Kersh remembered for her smile and goodness

Remembrace service for MSU track athlete Kaelin Kersh
Staff Writer

The voice of Mississippi State track and field coach Steve Dudley trembled Monday afternoon as he shared his thoughts about Kaelin Kersh, a runner for the Bulldogs, who died early Sunday in a car accident near Starkville.

MSU held an open prayer service Monday at the Mike Sanders Track Complex as coaches, administrators, teammates and others gathered to celebrate the life of Kersh.
Dudley fought back the tears as he recalled what he’ll remember most about his former athlete.
“She would just come straight into your office with a smile,” Dudley recalled. “Not a lot of words, but her smile had a million words.”

Kersh’s smile, uplifting spirit and ultra-positive outlook on life were described multiple times over the course of the half-hour service. Teammate Jaquarius Wilson recalled the sweet spirit of Kersh.
“She was always a nice person,” Wilson said of Kersh. “She was somewhat soft-spoken. She was truly a good person. It’s really crazy to me that things like this happen, but everything is in God’s plan and I’m glad God put her in my life.”

Kersh lost her life at the intersection of Mayhew Road and Mississippi 182 in a wreck around 1:24 a.m. on Sunday. According to a press release from the Mississippi Highway Patrol, a 2017 MHP SUV was traveling east on Mississippi 182 responding to a separate call when a 2002 green Toyota Corolla entered the roadway. The SUV collided with the Corolla, in which Kersh was a passenger. She was pronounced dead at the scene. She was just 22-years-old and had just graduated from MSU about 30 hours prior to her death.

As tragic as the circumstances are, Dudley said Kersh leaves behind a legacy of goodness.

“Pretty much every obstacle and every hurdle she ever faced in life, she battled it with that smile,” Dudley said. “It would tear down whatever barrier there was. She didn’t have to say a whole lot of words.

“We live in a world right now where the universe wants us to continually pick sides, whether it’s religiously or politically. There aren’t 100 different sides. There is good and there is bad. If we had more Kaelin’s in the world that would approach everything with that smile and that heart, we wouldn’t have to be picking sides. She was on the good person side. That, to me, is the biggest impact she had on myself and her teammates, that I’ve got to do better. We’ve got to do better. We’ve got to approach life like Kaelin did. She had no enemies. She loved everybody. She faced the world with her smile and her heart.”

To honor Kersh, Dudley issued a challenge to everyone in attendance.
While Kersh is no longer with us physically, Dudley said, through those left here on earth, Kersh’s legacy can last forever.

“Take that love that Kaelin had and put it in your heart and leave it there for the rest of your days,” Dudley said. “In other words, smile like Kaelin.”