While some people are never lucky enough to see one of their dreams come true, Monroe County High School senior Kelsey Kirkpatrick can now mark that exciting achievement off her list.
Kirkpatrick, who has dreamed of playing college athletics since she was little, was able to see that dream come true earlier this week when she signed a national letter of intent to play basketball and golf next year at Brescia University in Owensboro.
“The whole process has been really exciting,” said Kirkpatrick, the daughter of Jane and Steve Kirkpatrick. “It has been one of my goals since I was very little to play at the next (college) level and now I am getting the chance to do that.”
There was never a doubt if Kirkpatrick would be interested in sports as her father is the head boys’ basketball coach at Monroe County High School. The younger Kirkpatrick picked up the game up basketball at an early age and has played several years for long-time MCHS girls’ coach Dwayne Murray. She has also become a fixture for the Lady Falcon golf team and coach Jonathan Shaw.
“As a high school coach, it is always great to see one of your players get the chance to play at the next level,” Murray said. “Our program has been pretty successful over the last few years and it is always great to see high school kids that want to play get the opportunity to do that. And Kelsey has always wanted to do that.
“She’s got the speed, the heart and the desire. She loves the game of basketball and that’s a lot of it right there. A kid has to love the game to play at the next level because it is just like a job in college. Kelsey should fit right into the scheme of things at Brescia because she’s quick and she’s agile. She can also score and she’s a good defender.”
Kirkpatrick said she began the search for a college with an open mind, exploring all possibilities. However, one trip to Owensboro was all it took.
“I didn’t really have a certain college that I was looking at when I started talking to coaches,” said Kirkpatrick, who is undecided about her major.
“However, Brescia was the only school I ever really considered. Both of the coaches (basketball coach Summer Quesenberry and golf coach David Ballou) contacted me about coming up and visiting them. When I went up for a visit, I committed that day. I loved it up there. It had everything I was looking for.”
And Kirkpatrick may be just what the Brescia coaches are looking for. She has helped develop the Lady Falcons into annual regional golf contenders and she’s been a cornerstone in the foundation of the Monroe County girls’ basketball team.
Over the last four years, Kirkpatrick has helped guide the Lady Falcons to a basketball record of 77-28, including a 14-9 slate this season.
“Playing in college is something we’ve talked about since I took over as golf coach,’ Shaw explained. “Kelsey has wanted to do it and I know she will be a good addition at Brescia.”
Now the real work begins for Kirkpatrick. After the current basketball season ends, she will likely undergo surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament she hurt in December. Then, she must get herself physically ready to play for Brescia.
“I need to get better at every aspect of my game (in basketball and golf),” Kirkpatrick said. “I am glad I am getting an opportunity to play both sports in college. I am a little nervous about playing two sports, but I think I can handle it. I will just have to manage my time well.”
“Kelsey needs to continue to work on her game,” Murray said. “In the offseason, she needs to get stronger in the weight room. She should probably get in the gym and work on her shot. That’s the only way to get better. When you get to college, all of the players are as good or better than you are so you have to work a little harder.”
And as she takes this next step in her life, Kirkpatrick wanted to make sure she thanked the people responsible for helping her get to where she is.
“My parents have had the biggest influence in my life,” Kirkpatrick relayed. “They’ve been the ones that have pushed me to be a better athlete and person, and help me get where I am today.”