In sixth grade,
running track was simply a way to constructively pass the time after the
dismissal bell at Broad Ripple Magnet High School for Katara Kelly. It did not
take long, however, for her to realize that she had a natural talent and drive,
which would allow this after-school activity to become something much greater. Broad Ripple Sprinter Katara Kelly


Katara has
always been great at taking instruction and applying it to her craft, according
to her coaches. She understands the importance of getting her workouts in and
learning from those who have the experience and expertise.


As a
freshman, the young Rocket battled through an ankle injury this season and ran
100-meter times of 12.66 and 12.71 in regionals to garner a spot on the big
stage at the 2016 IHSAA Track & Field State Tournament in Bloomington on
June 3.


It wasn’t
her best race, but she was able to compete against the fastest high school
athletes in Indiana. It was an experience that she will learn and grow from as
she sets her sights even higher moving forward.


“The best
part about participating in the state tournament was being the only freshman
racing with the big girls,” said Katara, recognizing what she had accomplished
as the only freshman to qualify for the event.


Even with her
success on the track, Katara has not allowed her talent to impact the way she
treats others, remaining light-hearted and humble as she works to improve. Her
demeanor, discipline and skill as a freshman made her a team leader, one who prefers
to lead by example.


Katara has a
bubbly personality and like any other young teen, she loves to joke around with
her friends and spreads positive energy everywhere she goes. But her fun-loving
ways have never interfered with handling her business on the track.


maintaining a solid academic standing and strong work ethic, she has given her
coaching staff and teammates a strong pillar to rely on.


While distractions
can often derail an athlete, particularly at such a young age, Katara has
always been able to key in and focus when it’s time to lace up her cleats.


everything is fun and games,” she said. “There’s a time and place for that, but
not on the track. Getting better takes hard work and dedication and you have to
give it 110 percent.”


A large part
of her development can be attributed to the coaching staff at Broad Ripple.
Over the years, they have developed a bond with Katara and created a comforting
and safe environment for her to excel in. This encouraging atmosphere extends
off the track as well, helping her to thrive both on and off the track.


“I’m a
confidant of hers and I feel like she’s a confidant of mine. We’re willing to
pull out all the stops for her as long as she’s doing the right things,” said Broad
Ripple Girls Track Coach Kelli Monedero. “She’s a daughter to us… That’s how
team dynamics are supposed to work.”


Heading into
her sophomore year, Katara is preparing to do the majority of her training with
the boys to increase her level of competition. She will also run cross country
in the fall, to be able to “hit the ground running” and to be properly
conditioned before track season begins. But her main training focus is getting
out of the starting blocks faster, which hindered her in the State meet.


Although she
dreads ice baths, she fully appreciates the value of pushing through each
workout and hopes to qualify for the 200-meter dash in next year’s tournament.


“I can’t
really explain how proud we are of her; it’s through the roof,” said Broad
Ripple Athletic Director Tom Starnes. It’s a sentiment that is echoed
throughout the school. “She’s a model student and a model athlete, so she has
the whole world in front of her. We want to continue to help her develop to see
what she does next.”