Next year, Kelli Krsul plans to just be a student, not a student and an athlete.
And that will feel a little weird.
“I’m going to Montana State to study nursing,” the Ridgefield High School senior said. “I’m not going for sports, although I might do intramurals or something. I’ve gotta do something. I hear they have skiing up there.”
In her four years at Ridgefield, Krsul has kept busy playing sports. She will graduate having earned 12 varsity letters — four in soccer, four in basketball, three in a track and field and one in tennis.
“It’s so much fun, because I’ve done sports for so long,” Krsul said. “Just being able to show that I can do it now in a different setting and for my school, it’s so fun.”
Krsul was a standout on the Ridgefield soccer team that reached the 2A state semifinals in 2019 and 2021. In basketball, her favorite sport, she was a first-team all-league pick for the Spudders this past winter.
“Soccer, I’ve been playing that like my whole life,” she said. “I didn’t start playing basketball again until fifth grade. But I’ve done soccer forever, and I still love it. It’s with basketball I just feel I can do more and work the game more.”
In the spring, she is an all-league track and field athlete specializing in the javelin.
“I started doing the javelin in eighth grade, because it looked fun,” she said. “Then I did it again in high school, but I didn’t do it my freshman year because I wanted to try tennis. Honestly, I just wanted to try it because it’s like throwing a spear, and I thought that looked fun. So I started throwing and I wasn’t terrible at it.”
Last Friday, she threw a personal best of 110 feet, 1 inch at the Spudder Track and Field Classic, a mark she hopes to continue to improve upon this week at the sub-district meet at Washougal and next week at districts in Shelton.
“Just keep (posting more personal records),” she said. “There’s one girl ahead who I’m trying to beat to get to state. So if I can consistently be over 105, be at 110, that’s kind of my main goal. Maybe hit 115 by districts.”
Being so busy made the pandemic particularly hard on Krsul.
“It was terrible,” she said. “Luckily, I was able to get through basketball, but that was the year I was going to return to track. But then that got cut off, so I didn’t get to do anything. That was the first year I joined a club soccer team. It was just something to keep doing something. We didn’t have any games, but we could still practice. But for the most part, it stunk not being able to doing anything indoors. Basketball is my favorite, and I wasn’t able to do that all.”
It did prepare her a bit for what’s ahead. Next month, she’ll graduate Ridgefield High School as a nearly straight-A student, then turn her attention solely to college.
But she’ll leave high school with loads of memories out on the pitch, court or track.
“Sports have always given me something to do,” she said. “I don’t do too much more at home. It’s always been school and sports for me.”
Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4538, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.