will Kelley has not been running his whole life. In fact, he first started “running seriously” during his freshman year at AHS. This means he is running against kids up to three years older than himself who have several years of experience behind their backs, and not to mention are the best of the best from across the state. But that’s far from what makes Will so unique. He has also experienced major jumps in his P.R. (Personal Record). His first high school race as a freshman was 19:54 for three miles. And now? “15:56. That’s the time I ran about a week ago,” Will said. That’s nearly four minutes less than his first time. Despite the accomplishment, achieving this feat is not nearly as straightforward as it sounds. 

On a week without any races, “the sophomores run between 50-55 miles and do integral training,” according to Will. He adds that to prepare, they take the first couple of days to work harder. Towards the end of the week, the runners rest in preparation for the race. When asked about his highs and lows, Will stated that he was excited to break 19 at the end of the season, but struggled to beat his first race time through last year. “It is very mentally challenging when you are running because it’s just a long time out there — Even if you are with people, in some ways you are by yourself.”

Winning isn’t the only thing Will is focused on. During his interview, he continually mentioned how closely knit the community is. When he first joined the team, he said, it surprised him: “Everyone on the team and my friends, they are all different, but we all have one thing in common which is running. That’s how we first bonded and we still do. After over a year of running with them, we’ve become really good friends, and we all push each other to do better.” 

Coach Chris Lee mentioned that Will has made huge strides since last year. He also shared that “as a coaching staff, we’re excited to see how much more he can improve and how he fits into our varsity lineup.” To finish it off, Will tells me something I don’t often hear: “A lot of people think it (cross country) is just running and running is bad,  but it’s really not. It’s a great way to escape and a great way to connect with people. It’s also just a great way to stay in shape.” Will continues to run and achieve his goals while inspiring other burgeoning athletes as well.