You are hereCU's English is reaching for the stars
CU's English is reaching for the stars
The life of a college athlete is often romanticized, but as Kelsey English would tell you it’s not all signing autographs and winning championships.
Being an athlete at a Division I school is tough. Between practice six days a week and a full school schedule, athletes have little free time. Add to that the pressure of having the school’s money riding on their performance in the form of a scholarship and the life of an athlete becomes a lot less glamorous.
Now imagine playing two Division I sports. That’s exactly what English does... and she’s a freshman.
“I have to walk fast,” says English, “It definitely keeps me busy but I love it”.
English was recruited to play Volleyball at CU had a successful freshman campaign. Finishing third on the team in total points, she was due a nice relaxing off-season to enjoy her first year of college.
Then came track season.
“I’m a jumper, that’s what I do,” says English, “I’m just lucky both of my sports work off of each other.”
That second sport she refers to is the high jump. In high school she won the state high jump championship two times, setting a school record her senior year by jumping 5 feet 9 inches.
In her first track season at CU she’s already set a new personal best at 5 feet 10 inches during the indoor season, and she’s not stopping there.
“I think Kelsey’s one of the most talented jumpers I’ve worked with,” says assistant track coach Lindsey Malone, “It wouldn’t be a huge leap to see her competing for PAC 12 championships here soon.”
But any time an athlete plays two sports politics can influence the amount of time they dedicate to each.
“She was obviously recruited to play volleyball, so [the volleyball coaches] are constantly checking in to make sure we don’t push her too hard,” says Malone, “It’s their money that’s on the line, but at the same time we know she loves track and we want her to be successful.”
Not only does English love track but she uses it to improve her volleyball skills. In volleyball she jumps off one foot which is a bit unorthodox, and the training she receives during high jump practice helps to improve that one-foot jumping style.
“People always assume that I should be able to jump higher off two feet,” says English, “But that’s not true. I’ve always jumped higher off one.”
“We try to use volleyball as a way to push her [at track practice],” says Malone, “Like we’ll say ‘Kelsey attack the net like a 6 foot 5 girl is trying to block you’ and in her mind she’ll know exactly what that means and how it translates [to the high jump].”
Her goals are lofty for both sports: in volleyball she’d like to bring CU into relevance in the PAC 12, a task easier said than done in statistically the most difficult volleyball conference in the country. For the high jump, her goals are best defined by her coach.
“It’s kind of a big title to give to someone,” says Malone, “but I have to use two words. Aspiring Olympian.”
Whether on the volleyball court, at the high jump bar, or in the classroom, her hard work and easy-going demeanor make for a bright future for this rising star. Quite literally, the sky’s the limit for Kelsey English.