We Salute Kellie Rhodes, Kiowa County High School

Name: Kellie Rhodes
School: Kiowa County High School

Q: What does your training look like right now given the current situation?
A: Coach Powell has given us our workouts and said keep working. To me, we are not done. There is still plenty of work to be done.

Q: What are you doing to stay busy other than run right now.
A: On the farm, there is always plenty of work to be done so we worked heifers yesterday. We branded them, gave them a few shots, new ear tags, and tattooed their ears. I also like to pass the time by napping, playing games, face timing my sister in college, and spending time with family. 

Q: What was your most memorable race moment?
A: Crossing the finish line as state champions in the 4X4 in 2019. All we had to do was place and we knew we were going to win as a whole team as well so all the pressure was off and we all ran loose. To make things even better, our time also earned us a new school record. 

Q: What was the funniest thing that happened during your running career?
A: Regional track 2018 at Spearville. We had so many lighting delays I ended up running the 400m at 11:30 pm and then the whole team slept in a storage shed until we got to go home at 2:00 am only to come back the very next day to finish the meet. 

Q: Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
A: I have been super blessed to be on a team that has a great reputation and always works to win. I think our biggest competition would be Lincon at state as a team because we were both 2A and then dropped to 1A the same year so we still continued to compete against each other. 

Q: What was your greatest accomplishment?
A: There have been so many things that have been amazing accomplishments. One of the biggest was setting the 400m school record as a freshman. But the greatest of all was being State Champions in 2019 -- Nothing can top that. 

Q: If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
A: The obvious answer is getting to run my senior year, but other than that I wouldn't change anything. I have been blessed with amazing coaches who always made us work hard, but more importantly, made the work worth it. 

Q: What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
A: Weather is always a big one. We all had to be mentally tough because we never knew how the weather was going to affect our performance. I also had a foot injury that kept returning that required me to be in a boot for a while. Of course, the biggest one was when our anchor leg of the 4X1 at state tripped and fell just before the finish line and I had to run the 400 right after the heartbreak of losing a state championship and potentially a state record. 

Q: What will you miss the most?
A: The bus rides and being with my team. I always encouraged my teammates to ride home just for the experience because time with your team is always limited. I will also greatly miss my coaches, and competing with Kiowa County across my chest. What I will miss the most is competing in Cessna stadium because the atmosphere is unlike anywhere else and it was truly an unforgettable experience to compete there for the last three years. 

Q: What advice would you give younger athletes?
A: WORK HARD AT ALL TIMES. In the words of Coach Powell, "If you're not working hard, I guarantee someone out there is and that means they want it more than you." The biggest thing I can't stress enough is really soaking in every moment. Even if you're having a bad meet, you still have the opportunity to compete and you should always be grateful for that. Spend time with your teammates and form bonds because those people will be there for you when no one else is. Lastly, always be a leader. Leading by example is the best way to prove you are serious and ready to compete. 

Q: What kind of impact has your coach had on you and your team?
A: I almost don't feel qualified to answer this question. Coach Powell has impacted more athletes than I can count. He is very knowledgeable and is always willing to learn. He put the expectation on us that greatness was not something that would be handed to us. We had to work hard and be disciplined to have great results. It means so much to me that I had the opportunity to win a state championship under his guidance and he deserves that title more than anyone else. The rest of our coaches worked just as hard to keep us in line and support us through everything. Coach Fulton was always there for me at the 200m mark during the 400m, yelling my time and telling me to kick it in. Moments like these had a bigger impact on me than noticeable because the fact that our coaches cared that much spoke volumes. 

Q: What are your college plans?
A: In the fall I will be attending Concordia University - Nebraska and will majoring in agriculture science while also running track and field. 

Q: Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?  
A: To my coaches for all their support and guidance, to my teammates for working hard with me every day, and most importantly to my parents for never missing a meet and always being there for me through all the bad weather, all the stressed moments, and all the unforgettable memories in between. 

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Since I was 8 years old I have never gone a whole year without competing in track and field. This season is going to be hard especially as the days for meets start to roll around. So please keep all of the seniors, athletes, coaches, and teachers in your prayers as we embark on a new journey and learn to cope with this enormous heartbreak. I will forever cherish all my moments in the orange over black and I have never been prouder to be a Kiowa County Maverick. 

Q: Favorite Meal?
A: All the team dinners our moms made us for big games or meets. Our moms made the best pasta bar around. 

Q: If you could be any animal what would you choose? and why? 
A: Everyone who knows me knows I would say alpaca and I can already just see my teammates rolling their eyes! I would be an alpaca because I love everything about them so of course, I am curious to know what it is like to live as one. 

Q: Your favorite superhero?
A: I think I would consider my coaches to be superheroes so they're my favorite by far -- I love you guys!