UW’s Rick, Michelle Bellford keeping track and field a family affair

first_imgFor a brother and sister, throwing the ball in the backyard or shooting hoops in the driveway is a common scene. Leaping triple and long jumps together is a different story.But Rick and Michelle Bellford are not the average siblings. The West Allis, Wis., natives have been reunited on the UW track and field team this season with Michelle transferring to UW from Loyola, and her brother Rick couldn’t be happier to welcome her back to Wisconsin.“Oh, it’s awesome,” Rick said of having his sister on the track team. “She should’ve come here in the first place. I was trying to get her to come, but I think she just wanted to get away from home. But she came back eventually and I’m glad she did.”Michelle’s freshman campaign at Loyola was a successful one, in which she won the triple jump at the Horizon League indoor championships and was named the conference’s newcomer of the year in the field events.Nevertheless, Wisconsin’s track and field team offered the sophomore a more exciting opportunity in almost all aspects in the end.“I think (my experience at Loyola) was pretty good for a freshman season,” Michelle said. “The program and facilities weren’t that great, but I think that I definitely have more of an opportunity to reach my potential here. Just the level of competition here is a lot higher and it’s good to get that experience for the bigger meets.”Her brother Rick also had a bit of an influence on her decision to transfer, as Michelle saw how successful he was at UW.“Yeah, definitely,” Michelle said of her brother’s influence. “Just watching him excel over his career and he was pretty supportive, as well as my whole family.”Rick Bellford was simply trying to assist his sister in her decision, as he has always been at her side with the close relationship that the two share.“Yeah, I’d say we get along real good,” Rick said. “My older brother, too — he just graduated last year, we’re all pretty close and we’re only an hour away from home.”The two, who both compete in the triple- and long-jump events, have trained together since their days at Hale High School in West Allis.“We’ve always done the same events,” Rick said. “We worked out together in the same summer club probably starting my sophomore year of high school, so we trained all through summer together then, too.”Though the two may not always get the chance to compete or practice together with the separation of the men’s and women’s programs at Wisconsin, Rick has always been there to give Michelle a few pointers during meets.“Yeah, he does (help me in the jumping events),” Michelle said. “He has really good technique and he’s always pretty helpful with that for jumping.”Even with their tight-knit relationship, the two are extremely focused on achieving their personal goals for the remainder of the outdoor track and field season.Rick is aiming to recover from his hamstring injury and top his performance at indoor nationals in the outdoor season. The junior believes a strong individual performance could have propelled his team higher up the leaderboard.“I wanted to get All-American indoor and I just got it,” Rick said. “Outdoor, I definitely want to be top five at nationals; definitely the goal is to score some points because if I would have been seventh indoor, we would’ve got second, and I was ninth and we just missed scoring by one point so I think if I can bump up to fifth, we’ll have a good chance at taking second as a team.”Meanwhile, Michelle hopes to top her personal bests in both the triple jump (39-7 3/4) and long jump (18-3 3/4) and make it to NCAA regionals.“I definitely would like try to jump around the 42- and 20-foot range,” Michelle said. “Obviously, I would like to go to regionals. I already got triple jump, but I’d like to go in long jump and just be as competitive as I can at Big Tens.”As the two set out to accomplish their personal goals in the outdoor season, there is no doubt that the brother-sister combo will enjoy each other’s company and support on the track and that this close relationship will make each of them strive to be better.last_img read more

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