Kilani Harvey is a freshman sprinter from Orlando, Fla., on the women's track and field team. Although she is a transfer from Highland Community College (Kan.), the NCAA granted all student-athletes an extra year of eligibility, so she isn't a rookie.
While being new to campus she has made herself a household name in the conference by not only placing, but winning the 60-meter dash in the opening meet of the season at Louisville. Also, in her debut she crushed the previous record of 7.93 seconds, running 7.69 seconds in the prelims before her 1st place finish of 7.73 seconds. She also placed 3rd in the 200-meter dash so her first collegiate track meet was a sight to see.
Harvey also set two more school records on April 2 at Southeast Missouri, running the 100-meter dash in 12.15 and the 200-meter race in 25.09.
Her road getting to Morehead State has not been the easiest, but getting here is a dream come true for her.
She has been running for as long as she can remember and has always been one of the faster kids around, but never got in to competing. At first running was just something that she would do to bond with her mother (she too was a runner), so this became their thing to do together.
When Harvey got to high school she became interested in going to college and figured she would have to excel in school or find a sport to get a scholarship since that was how she was going to be able to afford college. Being a natural runner, she decided to finally join her high school's track team. It was in the 10th grade where she laced up her spikes for the first time and got on the track. She felt it was a huge challenge to start competing this late because most kids on the team had been running track since their childhood.
Her father saw her love and drive to be successful in the sport and started to train her daily. With this help from her dad, Harvey grew more confident in her abilities and it showed as time progressed. By her 12th grade year, she became an absolute beast on the track and qualified for state in every one of her events.
She ran the 100-meter dash, 200, and the 4x100 meter relay. She placed 8th in the 200-meter dash and her team won the 4x100. She credits this as the best day of her life as she saw that all her hard work to was finally paying off.
After her great performance at state, she was very excited, and she also learned that the time she ran at states for her 200 meter, a 24.8, was a school record. Ultimately, she chose to take the junior college route first but only needed to stay for one year. After more offers started to roll in, she was getting more excited and loved to see her dreams coming to life.
Eventually after mulling through her options she chose to come to MSU. This was huge for Havey and her family as she is a first-generation college student and hopes to be a role model for her siblings and other kids back in her hometown.
Choosing Morehead was an easy decision for Harvey. She felt here she could be successful on and off the track.
"I want to be a part of a team where it's being built," she said. "I didn't just want to be another runner on the team, I actually wanted to be the one to help build the program with a coach who loves his athletes genuinely and loves his job and who will fight for his athletes."
She was talking most specifically about her sprinting coach Harry Adams, who was a standout football player and track athlete at Auburn University. He has been a huge help to Harvey since she has been on campus, helping her build up confidence in all areas of her life.
School-wise, Harvey is a criminal justice major and plans on using the knowledge she will gain here to get certified to be a detective. She wants to help correct the injustices in the criminal justice systems in America, and she can do it with her work ethic and determination.
Also being the selfless person she is, she wants to give back to community that raised her to be the person she is today. Without her struggles she would not be the star she is now. Eventually she wants to buy land back in Florida and build herself a house there and live her life to the fullest, but she still has two more years until graduation, so she will continue to try to dominate on the track and in her classes until then.
The OVC track championships are about a month away, but before that there are three more meets, two of which are in Kentucky - one in Richmond April 16-17 and another at Kentucky from April 30-May 1.