Sports Spotlight: Mandan’s Acey Elkins – running away with awards

Published: May. 10, 2023 at 5:30 PM CDT
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MANDAN, N.D. (KFYR) - Acey Elkins joined cross country in middle school because the rest of her sixth-grade basketball team was doing it. What Elkins didn’t know when she signed up was that the sport involved running. Six years later, Elkins is one of the most decorated runners in Mandan history.

Acey Elkins is one of the best runners in the state of North Dakota.

“Acey always comes every day ready to work hard. It doesn’t matter what type of workout we’re doing, she works hard every single day,” said Greg Brown, Mandan track and field head coach.

She started cross country in the sixth grade. One specific prize gave Elkins motivation in her early days of competing.

“Once I found out we could win t-shirts for top-20, I really started working hard for it,” said Acey Elkins, Mandan senior.

T-shirts were the goal in middle school, but when Elkins got to high school, the focus turned to hardware.

“Sophomore year is when I had more of a drive to start winning. Not just for the t-shirts, but for fun, because I loved it so much,” said Elkins.

Elkins has won more than a dozen state awards over the past three years in track and cross country. With all the success, came an opportunity to run further with the sport.

“Junior year when I started getting letters, I thought about it more and realized how much I loved the team and the atmosphere of running. So when it came to my senior year I knew I wanted to run in college,” said Elkins.

Beginning this fall, Elkins is going to be a Bison. Her hard work got her to this point, but she’s left an impact on the Mandan running programs for years to come.

“She’s willing to go the extra mile. She’s willing to spend the extra time on the track. She’s willing to mentor. She’ll take girls under her wing. She’ll talk to them. She’ll tell them how to get things done,” said Brown.

Elkins has checked off a lot of goals that she set for herself years ago. She’s gone from cotton and polyester, to championships and podiums.

“I know my younger self would be so proud. Especially going from t-shirts to plaques. I know my younger self worked so hard to be where I am now, and I’m super proud that I’ve worked super hard to achieve those goals,” said Elkins.

As of now, Elkins will compete in the 400, 800, and 1,600 at the state meet at the end of May.