Athlete of the week: Jane Kallemeyn, Elk River, Nordic Ski: Ski’s, spikes & spirit

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Jane Kallemeyn arrived easily at her choices of cross country, Nordic Skiing and track as her high school sports.

“I’m not very good when I throw a ball or kick a ball,” said the cheerful, durable Elk River senior leader, “but when I’m on skis or just on my legs, then I can do pretty well.”

Another factor:  “I just follow the Kallemeyn legacy,” she smiled. Her sibs John and Mary were Elk standouts in the same sports.

Jane Kallemeyn has made all-conference 3 times in skiing, twice in cross country and once in track. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

“She is a Kallemeyn. All the Kallemeyns have natural talent and they all work hard,” said Mike Niziolek, who coached all of them in cross country.

The third and last Kallemeyn has been lettering since seventh or eighth grade in each sport and has earned six all-conference awards. She has gone to state  three times in cross country as a team qualifier including the state championship year of 2009. She’s gone  once in Nordic Ski individually, and once in track, helping the Elks qualify in true-team last year.

The 5-foot-9, 135-pound Kallemeyn churned to her third all-NWSC award in skiing Wednesday, placing 17th among 110 in the conference meet. She was 21st as a sophomore and  seventh last year. At sectionals last year she came in 11th to qualify for state, where was 90th among 120.

“Jane is so much the heart of the team,” said coach Kirsten Anderson. “She is focused, and driven, and fun. She really helps motivate the girls. I would agree with Mike that she is a cornerstone person on a team. We will miss her next year.”

In cross country, Kalle-meyn was part of not only the state champ team but also a fourth-place team last fall and an 11th-place team her freshman year.

“We knew we were a good team but it was so much fun to  see all the hard work actually pay off,” said Kallemeyn about 2009. “And this year, we lost Emma Bates but we still had a great team.”

Kallemeyn ran the race of her life at sectionals her junior year at Duluth when she was fifth overall and third on the team (behind all-staters Bates and Abbi Aspengren). That’s the meet that convinced the Elks they could be state champions.

At the state at Northfield, Niziolek needed Kall-emeyn for a different role, running mid-pack with Victoria Janasz to marshall their swifter junior high teammates, a strategy they executed beautifully. “I had to set the pace, and at a certain mark let the the girls know that if they could pass us they should go now,” said Kallemeyn.

Kallemeyn made all-NWSC with 13th- and 20th-place finishes the last two years.  At state, among 156 runners, she  placed 108th in ninth grade, 88th  with the championship team, and 142nd as a senior.

“Jane K is one of Elk River’s most prominent CC runners of all time,” said Niziolek “She’s one of only two people to go to state team three times, along with Emma. She was a critical role player. She made things happen. She helped younger teammates become better runners than she was. Not every girl would do that.”

In track, Kallemeyn helped the Elks win the NWSC and section true-team titles last year. She ran on the first-place 4-by-800 team at conference, and at true-team sectionals was 7th in the 1600 and 8th in the 3200. In 10th grade she was 5th in the 1600 at conference and 3rd in the 3200 at sections.

That’s a lot of miles traveled on spikes and ski’s.

“I’ve been running and skiing for six years now and it’s the same thing over and over, but if I could do it over again I’d still run and ski,” said Kallemeyn, who plans to continue running in college.

The Kallemeyn scorecard

Jane Kallemeyn

Personal file – Age: 18 … Family: parents Dave and Katie; brother John, 24; sister Mary, 22 … Sports: cross country, Nordic Skiing, track … Other activities: National Honor Society, Link, Spanish Club … Academics: 3.685 GPA … College plans: probably UM-Duluth, probably elementary education, plans to run

Favorite stuff – Clases: drawing, math, jewelry … TV show: “Friends” … Reading: “Runners World” magazine … Food: anything with pasta, and bread …. Drink: milk, water … Athlete: Kari Goucher … Kickback activities: hiking, skiing, camping … Place she’d like to visit: Europe

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