Holt High three sport star makes move to play at next level
Senior Kellen Reed excels at football, basketball and track. He’s soon graduating, which means he had to make a choice about what to play - and what to leave behind - in college.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Kellen Reed’s senior season at Holt as an athlete has not really been just a season - it has been the entire year. He is a three-sport athlete for the Rams, playing wide receiver in football in the fall, guard in basketball in the winter, and now running track in the spring.
It’s difficult to play a sport at a high level, it’s even more unusual to be elite at three of them.
“Being a three-sport athlete was intense,” Reed, who stands 5-foot-10 and 157 pound, said. “You never really have a lot of time for a lot of stuff cause sports would just go back-to-back-to-back, and sometimes they would even overlap. But honestly, I think playing three sports was great for my body all-around, because you always stay in shape.”
Reed had an excellent football season, hauling in 36 passes for 858 yards and 14 touchdowns. His performance on the field this past season was so impressive that he gained the attention of multiple college football programs, including Western Michigan. He committed to Grand Valley Statein September 2021.
“He’s the best athlete I’ve ever been around,” said Holt Head football Coach Chad Fulk. “I’ve been here 27 years, I coached in college for three years, and he’s by far the best athlete I’ve ever been around. He’s incredibly fast, he’ll stand there flat-footed and jump over one of those 30-gallon trash barrels and do a flip over it. It’s almost like he’s flying.”
His basketball coach, Benjamin Curtis, also has been impressed by Reed’s athletic abilities.
“He’s probably the most athletic kid I’ve coached over the years,” Curtis said. “I’ve coached quite a few athletes, but I think Kellen is in a league of his own at that spot.”
While Curtis mentioned that he thought basketball was Reed’s third sport in terms of importance to him, he also thought that Reed has just as much fun with basketball as he did with the other two sports.
“I told him, ‘You’re probably going to take on a lesser role than what you probably are in football and in track,’” Curtis said. “And he’s like, ‘Coach, all I want to do is have fun. Be with my friends, have fun, and dunk on people.’ So I said, ‘We can live with that.’”
Reed is in track season now. He finished second in the 200-meter dash in the Saginaw Valley State Division I Indoor Invitational in March, just .06 seconds off of a Holt school record. At the 2022 Lincoln Indoor Classic, Reed finished in first place in the state in the 400-meter dash with a 49.32 time.
Playing three sports made for a rigorous schedule and nonstop commitment for Reed. However, it also allowed him to continually use different muscle groups for different sports, which will benefit him in the long run as he attempts to play two sports for the Lakers. Both his football and basketball coaches agreed that it was better for him to play multiple sports, rather than to specialize in just one.
“I think it was easier than he thought it was,” said Fulk. “When you go from playing football every day and you have that structure of going to school and going to practice, and then going to another one without any time off, the structure is pretty easy, but when they have the extra two weeks, that’s when it gets pretty hard. But as far as the mental part of it, I think he’s doing better than he thinks he is.”
Curtis mentioned Reed has never suffered a significant injury, because he is keeping his body in shape year round.
“I’ve known Kellen for four or five years, and I’ve never seen that kid with one injury,” he said. “I’ve never seen a lingering injury that he’s had, because I think using those different muscle groups from playing those different sports has helped him stay active and stay healthy.”
Reed will head to GVSU in the fall, a major transition for him, but one that he will be ready for.
“I think it’s going to be 10 times harder, but I’m preparing for it,” he said. “But I know I can’t really prepare for what’s unknown. But I’ll just be ready for it.”
Both his coaches had advice for him as he makes the jump from not only high school to college, but also high school athletics to college athletics, times two.
“I think that patience and perseverance is what will work well for him, and he’ll begin to flourish,” Curtis said.
Fulk’s advice was straightforward.
“You really have to love the sport to play it in college,” he said.