Friday Night Sports Hero: Kelsey Folchert

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP)--- Coming from North Platte St. Pat's, Kelsey Folchert has been a staple for the Irish cross country team since she was a freshman.

"Nothing really goes through my mind. Like it's just like you run, and that's it. I don't know. you're just like super focused when you run. That's just me," said senior cross country runner Kelsey Folchert.

Most people try to avoid running but St. Pat's senior Kelsey Folchert doesn't.

"It just always came naturally to me. But over the past year especially, I think I've just become stronger mentally and I feel more confident when I run," said Folchert.

Senior teammate Gracie Rippen said, "Kelsey definitely is a hard worker. Every day at practice she brings 100% always, she never slacks off and she pushes all of us. She's always like encouraging us every day."

"When she gets a goal in mind, she'll continue to work until she hits that goal," said head coach Tim O'neill. "That kind of bleeds off into the rest of the team, they get inspired by that and a lot of that is because how Kelsey has brought things along since she was a freshman."

That work ethic is why she's qualified for state cross country the last three years.

"It's not easy. I mean it's a really really difficult thing to do. Very difficult to qualify as an individual, to get to state and doing it as a freshman is a really big deal," said O'neill.

Folchert said, "It was really hard for me, especially like freshman year where I was the only one who made it to state. Like when people are looking up to you at that young of an age, you don't really know how to react."

Rippen said, "So yeah she's gone to state every year and I think from that it has really helped her in her leadership role with the team. She kind of showed us what to do, she shows us how to work and how to get there."

And with the amount of talented girl runners on the team, it takes a lot of hard work to stay top girl, specially with an injury.

O'neill said, "You know I think injuries are really hard for any athlete, having to sit on the sidelines and watch your team compete without you is really tough."

"Yeah it was really tough for me just hearing I couldn't run for a while cause especially with how well my season's been going so far, it's really disappointing to have to sit it out and watch every body else run," said Folchert.