GC Athlete of the Week: Chelsea Gilles

Image by Jen Brakenhoff

Written and Media by Jen Brakenhoff.


Image by Jen Brakenhoff
Image by Jen Brakenhoff

Breaking records, placing at Nationals, and ranking second in the nation in the 400; what can’t Chelsea Gilles do?  Greenville College’s very own Chelsea Gilles has set multiple records in her track career and is only a junior. Gilles has recently been ranked second in the nation in Division III for the 400-meter race and just recently placed second at the indoor track nationals.  She grew up in the town of Groveland, IL and has been running track since seventh grade. Gilles came to Greenville because of track while also looking at the physical education program they offered, which is her current major.

The passion every athlete has for their sport is inspiring, but the way Chelsea explained her love for track was unique. She explains, “I love it because it is both a team sport and an individual sport. You are affected by your teammates but you also get to work really hard on your own personal goals. I really enjoy getting to know different people.” Greenville College is a very relationship and faith-centered college, which is something that attracted Gilles to the school. When she first got a letter from Greenville College, she decided to visit and found a small and friendly community that she wanted to be a part of.

The Greenville College track program is much different than any program she has ever been a part of.  Gilles describes, “It’s really Christ-centered. Our coach is a really great spiritual leader. We pray every day before practice and really center on that. Track is obviously really important but we are focusing on other things that are going to last after track ends.”

Gilles is suffering from an injury which could keep her from competing in the 2016 season, but her

Image by LPN Media
Image by LPN Media

positivity is inspiring. She remains optimistic as she states some of her goals for the season. Gilles wants the girls’ team to win conference this year and would love to be able to compete at indoor nationals and hopefully at outdoor nationals again.

After asking Gilles about some of her favorite memories, it was evident that she is extremely humble. One of her favorite memories is watching her fellow teammate, Rachel Renshaw, run the 800.  The entire team cheered Renshaw on and was at the finish line waiting for her. She loves how supportive her entire team is for everyone. She went on to explain how it is really uplifting to be able to be excited for a teammate even if you are having a bad day. “That is what makes track different. There will always be someone who has a bad day but there will always be someone who has a great day. This gives you the chance to be excited for someone else other than yourself,” adds Gilles.

Every athlete has someone that they look up to but Gilles has several people that are constantly supporting her and pushing her to be better. One mentor is her high school coach who texts her about her times and gives her helpful tips. A few other mentors are a couple of her teammates. Trey Manning continuously pushes her to be better and to never give up, and her lifting partner, Rachel Renshaw, is always by her side motivating her.

Image by Jen Brakenhoff
Image by Jen Brakenhoff

Gilles has made so many accomplishments throughout her time at Greenville College and we expect to see more as she has two seasons left. She has set the indoor and outdoor 400 record, indoor 300 and 500 record, indoor 4×200 record, placed 11th at the Division III Nationals in the 400, placed second in indoor Christian Nationals, and is currently ranked second in Division III nationals in the 400. She is so talented but gives so much credit to her teammates who have constantly supported her. She says, “I really bought into the program which included working really hard in lifting, conditioning, and summer workouts. It’s really nice to see all the hard work pay off.”

Stay on the lookout as Chelsea Gilles becomes faster and stronger. We have seen so much greatness from Greenville’s track and field and are excited to see all of the future accomplishments to be made by the entire team.


  1. Jen , You are starting to get really good at this…however did you notice your first sentence where you used a semi-colon ? You may want confirm that is the proper usage of that punctuation mark?

  2. Chelsea is the kind of young woman any parent would be glad to have. It may seem impossible, but she is an even better person than she is an athlete. What a girl!

  3. My Goodness, Chelsea. What a fine record. Congratulations! You are a wonderful athlete, and just as wonderful a person, in every way. I am so honored to have you as my granddaughter! You will be a senior next fall. How very proud your Granpa would be. I know that he is with you, cheering you on!

    Much love, and wishing you continued success in track and ALL you do. Love,


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