Exercise science major applies classroom knowledge to sport

Author: BHSU Communications/Wednesday, October 31, 2018/Categories: Athletics, Students, Students in the News, Alumni, Athletics, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, 2018

For Keegan Her Many Horses running in the Black Hills to train for track and cross country at Black Hills State University is a link to his ancestors and a path to a career as an athletic trainer.

“I find it amazing that I get to run in the Black Hills - the beauty, the scenery, the tribal history of my people,” says Keegan, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe.

Originally from Ethete, Wyo., on the Wind River Reservation, Keegan will graduate from BHSU this spring with a degree in exercise science. He hopes to stay connected to athletics with his career goal of becoming an athletic trainer.

Keegan says information he learned in his Exercise Physiology class at BHSU has helped him as a cross country and track athlete. He has competed for BHSU at the conference level each year of college.

“We were talking about aerobic and anaerobic metabolisms and energy systems in class and how that applies to exercise. I realized having that knowledge was making me a better athlete because I better understood how the body works at peak performance,” says Keegan.

Exercise science was a good choice of major for Keegan who’s been around sports his whole life. His father, Leo (Chico) Her Many Horses, is a BHSU grad who coached Wyoming Indian cross country teams to 20 state championships. He was inducted into the Yellow Jacket Hall of Fame in 2017.

While Keegan followed in his father’s footsteps when coming to BHSU, there were also other factors that inspired him to become a Yellow Jacket.

“When looking at schools, I decided I didn’t want to be another face in the crowd. I also didn’t want to be the only Native on campus,” says Keegan.

It was the Center for American Indian Studies on campus at BHSU that convinced Keegan to enroll at BHSU. Coming from a small high school where everyone knew each other and supported one another, it was important to Keegan to find a similar support system in college.

The CAIS Center reminded Keegan of home.

“The students and staff helped me whenever I was struggling with studying, or just to talk if I had something on my mind,” says Keegan. “I wouldn’t be doing as good in school as I am now if I went somewhere else for college.”

The annual wacipi (pow wow) sponsored by Lakota Omniciye, the American Indian student organization on campus, is an opportunity for Keegan to actively participate in and share his culture. Keegan grew up dancing in pow wows and, along with attending BHSU, it’s another special connection he shares with father.

When Keegan graduated from high school, his aunts gifted him with new regalia to wear as a Fancy Dancer – one of the most contemporary categories of dance in the Pow Wow world with spins, jumps, and acrobatics. The beadwork design of his new regalia was the same as his father’s design, but with the color red especially for Keegan and new bustles from a family friend.

“The Black Hills was where my people originated, their sacred home,” says Keegan. “I feel so lucky and thankful to live here. I feel like I’m at home.”
 
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