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Derr overcoming obstacles at Liberty
Former Pride track star eyeing success
Kelsee Derr
Pitman High graduate Kelsee Derr is looking to improve her personal best this season as a hurdler for the Liberty University track and field team. - photo by Photo Contributed

During her high school years at Pitman High, Kelsee Derr was an exceptional student-athlete with a multitude of talent as she flourished into a track star for the Pride.


Her talent, hard work and dedication on the track landed her an opportunity to compete at the top level of collegiate sports at Liberty University as she just concluded her second year at the Division I college.


During her first year at Liberty, Derr tore some ligaments on her right foot as she came down on a hurdle during a race. She said being injured taught her a few things.


“It was terrible timing, but I sure learned a lot from that,” Derr said. “I was on crutches for eight weeks and then in a boot for another four weeks after that. My character was stretched as I learned to be patient and to fill the role of an encourager on the team, instead of a competitor.”


Driven to recover, Derr was forced to be a medical redshirt during the outdoor season and she came back with a vengeance for her second year as part of a Liberty women's track and field team that placed second in the Indoor Big South Conference and won the Outdoor Big South Conference meet.


In that meet, Derr notched a personal record in the 100 meter hurdle race with a time of 15.37.


“It was great to switch to just being a hurdler because I got time to focus on the event that I really loved and had a passion for,” she said.


She also has a passion for the Army ROTC program, as she heads into her third year as a cadet.


Derr has also been executing in the classroom with persistence as she accumulated a 3.85 grade point average.


“Pitman High prepared me well for college,” said Derr. “I’ve been doing well in the classroom, mostly because I have the aspirations of going to a highly competitive graduate school. I have such a passion for wounded warriors and after I was offered my four-year scholarship my freshman year, I knew that this path for my life was ultimately God’s will.”


Now heading into her third season at Liberty, Derr has a few things she must work on in order to best her sophomore year.


“My goal is to improve and to be able to qualify for some of the bigger meets held in Boston, Pennsylvania, Texas and Alabama,” she added. “Something that I need to work on more is balancing being a track and field athlete and an Army ROTC cadet.”