Senior spotlight: Spring sports cancellation has WVU-bound Burrell track star weighing options

Saturday, April 18, 2020 | 6:01 AM

Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight a WPIAL spring athlete whose senior year has been cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

The cancellation of the spring sports season has Burrell senior Liv Kelly rethinking some things about her college career.

Not where she’s going to school. West Virginia-bound Kelly would never rethink that.

Thanks to family ties, she has essentially been a Mountaineer for as long as she can remember. She will be making that official when she heads to Morgantown in the fall.

What Kelly is reconsidering is going out for West Virginia’s club track team once she gets there. Originally, she wasn’t going to. Now, she might.

Really, it’s a win-win situation for Kelly.

If she runs in college, she will get the chance to wrap up her competitive track career on her terms, which is something many high school seniors were denied this year.

If she doesn’t, she will have ended her last race at the top of the medal podium at the PIAA championships in Shippensburg.

Kelly, Jocelyn Vickers, Allee Kuhns and Madi Walsh won the 400-meter relay at the Class AA meet last season.

It’s a highlight Kelly will never forget.

“We went in hoping that we would just place top eight,” Kelly said. “Us girls, we just had a special connection that day. The Friday before, where you determine whether or not you make it to Saturday, we came in second. I was like, ‘You know what? We have to pull it out. We have to win.’

“We did. It was close, but we just put our minds to it.”

What’s your best memory running track at Burrell? I have a feeling this one is going to be an easy question for you.

Definitely winning the 2019 state championship in the 4×100. That was crazy.

What’s your best memory as a sports fan?

Definitely when WVU beat Texas in that insane game (42-41 in 2018) with Will Grier. It was a crazy game.

Who would you say is your school’s biggest rival?

For football, it’s Valley. I played volleyball too, and for volleyball, it was Valley. They’re so close, and there was a lot of tension there. For track, it varied. For us last year, it was Mohawk. They were the second seed, and we were the first seed.

Why did you pick West Virginia?

I have so many alumni in my family. My mom went there. My grandparents live close to the campus. I grew up basically going to the college football games. I wanted to go there ever since I was 5.

Do you know what you want to study?

I’m probably going to major in marketing and minor in data analytics.

If you could pick anyone to give a commencement speech at your graduation, who would it be?

The first thing that came to my mind was my school history teacher, Mr. Rossi. He is one of the best people I’ve ever met in my entire life. The way he describes things, he’s so intelligent, it would be him.

If you were asked to give a speech, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

Definitely to not take anything you have for granted. You never know when it’s going to be your last time.

Jonathan Bombulie is the TribLive assistant sports editor. A Greensburg native, he was a hockey reporter for two decades, covering the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for 17 seasons before joining the Trib in 2015 and covering the Penguins for four seasons, including Stanley Cup championships in 2016-17. He can be reached at


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