Keely Danielsen, a senior cross country and track and field athlete, looks to challenge herself with what lies ahead in sports and life.
Danielsen is a native of Kansas City, Missouri, who has run for Northwest all three years she’s been on campus. While her fall season of cross country was canceled, she has looked forward to the opportunity to get back to practices with her teammates.
“I’ve had to quarantine a few times since coming back to Northwest this fall,” Danielsen said. “My roommates had COVID, so I had to quarantine, but it looks like now I will be able to get back with my team.”
Danielsen has come to find a love for life while running cross country. She found her passion for it back in high school when her coach became her role model for cross country.
“My high school coach was a true inspiration to me to pursue running in college,” Danielsen said. “I learned a lot from her and the lifestyle she had is what I want in life.”
Teammates along the way have helped Danielsen learn who she is as a person. Being in the college atmosphere, she has been able to meet and grow with friends that are going to last her a lifetime.
The girls on the cross country team have been together for quite sometime now, and they have a bond. A lot of them have become roommates and best friends.
“These girls I have met and grown with are my best friends, roommates and they are going to be bridesmaids at my wedding,” Danielsen said.
“Keely brings so much energy to every environment she is in,” Shayleigh James said, a senior cross country runner. “She has helped to change me into a better person and friend as well as competitor when it comes to running.”
Danielsen has had to find a different way of coping with the cancellation of her fall season. For her, it has been a heartbreaking loss to her senior year because she has found a lot of passion in what she does. Cross country has helped her learn a lot about mental toughness and now that is being taken away from her until the spring season of track and field.
There is still uncertainty of a spring season, and Danielsen said that it is worse not knowing what is going to happen rather than knowing the season is going to be canceled. All that Danielsen and her teammates are able to do now is train for whatever lies ahead.
“I feel I have lost some sense of purpose in life without the fall season,” Danielsen said.
Without knowing what is going to be happening in the spring, Danielsen will continue to work on her mental toughness and look for ways to find purpose without the sport she loves.
“Being a cross country athlete, you have to have mental strength, and I think that not having a season is just going to build more strength,” Danielsen said. “For now, I am just going to apply what I have learned from this sport to life and wish for the best in the spring.”