Kellerman Driven by Love and Memory of Friend

by Abby Hintz

Freshman Emery Kellerman could be described in many ways. The best way, however, would have to be motivated.

Her motivation stems from circumstances few can imagine. When she was 16, her best friend passed away from a rare skin cancer. This drives everything Kellerman does. Everything down to her choice of major and career.

Emery Kellerman competes as a high jumper and is a member of the cheer squad. (photos by Abbi Luiken)

Kellerman is a biology pre-med major with a chemistry minor through which she hopes to be a pediatric oncologist. Most pre-med majors have their work cut out for them without any extracurriculars, but Kellerman manages it on top of two varsity sports. She competes on the track team as a high jumper and is also on the cheer squad.

“I’ve never not been busy in my whole life,” she said. “In high school I was on a competitive dance team and a competitive gymnastics team and I was cheering and I was doing track and I was on the academic team. So, coming here is actually a step back from what I used to do. I work a lot better under pressure.”

Kellerman hit the ground running when she got to Cedarville. Cheer season began right away, and track preseason didn’t take long to begin. There was a big overlap between the two sports, with cheer season and indoor track season ending just before spring break. She was ready to transition to the outdoor season without cheer interfering before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down school and athletics for the rest of the spring.

Kellerman is thankful for the influence of both teams in her life. She says she trusts the cheer team with her life, literally. Because she was forced to miss the early parts of track due to cheer, it was hard for her to connect with them but now she says they are a huge encouragement in her life.

“I think my favorite part about the track team is after every meet, coach does this thing where you just openly talk about things that you saw other people do,” she said. “It’s just really great because you can see how proud other people are of you.”

Her first collegiate athletic seasons have not been smooth. Kellerman suffered a concussion early in the cheer season that forced her out of participating in cheer or track for two months. She wasn’t allowed to take any exams for two weeks, putting her extremely behind. Through all of this she was not exempt from obligations. She still attended practices and games but was unable to do what she loves.

“Honestly it probably helped me because then I became more determined than ever to catch up to everybody,” she said. “Once I got back, I started working even harder in track. In cheer I decided that I was no longer going to be afraid of anything, and I’m just going to give it all I’ve got because I’m behind now.”

Not long after, an ongoing foot problem was aggravated as she cleared higher heights in track. The trainers told her she had sprained her ankle three times and put her in a boot for a week. Through physical therapy she was able to manage the problem.

She credits her friends in her classes and on her teams with her success and ability to stay focused, saying, “People here at Cedarville are literally incredible and they will help you get through anything.”

Through it all, she is continually driven by her love for her friend.

“That whole thing, as sad as it was, it’s really just impacted my whole life for the better because I grew to God and I came to Cedarville,” she said. “Really that’s helped me choose where I want to go because I was there for her for all of it and I saw all of it and I want to influence people and make an impact in their life.”

Kellerman wants to be for others what her friend was for her – a life changer.

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