Triple-threat ability earns honor for Kelly

It’s not that Pat Kelly gets bored easily. He just doesn’t like to be bored.

“I love baseball and sports,” the South Kitsap senior said. “If I’m not doing that, I don’t know what I’d do. Anything I do, whether its cards or video games or just anything, it has to be a competition for me.”

It’s that kind of drive that saw Kelly through an incredible high school sports career as one of the few three-sport stars.

And it was his outstanding senior year playing football, baseball and wrestling that has earned him the Port Orchard Independent’s South Kitsap Male Athlete of the Year award as voted on by the sports staff at the Independent.

“I’ve known him since he was a little kid,” Kelly’s baseball coach Jim Fairweather said. “It’s fun to watch a kid grow up, to watch him develop into a stellar kid and a super athlete.”

Kelly beat out a tough group for the award. Others considered included Adam Bennett for basketball and tennis, Craig Senter for football, wrestling and baseball, C.J. Godfrey in cross-country and track, Brent Nickerson in football and baseball, Jake Beitinger for basketball and Brent Chriswell in wrestling.

But it was Kelly’s selections to the All-Narrows League football and baseball teams and his fifth-place finish at the Class 4A state wrestling tournament that propelled him above all others.

“It’s no surprise to me that he’s gotten these accolades,” Fairweather said. “He’s good at the pre-game preparation, he knows how to get himself going, how to get himself ready. And he leads, too. He can lead other people by his example.”

And it all seems to come so easily for Kelly.

“Most of it comes naturally, but I do work pretty hard,” Kelly said. “I’m always trying to get above where I am right now.”

His status as one of the top athletes ever to come out of South is hard to argue with.

“He’s among some of the best skill players we’ve had,” South football coach D.J. Sigurdson said. “Just the impact he had attitude-wise and savvy and toughness and intelligence. Combine all of that with his athletic ability, he ranks right up there (with the school’s best).

“There’s some tough acts to follow and I’m not going to say he’s the best, but he’s definitely among them,” Sigurdson said. “He’s among the best kids that have come through, and there have been some good ones.”

Kelly’s name is mentioned in the same breath as Eric Canton, another three-sport star from the 1980s, and Roger Cooper, an all-state football player and state champion hurdler from the 1990s.

“He had a good year,” Sigurdson said. “We got what we expected out of him. He had a full plate. He was as busy as you could get.”

Kelly was a starting defensive back for the Wolves’ football team, slid right onto the wrestling season and starred at shortstop on the baseball team. He also plays summer select baseball, is in a summer softball league and finds time to golf on the side.

“There’s been a few kids that did three, but not to the level that Pat did,” Sigurdson said. “He’s unique, very unique.”

Kelly said his athletic prowess comes straight from a family of athletes that in-cludes his father, two uncles, older brother Jamie and younger brother Brandon, who qualified for state in wrestling and will play football this year.

“The whole family basically rallies around sports,” Kelly said. “I think the whole family would get bored if it didn’t have sports. There’s a lot of competition in everything we do.”

Sports is what drives Kelly. He was the self-proclaimed cribbage champ of the wrestling team and does not hesitate to take younger, and lighter, brother Brandon down in an impromptu wrestling match.

“It seems that everything he picks up, he excels at,” Fairweather said. “He’s right in there (with the school’s all-time best), especially since the three-sport athlete is so rare anymore.”

But it’s not just sports where Kelly makes his mark.

“He gets good grades and he’s got motivation for getting good grades because he’s got a plan,” Fairweather said. “One of the things I like about him is that he seems to have a plan — he knows what he wants to do and he knows the means by which to get that done, whether it’s athletically or academically.

“But he’s not so caught up in all of it that he doesn’t know when he can just have fun, let his hair down and relax a little bit,” Fairweather said. “Maybe that makes him a little bit different. He knows when to do things seriously and when we can have some fun with them.”

His plan, for now, includes playing baseball in college next year. Kelly said he will go to Gonzaga if he gets a scholarship offer. If that doesn’t come, he most likely will end up at Bellevue Community College before transferring to a Division I college later.

Where ever he ends up, he knows his legacy as a three-sport star and one of South’s best is secure.

“That’s what I want to be known as, one of the most athletic guys,” Kelly said. “Someone others can model themselves after.”

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