University of South Dakota student athlete also serves in U.S. military

Local News

VERMILLION, S.d. (KCAU) – College usually requires a lot of dedication and attention from students and if your’e a college athlete, you probably wont have time to do much outside of the two.

Those challenges did not stop record breaking athlete Kaleb Ellis.

“When I was a kid, I did almost every sport. So I did football, basketball, track and hockey. In the 7th grade, I was introduced to pole vault and it kind of just took off from there,” said Ellis.

As a senior at Brookings High School, Kaleb won nearly every pole vault competition in the state, tying for the second highest score in South Dakota history.

After graduation in 2015, he planned to continue his passion at the University of South Dakota, but plans were put on hold for another priority.

Kaleb enrolled in the army at 17 years old and while most students spent their summer relaxing, Kaleb went through 19 weeks of training to become a soldier.

He eventually served in the military police at Guantanamo Bay where he worked to continue a strong family legacy of military service.

“I have multiple great, great grandparents who fought in World War I and II. My dad did twenty years in the Army Reserve. He’s retired. My step mom did eight years back in the 2000’s,” said Ellis.

Kaleb spent his college years juggling great responsibilities he felt passionate about while hoping to inspire others to do the same.

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