Champions of Character: UGF's Kelli O'Brien - News, Sports and Weather

Champions of Character: UGF's Kelli O'Brien

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Consistency is the mark of a champion. And in the case of Kelli O'Brien it was her consistent desire that gave her an opportunity to play softball at the college level.

"Kelli O'Brien came into my office. I didn't know who she was, I didn't know anything about her. But she knocked on my door and asked if she could be a part of the softball team," said Gary Ehnes, UGF Argos athletic director and assistant softball coach.

Ehnes has an eye for talent. HECK… His daughter is the Argo's coach… and was a pretty darn good collegiate player herself. But even he'll tell you that that's not how he usually brings in players.

"I normally don't recruit that way. I recruit by going out and watching and when she came to talk to me I told her to fill out an application and sent her on her way. But of course, every day from then on she came knocking on my door until we decided to give her a chance to tryout," said Ehnes.

O'Brien took advantage of it… and made the team as a freshman in 2009…. But she wanted to do more than just be on the roster.

"I was voted in by my team my sophomore year to be team captain. So that means I made a big enough impression my freshman to be voted in my sophomore year." said Kelli O'Brien, Argos senior outfielder.

O'Brien was scared as a sophomore.

"I was very scared at first and very timid and then from then I took on the role, embraced it,"

But now, she's confident as ever as a senior. And O'Brien's presence on and off the field is strong and always felt.

"Kelli is the greatest player I think we have on this team and she's the greatest teammate I've had - ever. I think she's the glue of this team and keeps us all stuck together," said Kayeley Lyons, Argos Junior 3B.

"She's the first one to volunteer, the first one to do the team laundry, the first one to practice and the last one to leave. And her grades are the most important things to her - getting her education. She's the perfect kind of kid." said Egan.

Who needed softball as much as the Argos needed her. It wasn't only an opportunity for O'Brien to live out her dream of playing… but also… a way to help her family pay for college.

"Playing has been a blessing because my family can't afford to send me through college so to be able to have the opportunity and then excel in it has been amazing," said O'Brien.

It's truly been a win-win situation. And Ehnes says the girl who once pleaded to be on the team has done more than proved she belongs.

"Her talent of playing outfield is second to none. She's literally the best outfielder I've ever watched," said Gary Ehnes.

Arguably one of the greatest players to walk through his door, even thought it took a little extra push the first time.

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