Kelley Hussey moves her feet fast. But she is now competing in an environment that is radically different than the one in which she excelled just a few years ago.
Kelley, who is entering her senior year at Staples High School, made huge strides this summer as a sprinter with the Connecticut Elite track and field team. Until a few years ago, Hussey's nimble footwork landed her in international Irish Step Dancing competitions in Ireland and Northern Ireland. But Hussey gave up dancing after her freshman year to focus on sports. The benefits of competing in dance, however, have been far-reaching.
"You need a lot of endurance for dance," Kelley says. "It also strengthened my legs a lot, so it helped me a lot with track, and definitely the mental aspect of it helped, too." Kelley has danced since she was 5, and in 2008, she was 70th in the World Irish Dancing championships in Belfast in the girls 14-15 age division. "The pressure in dancing is similar to what you experience in track,'' Kelley says.
Working with Connecticut Elite coach Kevin Foley, Hussey stepped into the fast lane in track and field this summer. In an August met, Hussey ran the 100 meters in a personal best 12.39. She shaved more than six-tenths of a second from her times earlier in the summer. Her time would have put her fourth in the Class LL outdoor championships in June and fifth in the State Open. "Coach Foley has helped me a lot with my start and that has made a huge difference. I'm a lot more explosive coming out of the blocks,'' Kelley says.
Kelley is looking forward to fall training and a solid indoor season. In spring, she'll turn to lacrosse, where she is Staples' co-captain for next year's team.
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