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On the road to the beginning of a new journey: Athlete becomes coach
Dan Lenzen
Antelope Staff
Photo Courtesy of UNK Athletic Department
Kelli Dring competes in the long jump during a track meet. Dring was a six-time All-American at UNK and had a career best jump of 19 feet, 10 inches in the long jump.

After a stellar track career herself,  Kelli Dring, a senior interior design major, quickly jumped into the UNK coaching ranks as assistant track coach this fall.

Dring came to UNK in 2005 on a track and field scholarship from Kearney High School.

While in high school, she competed in track and volleyball, with her favorite sport being track. She was recruited for track both by UNK and the University of South Dakota. “I was getting ready to sign at USD, but it just wasn’t the plan for me. I had mixed feelings and was undecided about my major. A really good friend of mine was going here and was on the track team, and he talked me into coming here,” Dring said.

While at UNK, Dring competed in numerous events in track and field. “My main events were the long jump, the high jump and the triple jump. I also competed in hurdles, the heptathlon [seven events] for outdoor track and the pentathlon [five events] for indoor track."

In her favorite event, the long jump, she had a career best 19-foot, 10-inch jump. Other highlights during her career included six All-Americans for long jump. She was the 2008 national runner-up in the long jump, and she was a four-time RMAC field athlete of the year.

Soon after her track career ended, Dring became the full-time jumps coach. “I was done with track, and I was here and only had a year left. I only needed 14 credits to graduate. My coach, Mike Bailey, was leaving to move on with his career. Being as I learned from his techniques, I fell into it.  I couldn’t leave track that easily anyway,” Dring said. She said her favorite part of coaching is being around the sport in a hands-on manner, working with student athletes and seeing them succeed. Dring’s favorite athlete is her brother, Rustin, who is a running back on the UNK football team.

Dring plans to coach until at least through this year, and then from there it just depends on if she can find a job next year with a design firm. She is planning to specialize in kitchens and baths with her interior design major.

“My plans are not really set in stone anywhere after I graduate. I’m open to go wherever as long as I find a job that is in my field and specialized in what I want to do. I have no ties that are holding me back. I have been networking with some firms in Denver, but anything is an option. I’m open for any new journey,” Dring said.


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