Kelby Anderson comes from a long line of great runners. Both her parents are runners and she hails from our state capital, Bismarck.
And, it just so happens that Bismarck has a tendency to produce really strong runners. In fact, a Bismarck school has won 15 of the last 17 team cross country championships and 11 of the last 15 team track & field championships in the state.
However, despite very strong performances, Anderson never captured an individual championship in either sport during her high school career. But that didn’t stop her. Since stepping on campus at NDSU, Anderson has dominated better competition than she faced in high school, winning individual conference championships in the outdoor 1500m and 10,000m as a redshirt freshman, an individual conference championship in the indoor mile as a sophomore and individual conference championships in the indoor 3000m and 5000m as a junior which also earned her Most Outstanding Performer honors. As a junior in cross country, she was also the Summit League individual champion and Summit League Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
Bismarck has a long tradition of producing great track & field athletes. Did you and your teammates do anything special training growing up?
In high school, we got together and did summer training as a team and I think that was probably very important. I feel like getting together as a team in any sport is really important, especially for running.
Maybe that’s the secret. There are more hills in Bismarck than out east so maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s more hill training. I don’t know.
When did you start to take running more seriously as a sport and something that you could compete in college?
I think I’ve always taken it pretty seriously. It’s always been one of my main sports and I’m a very competitive person so I feel like I’ve always taken it pretty seriously. But I didn’t really think about college sports until my junior and senior years of high school.
Were your parents runners?
Yes, both my parents are very active and my mom ran for the University of Mary. We’re all very active people.
You never won an individual championship in any events in high school, Yet, you’ve captured multiple individual championships in the summit league, how big of a leap have you made throughout your college career?
I think a lot it has to do with the environment I’m in here. Everyone is very supportive. Even across sports, everyone is very supportive. I think that has a lot to do with it. Also, there’s just a higher level of training here.
Did you have a light bulb moment when everything seemed to click?
Not really, it just seemed to kind of happen.
What are some of your favorite things about Bismark?
I like the trails. There’s a lot more trail running there.
What does it mean to you to be able to compete in your home state at a collegiate level?
It means a lot. It shows there’s a lot of support here. The Bison family runs strong in North Dakota. It’s kind of nice that we have our own little North Dakota family.
You’re coming off a season where you dealt with injury. Where are you at in the recovery process?
I’m still trying to get back to full speed. It has been a slow process getting back into shape and stuff but I’m really excited for what’s ahead.