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Collegiate Track and Field: Betthauser receives Senior Academic Athletic Award

Ellsworth High School graduate Kelsey Betthauser received the University of Dubuque's Senior Academic Athletic Award on Thursday, May 2. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Betthauser

Kelsey Betthauser's commitment to excellence has allowed for success to follow her from Ellsworth High School to the University of Dubuque.

The 2015 Ellsworth High School graduate and soon to be University of Dubuque alumna received UD's Senior Academic Athletic Award on Thursday, May 2.

Each year, the prestigious award is given to a student-athlete who has demonstrated an excellent academic record while also making major contributions to his or her athletic team.

Betthauser fits the mold.

The senior Spartan recorded a school record of 158 feet, three inches in the discus at the Grand View Viking Classic on Friday, April 26, and now holds the top discus mark in all of NCAA Division III.

Betthauser will soon be earning a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, and was also awarded the Wellness and Exercise Science Award of Excellence for promoting health and wellness with enthusiasm while maintaining high academic achievement.

"I guess I would say I was kind of ... I was just happy," Betthauser said when asked about her reaction to her award. "All of the hard work that I put in in the classroom and in track and field has paid off and is being recognized."

Betthauser noted the large number of UD students who also participate in athletics, citing that nearly 40 percent of UD's students are student-athletes.

"We have a lot of students on campus who are athletes, so to just be a part of the top both athletically and academically is very honorable," she said.

Her head track and field coach, Chad Gunnelson, agrees.

"The award that she received and what she's accomplished in the sport shows her consistent commitment to excellence," Gunnelson said. "It's very challenging to be a top-performing student, and it's very challenging to be a top-performing athlete. She did both at the same time."

The eight-year head coach said Betthauser's drive has rubbed off on her teammates, and when asked about Betthauser's upcoming graduation said, "I don't want to talk about that.

"We are definitely going to be very sad to see her go. We'll not only miss her performance but also her leadership and the example she sets."

However, Gunnelson knows Betthauser's success will continue to grow beyond her time at UD.

Betthauser plans to attend graduate school to earn her masters in sports psychology after receiving her undergraduate degrees.

"That's a field that needs great people, and I think that she'll be able to provide great perspective there," Gunnelson said. "If she can instill her natural grit in others, they'll have tremendous success like she has had."

Betthauser and the Spartans will compete in the American Rivers Conference Championships at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, May 9-11, before traveling to Geneva, Ohio for the NCAA Division III Outdoor National Championships held May 23-25.

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