Oct. 20, 2011
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- UT junior cross country runner Kelsey Kane has emerged from the proverbial wilderness after two years of working her way through pain, surgery and rehab for a condition called compartment syndrome. While many athletes may have hung up their spikes due to the adversity, the product of Knoxville's West High School stayed the course and finds herself contributing to the Lady Vol cause this season.
Kane attributes her determination to growing up in a supportive family, one that is chock-full of UT ties and with both parents being members of the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame. Her mom, known to Knoxvillians as Missy Kane, is a former Lady Vol runner who went on to qualify for the 1984 Olympic Games in the 1500 meters. She transitioned into coaching, guiding the UT women's cross country program from 1988 to 1991, winning an SEC title in 1990 and fashioning a pair of top-15 NCAA finishes. A frequent television color analyst for track & field, Missy has her own local TV fitness show and is active in health initiatives in the community.
Kelsey's stepfather, Jim Bemiller, blazed his own trail with the UT track & field program. Bemiller worked with the Vols' pole vaulters from 1986 to 2005, producing five NCAA titles, 15 SEC crowns and 21 All-America certificates. Two of his pupils were 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist and record-holder Tim Mack and 2000 silver medalist and American record-holder Lawrence Johnson. Bemiller, who earned his master's and law degrees from Tennessee, now focuses his attention on teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in sport law and sport governance at the school and serves as a faculty advisor for the adidas Partners in Sports program.
Despite the rich athletics heritage in her household, and the fact she was born just prior to her mother's 1990 SEC Women's Cross Country Championship season, Kelsey Kane felt no pressure to follow in her parents' footsteps. Running was something that she simply came to enjoy while pursuing a variety of activities as a child. That decision has turned out pretty well, even after the difficulties she's been through the past couple of years. She has scored in all four meets this season for Tennessee and posted career bests at 4000-, 5000- and 6000-meter race distances.
On Oct. 31, Kane will join her Lady Vol teammates, as UT plays host to the SEC Cross Country Championships at Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville. You can bet she'll be running with the full support of her family and embracing those "UT Family Ties."