For Kylie Price, UCLA sports have always been a family affair
SEATTLE -- Last year, Kylie Price was a volunteer at the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships, sidelined by injury. This year, she’s a Pac-12 champion.
The UCLA senior had a best jump of 6.41m (21 feet, .5 inch) to take the individual long jump title, something her father Dennis Price says she’s been striving to achieve for a long time.
“It feels good being able to watch her come back and win the Pac-12 [championships] and end her senior year on such a high note,” he says.
For Kylie, winning the title was sweet, but having her family in the stands when it happened was sweeter. Her mother, father, two cousins, and two aunts flew in from as far as Houston, Texas to cheer her on at every attempt.
“I can always hear them,” laughs Kylie. “Seriously, every time they call my name I hear them cheering.”
This family is used to cheering on UCLA athletics. Kylie’s father, Dennis; mother, Letitia; grandfather, William Ellis; and older brother, Sheldon were all Bruins.
Dennis played as a cornerback on the football team from 1984 to 1987, the same position her brother Sheldon played for UCLA from 2009 to 2012 and continues to play for the Baltimore Ravens. William “Bill” Ellis played basketball at UCLA under John Wooden from 1959 to 1962.
“Having been an athlete, even in different sports, lets me know things about where she’s at,” says Dennis. “The ups, the downs, the butterflies, all of it. So watching her overcome her injury and persevere and get where she is today has been even more special.”
Kylie happily stuck with family tradition to compete in blue and gold, allowing her parents, who still live in the Los Angeles area, to attend an “uncountable” number of her track meets.
“They’re by biggest supporters. They build up my confidence so much,” says Price. “Having family in the stands is basically home field advantage.”
Looking forward, she says the fierce competition in the Pac-12 conference prepares her for regionals and NCAAs, so it looks like her family has a few more trips to make. No matter what happens, she knows her family will be in the stands, cheering like crazy every time the announcer calls her name.
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