MONTPELIER — In nearly everything Kimme Engels does, she tries to be as versatile as possible.
Engels, who recently graduated as Montpelier’s valedictorian with a perfect 4.0 grade point average, did it all during her time in high school.
She was a member of student council, National Honor Society, band, choir, musical, served as the president of her class and also found time to be a three-sport athlete in cross country, basketball and track.
And when it came to her favorite sport of running, it was the exact same way. If needed for her track team, Engels could be used in any distance from the 200 all the way up to the 3200.
“She was willing to do whatever it took for the team,” Montpelier track coach Troy Roth said. “If I said, ‘Hey we need mile points, we’re putting you in the mile today,’ she’d say, ‘OK.’ If I said, ‘We need 200 points today,’ she’d say, ‘OK.’
Engels says she got her start in the sport when she joined Montpelier’s junior high track team in the seventh grade. At the time, she went in with the mindset of being a sprinter and hoped to continue on with volleyball as her fall sport.
But at the urging of her friend Jacqueline Carlson and Montpelier cross country coach Hollie Carroll, Engels eventually caved and started running cross country in the eighth grade.
She’s been in love with the sport ever since.
“I honestly loved it right from the start,” Engels said. “Ms. Hollie is an amazing coach and long-distance running isn’t entirely fun, but she’d come up with different practices every day and it always became exciting.”
“And for cross country, I feel like that team especially, that sport, your team is like your family,” she went on to say. “Because you go on long runs with those people and I probably know everything about Jacqueline Carlson. ... That’s a good memory.”
Over the years, Engels also became one of her school’s top runners. Throughout her senior cross country season this past fall, Engels led the Locomotives all season long as the team’s best runner.
During her final track season this spring, Engels was a member of Montpelier’s regional-qualifying 4x400-meter relay team. It was the third straight year Engels had competed at regionals after advancing in the 4x800 and 4x400 her junior year and the 4x800 as a sophomore.
This fall, Engels plans on attending Bowling Green State University to study forensics and biology, while pursuing a minor in psychology. Her reasoning for what pulls her in that direction goes right along with what’s been the theme of her life up until this point — it allows her to do a little bit of everything.
“It combines pretty much all my interests,” she said. “I love English, so I’d be able to write up lab reports. And then I loved AP Government, so I almost started thinking of going into political science, but with forensics I can also testify in court, so that incorporates that part of it. … And then chemistry and biology were just my two favorite classes throughout high school.”
Upon her graduation from high school, Engels said she’ll certainly miss being around the Montpelier cross country and track teams next year.
“I was a mess after my last cross country meet and my last track meet,” she said. “I’m an emotional person.”
Nevertheless, she plans on continuing on with the sport of running for years to come.
“I was just seeing on Facebook that the Bean Days 5K is coming up and I’ve done that every year, so I think I’m going to do that,” Engels said. “And my friend Makena Dietrich from Napoleon, she’s going to BG and we both said we’re going to motivate each other to join a running club there.”