It takes more than heart and talent to be the best, and sophomore Kelsey Bowling proves this both on and off the track.
“She’s really dedicated as an athlete,” said Demetrius Bailey, track and field head coach. “She enjoys the challenge and learning new ways to become better at it. As a person, she’s really bubbly and happy. She’s a lot of joy to be around.”
Both of these qualities, Bailey said, are what make Bowling a key member on the women’s track team.
“With her dedication and drive, she pushes the other girls to want to get better and to be competitive at practice,” Bailey said. “She also brings that happy spirit. When we have a tough practice and people are starting to get down because it’s rough, she’s able to bring people back up.”
Leadership comes naturally to Bowling, but she said she stepped into the leadership role this year after losing several critical seniors last year. “I have to stand up for the underclassmen and show them what Franklin College Track and Field is all about,” Bowling said.
But Bowling said there is one thing that keeps her motivated: being her teammates’ biggest cheerleader.
With the majority of her events — long jump, hurdles, triple jump and high jump — at the beginning of the meets, she is able to watch the rest of the meet and support her teammates as they cross the finish line.
“When I get done, I want to do the best that I can just to show [my teammates] that I’ve got their back,” she said.
The support for her teammates is something Bailey said makes Bowling stand out from most athletes, which is just one reason why he’s proud to be her coach.
“Not only does she do well in her events, but she still she goes on and cheers her teammates on even after she’s finished,” Bailey said.
When she’s not on the track, the public relations major can be found in Shirk Hall. Originally, however, Bowling came to the college to join the basketball team and pursue a business degree.
“I really enjoyed [basketball]. It was a part of my life in high school,” Bowling said. “When I got here, [basketball] wasn’t the same as high school. You can’t really change running. Running is always there so it never changes.”
And the same goes for business. Bowling said she ended up enjoying public relations more than business, which is why she decided to switch her major and add a leadership minor as “the icing on the cake.”
When she isn’t on the track or in the classroom, Bowling works as student security on campus and as a student worker for Bailey. She is also a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and Omicron Delta Kappa.
“It’s like a revolution of work, sleep, study,” she said. “It’s crazy but I do it. It’s manageable.”
Bowling called the track her escape — a happy place.
“The key to my success would be not to care, but just try your best,” she said. “ Overall, the key to success is to try your best, never give up, and always try to do better than you did before because if you have that mentality, you’re going to get so much better each time.”