There is a homespun appeal to Kristie Elliott’s personality that is so endearing, that even on her biggest days, it comes out of her soul and speaks as if a wide-eyed kid at the candy store.
Saturday was one of those days for the Simon Fraser football team’s place-kicker.
So, how does it feel, she’s asked, to become the first Canadian female to ever score a point in a university football game?
“Now that you said it, I am getting chills,” said Elliott, who made history when she connected on the point-after attempt of teammate Caelin Johnson’s one-yard touchdown catch with 16 seconds left in the first half of a road game against Oregon’s Linfield Wildcats.
“It was exciting, but I still have a long ways to go because that was my first football game. It was terrifying,” she revealed. “I am not going to lie. But I am so glad I got the first game over with and I just want to continue giving my best effort and getting points for my team.”
Elliott wound up going two-of-three on her PATS for the night, the second, partially blocked, clanged off the left upright.
Yet her real moment of truth came just over six minutes in the game, a 56-20 SFU loss, when she was tapped to go out and cap a stalled drive with a 39-yard field-goal attempt.
Elliott’s kick came up just short, but like any true kicker, she was able to put it behind her and focus on the next one.
But that’s not to say she wasn’t feeling it like she never had before.
“I had an awful mindset and you can’t have that,” she began. “I was just so nervous. It’s completely different at practice, having a full rush knowing your team is not going to hit you. It was uncomfortable having these random men come at me. I am new to that But I got that one out of the way”
Afterwards, she said with the delight that comes in knowing how much she is supported by her family and friends: “My phone is blowing up. Yes, my phone is blowing up.”
Those on her team, were of course, beaming with pride for the courage she showed to blaze a new trail, and perseverance she exemplified over a near two year wait to get the call to in-game action.
“Kristie is amazing,” said SFU quarterback Justin Seiber, who in throwing three touchdowns to Johnson, afforded Elliott three PAT opportunities.
“She got her opportunity today (on the field goal), and it didn’t work out, but she had the confidence to go back out there. This whole team has confidence in her and supports her to succeed and just keep doing amazing things.”
Head coach Mike Rigell was more like Pappa Riggs in the post-game.
“This young lady has been everything we’ve asked of her,” said Rigell. “She is here to stay. Her’s is the story of a true football player, who gets out there and prepares like everybody else on a weekly basis and that’s why we didn’t hesitate to have her kick a long field goal.
“I am proud of her, and I hope she is proud of herself because she waited a long time for this, and this is just the tip of the iceberg for her.”
Your author wrote extensively about Elliott’s journey to the football team at SFU back in an August 2019 story for Varsity Letters entitled ‘Do You Believe in Kristie Elliott’.
In short, the 2018 graduate of North Vancouver’s Windsor Secondary came to SFU as a hurdler on the track team, but on Halloween Day of that year, made a bet with a player on the football team that she could kick a 40-yard field goal.
She won the money despite kicking in a pair of skateboard shoes, prompting her to wonder if she had a shot at making the team.
Too shy to approach then-head coach Thomas Ford, she asked her friend Sophie Klassen, a member of the SFU basketball team, to make the first foray on her behalf.
Before she knew it, Ford, now offensive quality control coach with the Washington Huskies, had extended her an invitation to training camp.
The rest, by Saturday, had truly become history.
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