Lewis-Clark State College’s Kelsey Klettke has been named NAIA National Women's Cross Country Runner of the Week, the national office announced Wednesday. Klettke, a junior from Vancouver, Wash., continues to make history this season, becoming the first ever LC cross country runner to bring home national runner of the week honors.
“It’s great for her, but more than anything great for program,” head coach Mike Collins said about Klettke. “Recognition at the national level means that we are doing great things here. There should be flattery for her and her teammates because she needs their support to succeed.”
The award is predicated on Klettke’s record-setting performance at the Warrior Invite last Saturday. She completed the 5-kilometer course in 17 minutes 23 seconds, recording a new personal best and setting an all-time Lewis-Clark State women’s record.
“I’ve been competing for better part of my life and I’ve been through good and bad times and the hard work is finally paying off,” Klettke said. “It just feels really good.”
Despite the satisfaction of the award, Klettke is motivated by greater aspirations.
“I want more than just a runner of week award, I want a [national] title for myself and for my team; that is something that has always driven me,” Klettke said.
Her domination (winning by a 31 second margin) on the Hells Gate State Park course last Saturday marks Klettle’s second win of the season and was the fastest time in the Frontier Conference this year. She now owns the three fastest times in LC history.
“[Klettke] is extremely driven,” Collins said. “Her freshman year she didn’t qualify for our national team. She has overcome injuries through will power, and makes sacrifices everyday in all aspects of her life to be able to train at a level that allows her to compete so well.”
Klettke is joined by NAIA National Men's Cross Country Runner of the Week Kennedy Kithuka of Wayland Baptist (Texas), who was honored with the award for the third time this season.
On the conference front, Klettke and LC sophomore Dave Marks garnered Frontier Conference cross country runner of the week awards together for the third time this season. Marks ran the 8-kilometer course in 25:24 at the Warrior Invite Saturday, placing third individually and leading the Warriors to victory.