Student-athletes spend the majority of their time at college practicing or traveling with their teammates. So much time spent with a team can lead to strong bonds in friendships as well as romantic relationships.
A lucky few USD alumni met their significant other through athletics. Four recent graduates, all athletes at USD, met their current partner during college. These couples have been together for most of their college careers and one couple has recently gotten married.
Dustin and Sam
Dustin Valind and Sam Shutt are a dating couple who graduated from USD in the spring of 2017. While at USD, Valind was a thrower on the track team and Shutt was a swimmer. The couple now lives west of the twin cities in Chanhassen, Minn.
They met at what they said is a common hangout for USD athletes – the all-you-can-eat pasta night at Whimp’s Place in Burbank, SD.
“We had mutual friends, and I was going to Whimp’s with my roommate and he was going with some guys and they were all throwers, so as you can imagine, they eat a lot,” Shutt said. “We ended up sitting at the same table eating together”
Shutt and Valind have been together for almost two years. Shutt is a marketing analyst, and Valind is an entrepreneur who started three companies in Minnesota, including a health supplements company.
Shutt said her favorite thing about her time at USD was the kind and welcoming environment.
“USD was pretty life-changing for me. My favorite memory was from the first time I came to campus when I wasn’t a student yet,” Shutt said. “I’m from a big city, so Vermillion was very different. It was the first time I had ever had someone say hi to me that I didn’t know and I was just floored.”
Shutt said in a college relationship, it’s important to “remember you’re two different people” and to make time for friends.
“I think a lot of times, especially in college, when you have the freedom to spend as much time as you want together, that people give up their friend and their identities,” she said. “That person is dating you for who you are, not because you are exactly like them.”
Valind said it’s important to have someone he can always talk to.
“I know that I always have Sam there to talk to, about anything,” he said.
Kyle and Anelise
Kyle and Anelise Mckelvey were both members of the track team during their time at USD. The couple started dating in 2012 and have been married for a year and a half. Kyle works as a performance coach in Yankton, and Anelise works from home for a marketing agency in Dallas.
Kyle said the couple met when they both won the Summit League incomer of the year award for men’s and women’s track.
“So, we were up there getting our little plaque and it doesn’t happen very often for two people from the same school to win that award,” Kyle said. “So, we were taking pictures with our coaches and I just said, ‘hey good job’ and that’s how we met.”
The two athletes started getting closer when they both made it to the first round of nationals in Austin, Texas.
“Kyle wanted to go on a bicycle carriage ride, there were these people pulling carriages on their bikes, and I thought he was kidding because he’s a shot putter so he’s a pretty big guy,” Anelise said. “So, we paid this guy like 10 bucks to carry us back to the group.”
Kyle said that carriage ride is where he first “put the moves on.”
Anelise said their relationship is successful because they continue to make each other laugh.
“Always keep each other laughing, I feel like we are always goofing around, we literally are always laughing at each other and I think some people forget that,” Anelise said.