For the past four years, the names Jennifer Celis and Natalie Anderson have been synonymous with prep running in Colorado.
Among their numerous accomplishments were leading the Bulldogs to Class 2A cross country titles in 2012 and 2013 and winning numerous state and league titles in track.
On National Signing Day, the two, who began running together in sixth grade, signed to run in college — Anderson for Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, and Celis for Oklahoma State University.
Head cross country and track coach, Kelly Cowan, said it's "rare" to find two athletes of their caliber on any one team.
"Count our blessings. They worked so hard to get to where they are. And the really neat thing is, they're both such great people," said Cowan.
In track, where both hold individual and relay state titles, the duo could be counted on to step up and run any race — from the 200- to the 3200-meter at a moment's notice, said Cowan.
The only distance neither ever ran in high school was the 100-meter dash.
Celis, student body president, plans to study either veterinary science or business; Anderson, student body vice president, said she plans to study psychology. But the decision for both came down to coaching, said Cowan. "They both said they really like the head coach, and that's huge."
"Their coaching staff, their facility, and everything they have to offer is phenomenal," said Anderson, who chose WSCU over a private school.
"I liked how competitive the mid-distance runners are" at OSU, said Celis, who plans to study either pre-veterinary science or business.
Both said they are grateful for all the memories. For Celis, they include winning the sprint medley relay her freshman year (Celis anchored the race) and breaking the state meet record in the 400m. "I wasn't expecting to break the state record," said Celis, who went on to break the meet record in the 800m. "We've been a very blessed team to have the coaching staff and school staff to create such good friendships," said Anderson, a petite runner who gained notoriety by winning the Class 3A 3200m as a freshman. Both are looking forward to their senior year of track.
Cowan said that both schools' running programs "will give them the opportunity to become even greater than what they are."blog comments powered by Disqus