Finding Success as a Student-Athlete Beyond George School

Kellie Edelblut ’11 embodies the ethos of George School. As a professional golfer, LPGA Certified Apprentice, Leadbetter Certified Golf Coach, and Biomechanics Specialist, her passion, hard work, pursuit of knowledge, and curiosity of the world around her started at George School. Even though her career is centered around golf, it was the girls’ soccer team that defined her George School experience.

“Playing varsity soccer created my fondest memories of George School,” said Kellie. “Whether traveling together, spending the night on campus with them due to a snowstorm (as a day student), or playing on the field, my teammates and I formed a sisterhood. Even with a breathing disorder, Vocal Cord Dysfunction, limiting what I could do, my teammates always supported me and rallied around me. They motivated me and I motivated them. Winning two championships was exciting, but I will never forget riding the bus home after losing a close final to Shipley my senior year as captain of the team. While everyone else was depressed, I was elated that I had the opportunity to play soccer with this great group of girls. It was the end of my soccer career, but I was happy to have had the chance to compete. I still keep in touch with the many friends I made playing soccer and we all have a special bond that connects us.”

Kellie’s path was a challenging one filled with the demands of being a student while participating in far-flung golf tournaments. While most teachers were understanding, there was no infrastructure for someone who yearned for the track of a collegiate and professional athlete. Kellie had to work twice as hard to balance everything but in doing so, built a toolkit for success that paid off with a golf scholarship to William and Mary. “I wanted to show everyone that you could find success as an athlete at George School. The underdog mentality and my sheer passion for golf drove me to success. I am glad to know that George School is starting to realize its untapped potential by opening doors for student-athletes—helping and encouraging them to do amazing things. Work ethic is everything at George School. GS throws a lot at students all at once and it was terrible in the moment, but you learn to take on one task at a time and move forward. It wasn’t until senior year that I really learned how to balance it all. It helped me become ready for the rigors of being a student-athlete at the collegiate level and then to become a professional golfer,” reflects Kellie.

Kellie found positivity in the COVID-19 environment by having an extremely productive year of golf, even though there was no real professional season. “The eight or so tournaments that were not cancelled had little to no prize money, little to no LPGA tour cards to earn, and no housing for the golfers. Objectively, it should have been a terrible year for me, but I saw a new door open and threw myself into education. I studied hard, earned certifications, and was hired as a Fitness Assistant at the prestigious Leadbetter Golf Academy,” says Kellie. She focused her passion for learning and teaching and was quickly promoted to a Certified Golf Coach and a Biomechanics Specialist. Her answer to adversity was to learn and grow. In 2019, Kellie tore her labarum, disrupting her career, which led to depression. Having lost her ability to play professionally for months and losing fitness as an outlet, Kellie embraced the curiosity and drive to seek new horizons. As part of one of the certifications, she started a research project exploring why women in golf are more susceptible to shoulder injuries. That paper is now a broader research study that will lead to reducing injuries to female golfers.

Kellie is thankful for the coaches and faculty at George School that supported and encouraged her to follow her dreams. She thanks, “Tom Griffith, Shauna Betof, Chip Poston, and my advisor, Nancy Bernardini. Without the faculty who allowed me to do what I loved while still challenging me along the way, I would not be where I am today.”