Ten Questions columnist Reena Gilani caught up with senior Brett Kelly to discuss everything from his strange dancing habits and his passion for Wisconsin sports to his quest for the world record in the prestigious beer mile competition.
1. How did you end up getting involved with cross country and track?
I used to play a lot of soccer, basketball and baseball as a kid and in middle school. I was always running around the field a lot, especially in soccer where I played midfield. Just constantly running up and down the field.
How did you decide to change sports?
In eighth grade I ran a meet in gym class and it was a 5:24 mile without any training other than soccer. So, I decided my freshman year of high school to run cross country. I liked it and I kept doing it.
The Cornell cross country team did really well in the Rochester Invitational last Saturday. Why did you individually fall back in the last 200 meters of the meet?
We tried to run as a team. We were competing against a lot of Division III teams and we had a lot of our guys up near the front and we were trying to practice running together. We weren’t running all that fast and we were all running together. There was one unattached guy in the pack, an alumnus from Rochester. We were all staying together and then with 200 meters to go, everyone took off, and that’s not really my strength. I don’t have a lot of the top-end speed that a lot of our guys did, so they all kind of rolled me at the end.
2. Did you all go to the Avicii concert?
What did you think?
The Avicii concert was amazing. It was maybe the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. It was a really awesome concert and it was great to see everyone so excited, jumping up and down to the cool lights and stuff.
What happened after the concert?
We went back to our house, we were trying not to stay up too late because we have a big race next weekend — hopefully my coaches read this. So, we just got this new big beanbag chair from our coach. We ended up watching an episode of Workaholics with four of us sitting on a beanbag chair. A couple of people walked in and thought it was a little weird but so it goes.
3. Do you like to dance?
Yeah, I do.
Do you have any trademark dance moves?
I like to improvise; I’ve heard people say I have a couple of tendencies.
Lip movements? Nose covering acts?
People tell me I move my lips a lot and that I put my shirt over my nose a lot when I dance, but I don’t believe it. It’s false.
Do you like to dance in Collegetown?
Last year we went to Pixel a lot, it’s a fun place to go dance.
4. Since you’re from Wisconsin, are you big into Wisconsin sports?
Yes, I am huge into Wisconsin sports.
Why are the teams sucking right now?
I mean, they’re doing alright. The University of Wisconsin football team is struggling, they’re not going to have a good year. They’re 3-1 but they lost to not a very good team and beat three pretty mediocre teams by not very much.
Are you more invested in college football or the NFL?
I’m a huge Packers fan. Their offense has been struggling a little but they’re going to have a good season I think.
What did you think about the end of the Packers/Seahawks game?
Obviously I think it was a terrible call. Even if you argue that it was a simultaneous catch, which I don't think it was, they still missed a blatant offensive pass interference call right before the catch. That said, I've always been of the philosophy that you can't leave it up to the refs. The offensive line is really what lost them the game; they let Aaron Rodgers get sacked eight times in the first half. To take a positive out of it though, I'm a Russell Wilson fan — the Seahawks quarterback, he played for Wisconsin. It was cool to see him get a big win like that. It's just unfortunate it had to happen under those circumstances and at the Packers' expense.
Do you participate in fantasy football?
I’m really into fantasy football; I love it. I’m beating up on all the kids on the Cornell track team right now in our league.
Have you always been big on it?
Yeah, I have a league with my friends from home that has been going on for 10 years now. It started in like middle school.
Do you always win?
My friends are pretty good. I think a lot of it is up to chance and luck.
5. Can you share a bear rug story?
A couple of years ago, a guy on the team bought a bearskin rug off of Craigslist. It’s hanging on our wall now, we took a picture with it in The Sun last year. I was wearing the bear rug in it.
6. What’s the beer mile championship?
It’s four laps on the track; you drink a beer, run a lap, and do this four times.
What’s your reign in it?
I try it out of season, but I’m hunting down the world record. I think it’s like 5:06. I ran 5:44 last year.
Of all the things in the world, it’s probably the thing I’m best at … which is a little depressing. But I guess it’s cool.
Is it a big competition?
A lot of people do it all over the world. If you go to beermile.com, there’s an official list of rules. People are pretty serious about it. In order to submit your time you have to record it on video, which I haven’t done yet so I’m not officially on there.
Do you practice a lot?
No, this is always out of season. Well, I run a lot, so I guess that’s good practice. For some reason I can drink beer really fast.
7. Can you tell me about the cove in your room?
There are 10 of us runners that have a big house together. On the first floor we have a big porch off of one guy’s room. When we have people over we have to open up his room and one time there were a lot of people in there. So, I have this extra closet/attic type thing off of my room. He borrowed that one night, along with a blanket. He promised to wash it, but he never did. I had to wash it myself.
But at the same time, I felt bad for him because of the porch situation. One time I had kind of jokingly told him he could use my cove if he needed to, but I didn’t think he actually would.
Has he ever taken you up on it again?
No, just the one time. He actually moved out so a different guy lives in the downstairs room now.
8. Why are you obsessed with 24?
It’s a good show. I watched it my sophomore year almost every night when I got back from the library. I watched all eight seasons.
Did you think it went downhill at some point?
Yeah, but my problem is that when I start a show I have to watch it until the end.
I do the same thing.
Of course, despite how bad it gets. It definitely went downhill but that didn’t keep me from watching all eight seasons. I spent a total of eight days of my life on that show, since each episode is an hour long and there are 24 episodes in every season. It took me probably all of sophomore year. It came to the point where I’d be hanging out with the other guys and then I’d tell them I was going to go watch 24. They joke that I wasn’t actually doing that.
9. What’s up with your love for wings?
I just love chicken wings.
Do you order from Wings Over Ithaca a lot?
I’m actually more of a Buffalo Wild Wings kind of guy, and I go to Cook every Monday night and Keeton on Sunday nights. They both have wings, although Cook is better. Freshman year I used to go to Cook and literally eat 25 to 30 wings every Monday; I’d count them to see how many I could eat. It was bad, but it was also funny. I was running well my freshman year and our coach said to all the freshmen ‘you guys just need to do whatever Brett’s doing’ and they joked ‘okay coach, we’ll go eat a bunch of chicken wings’.
Did any of them actually do it?
No, no. I’ve also cut back. I still eat wings, but not as many now; I try to eat healthier. Tonight I probably ate like eight, and a salad.
What’s your favorite flavor?
Buffalo Wild Wings has a flavor called spicy garlic, so I guess that would be my favorite. But otherwise standard buffalo. I definitely like them a little spicy.
10. Can you explain to me what the Thailand operation was?
I went to Thailand over winter break. It was a lot of fun, a really cool experience. I got to go for two weeks. One of my friends on the team — [senior] Bobby Micikas — has this tendency to take over my computer … Every time I leave it on, he always writes something on my Facebook. He usually writes stupid stuff that no one would believe, really bad practical jokes that weren’t funny and everyone knew were fake. But so I got back from Thailand and he got on my Facebook and wrote: ‘My operation in Thailand went really well, thank you for all your thoughts and prayers’. It was well worded and really convincing. There were a lot of people commenting on it who sounded really concerned, I didn’t even delete that one. I commented on it so that everyone knew it wasn’t real but I left it up there and I congratulated him on the good job with the joke.
Can you tell me more about your relationship with him?
With Bobby, it’s a love-hate relationship. He’s one of my good friends, but sophomore year, almost every day after I’d leave for class, he would come upstairs and steal one of my sweatshirts or some of my clothes. I would see him at practice wearing my clothes and I would always get mad and he would never stop. I’m not a very aggressive person; everyone told me I needed to punch him or yell at him but it’s not in my nature. I think that kind of allowed it to continue.
Does he still have any of your clothes?
No, he’s actually gotten better. One day, there were three of us who went to practice all wearing his sweatshirts and I think he realized how it felt like to have someone else wearing your clothes. That was right toward the end of sophomore year, and since junior year he’s pretty much stopped so that might have been the reason why.