WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Ohio Valley native, actress, physical therapist and TEAM USA dual athlete Kristen Hetzel is passionate about her work.  

“I love our country. I love our military. And it’s always been my dream to represent the U.S. in competitions so be able to do a sport that I love for my country is the greatest thing. It’s really the greatest honor I can do, said Hetzel.”

And Kristen’s hard work has certainly paid off. Just recently she was awarded All American Honors for her 2019 race season.  

“It’s a great feeling to have these dreams and to see it through and to reach my goals. I’ve always been a big dreamer, ever since I was in high school, even before that and I’ve never listened to other people in the sense that you always have people who think your dream is too big.. So I just had this vision of what I wanted and I stayed on that path until I reached my goals, said Hetzel.”

Due to the pandemic, most of Kristen’s race season has been canceled except for the national championship, allowing her to aim for her latest goal.  

“I got the silver medal last year and I really want the gold metals so I’m all in training for that to achieve that.”    

There’s no doubt that Kristen has accomplished so much in life from being a star athlete to staring in commercials but it’s really the memories here at Wheeling Central and in the Ohio Valley that she will forever cherish.

“I’m so proud to be from the Ohio Valley and really excited too, in October, I’m getting inducted into the Wheeling Central athletic hall of fame so I’ll be coming back to Wheeling and I’m really excited to be a part of that and honored to be inducted.” 

Kristen wants to thank those in the Ohio Valley for continuing to follow her journey.