Zimmerman’s Ryan Jenson, a senior on the North Dakota State track team, closed his college track career by capturing the Summit League decathlon championship May 16-17 in Muncie, Ind.
“It’s pretty cool being a walk-on and finally taking first,” said Jenson, a fifth-senior who had placed sixth, fifth, fourth and third (three times) in previous conference heptathlons (indoor) and decathlons (outdoor). “It was an amazing experience. It felt really good. A lot of work went into it, and it felt great for it to finally pay off.”
Jenson tallied personal-best 6,789 points as he took the top spot after teammate Andy Lillejord, an indoor All-America, pulled out due to an injury. Jenson recognized it was his time to step up, and after years of finishing behind standout teammates Matt Bishoff, Weston Leutz, Ted Rud and Lillejord, Jenson did just that.
“It was hard knowing Andy wasn’t going to compete, but I knew our younger guys were capable of competing. I think they did pretty well, and I just did what I wanted to do – I got it done,” said Jenson, who’s a construction management major with minor in business administration.
He ran the second-fastest 110 hurdles (15.77) and posted the top marks in the field in the discus, javelin and 1500 run, while pole-vaulting a personal best 14-3 1/4. He also placed fifth in the open javelin, helping the Bison capture their fourth-straight outdoor team championship.
“Winning the decathlon – if it helps our team, that’s really what I’m out here for. I just want the team to win,” Jenson said. “That’s what I’ve been doing for five years – just trying to help the team as much as I can. I’m definitely going to miss competing for the Bison.”
Jenson held the ZHS record in the 300H (41.43) when he graduated. He also played football, basketball and baseball, and helped the Thunder win the 2006-07 conference basketball title.
(Data and quotes taken from NDSU web site report.)