Where are they now? Corbin racing at Adams State College

Former Mancos High School runner Kelsey Corbin competes for Adams State College in 2013. Enlargephoto

Kelsey Corbin/Courtesy photo

Former Mancos High School runner Kelsey Corbin competes for Adams State College in 2013.

Between 2007 and 2011, Kelsey Corbin solidified her status as one of Mancos High School's finest distance runners of all time.

Not long after, Corbin took her talents to Adams State College, where she recently concluded her junior year as a member of the school's track and cross- country teams.

A talented student-athlete who continues to serve her hometown proud, Corbin's story is that a small-town runner making it big time and thus, deserves to be told.

A surprising beginning

Growing up in the Mancos area, Corbin participated in a variety of athletic and non-athletic activities.

Immediately drawn to competitive sports, Corbin took up soccer where she played on a youth team coached by Bobby Sitton.

Looking for a way to remain conditioned for soccer, Corbin joined the Mancos Middle School cross country team in seventh grade.

Unfamiliar with the sport of running Corbin immediately excelled, finishing third overall the first race of her career.

"I actually think I surprised a lot of people," said Corbin. "I didn't really know what I was doing."

High school success

After two successful years at the middle school level, Corbin joined Mancos High School's cross country team and continued to grow as a runner.

Also participating in basketball and soccer, Corbin enjoyed a solid freshman season in all three sports before breaking out as a sophomore.

Entering her sophomore year in outstanding shape, Corbin placed fourth at the Class 2A state cross country meet while improving in basketball and soccer.

As a junior and senior, Corbin placed third at the state cross country meet and set school records in the 1600-meter run (5:27.61) and 3200-meter run (12:09.54).

Both records stand to this day.

The college decision

Interested in playing soccer at the college level, Corbin did not consider running in college until her junior year of high school. After a reporter asked about Corbin about her future running plans, thoughts of a college running career crept into Corbin's mind.

Initially drawn to Western State College, Corbin visited Adams State College at the behest of coach Allen Mathews and surprisingly, fell in love with the Alamosa school.

"In middle school, I went to a running camp (at Adams State) and hated it," said Corbin. "I was pretty much set on going to Western. I went up to (Adams State) and really liked it. The coach believes in his athletes."

A solid college career

Electing to attend Adams State College, Corbin kicked began college intent on improving, yet initially, the transition to college running proved difficult.

"It was a little bit rough to go from high school to college," said Corbin. You're going from 30 miles a week to 50 and no days off. I went in there thinking that I'd improve dramatically. The first race came and I pretty much ran the same time."

Refusing to give up on the program however, Corbin eventually did improve and after redshirting her freshman year, enjoyed a solid sophomore and junior season.

As a sophomore, Corbin set a personal record in the 1500-meter run (5:07.02) and as a sophomore and finished 10th in the 1500 at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships as a junior.

"This last year, I definitely improved my times a lot," said Corbin. "I started taking a day off of (running) and cross training that day. That has really worked."

With two years of eligibility remaining, Corbin plans to continue making strides as a runner while simultaneously completing her degree in biology.

Hoping to earn a master's degree in nutrition and work as a registered dietitian, Corbin has set herself up for a bright future.

Asked what advice she might give to young runners who eventually hope to follow in her footsteps, Corbin stated that hard work is key.

"If you want to do something, set your goal everyday and think of what you can do to reach that goal," said Corbin.

Certainly sound advice from one of Mancos High School's former athletic stars.