- Alma School District
Kelley set for next step-4/5/2021
By Kevin Taylor
Dreams do come true.
Loryn Kelley always felt like she could get to the next level. It began with little league shots, then junior high and high school.
But playing in college wasn't something that was guaranteed. Not unless you know Kelley, that is.
"I've been dreaming about this since I was a kid," she said. "It's always been my goal to play in college, no matter where it was. Today is just one step closer to achieving that goal.
"Of course, there are plenty of goals for when I get up there."
"What she's gone through with her knees, and the ups and downs, and still being able to do what she loves, speaks volumes about this girl and her work ethic," Alma coach Codey Mann said. "A lot of people would have laid down and quit. (But) she got out there every day and grinded and worked hard."
Kelley had knee surgery following her sophomore season. She came on strong, however, at the end of her junior season (2019-20).
"This year, especially when Lydia (Mann) went down, Loryn had to step up and do things for us that she really hadn't done much of - attack the basket, post-up more, and defensively guard different people," Mann said. "She's a kid in our program that we will talk about forever."
The "who, where, and when" involves an eight-hour trip to Iowa for Kelley, who signed a letter of intent with Briar Cliff University, an NAIA school that competes in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
For Kelley, a three-year starter for Mann's Lady Airedales, it's an extension to a career she's not ready to let go of.
Kelley said the hardest part was telling others who had recruited her no.
"There's something about this school (Briar Cliff)," she said. "It felt like home when I went up there. The coaches were just incredible; I felt like I connected with them.
"I feel like playing up north seems to fit my game."
Former Alma standout Loryn Kelley will further her career at Briar Cliff University.
"Up north" means parents Jeff and Sheri will be making the eight-hour drive from Alma to Sioux
City, Iowa, a 560-mile drive.
"It's going to probably be harder on my mom," Kelley said. "With my brother being in the military, with him getting deployed every now and then, he's actually further away than I am in North Carolina (Camp Lejeune). Having both kids not close is going to be really hard on them."