Greenville, SC: The NCCAA is pleased to recognize Briar Kellem of College of the Ozarks (CofO) as the 2023 John & Jody Wheeler Award recipient for Men's Outdoor Track and Field.
Briar Kellem, a native of Forsyth, Missouri, competes as a sprinter and field athlete for College of the Ozarks. His personal best of 55.58 in the 400m was achieved at the Lincoln University Open in April of 2022. In April of this year, at the University of Central Missouri Mule Relays, the senior threw for his personal best of 44.35m in the javelin toss. This distance currently ranks him 18th nationally out of more than 50 athletes in the NCCAA for Javelin. Kellem is a two-time team captain for the Bobcats who has had a great influence on his teammates and classmates during his four years at CofO. He is described by his coaches as a loyal servant and a true follower of Christ which is clearly seen in all he says and does.
Kellem studies business administration and holds a 3.63 GPA. He has earned Dean's List honors, is a member of the Athletic Director Honor Roll, and is a recipient of the Winfrey Memorial Alumni Scholarship Award. When not on the track or in the classroom, Kellem serves his local church in children's and youth ministry, both throughout the school year and in summer camps. He brings a quiet confidence to the students that emulates Christ in all he does. He has also participated in Elevate Branson, helping to feed the homeless, and has served at Christian Action Ministries several times throughout his college career.
"Briar works hard every single day to make himself and others around him better than they were the day before," stated head coach Makenzie Larkin. "He is a great example of a servant leader who is a follower of Christ."
John and Jody Wheeler have been involved in supporting athletic activities of Christian high schools and colleges throughout their lives. Jody passed in 2019 and John continues to actively participate in supporting Christian athletics via the NCCAA. He served on the NCCAA Board for 35 years and he and Jody founded the NCCAA Pro-Am event that has provided over $2,000,000 in support for the NCCAA since 1988. A Taylor University graduate who knows the benefit of a Christian worldview and a lifelong pursuit for God's truth, John was inducted into the NCCAA Hall of Fame in 2002.