Jeff Kolpack, Published May 13 2010
College track: Bison decathletes nationally rankedWeston Leutz is the son of a former North Dakota State track and field standout and was a highly recruited prep athlete at Bismarck Century. As a redshirt freshman at NDSU, he qualified for the IAAF World Junior Championships in the decathlon.
Ted Rud, meanwhile, came from a small town in Minnesota who hardly ran a race in high school. They came from opposite backgrounds. They now have similar stories.
Both are nationally ranked in the decathlon heading into The Summit League Championships starting today in Toledo, Ohio. And if NDSU is going to reclaim its outdoor title of two years ago, a good start from the likes of the decathletes would help.
“I feel like we have to come back this year and put it together,” Leutz said.
Leutz and Rud have put it together in the 10-event decathlon, feeding off each other often in workouts. And even in meets.
After Rud failed to register a qualifying mark in the pole vault at the Mt. SAC Relays in California, thus putting him out of contention, he could have ended his competition. But he decided to pace Leutz in the 1,500-meter run.
It helped Leutz post a Summit-high 7,290 combined points. It was a team aspect of track and field that Rud didn’t have in high school at New York Mills.
“I thought I could use my experience and I was more than happy to help the team out,” Rud said.
Both are on the bubble in qualifying for the NCAA Championships, which takes the top 24 in the decathlon. Leutz will have to perform this weekend despite plantar fasciitis in his foot.
He’s been wearing a protective boot this week to try and rest the injury.
“When it comes to it, when I get in the blocks, there’s no pain,” Leutz said.
Rud was better known in western Minnesota in high school as a basketball player. In fact, NDSU multi-events coach Stevie Keller watched him on the court and envisioned a track athlete.
“He was really physical and really athletic,” Keller said. “We made a good choice in getting him.”
Now a senior, he set a personal record in the decathlon this spring by over 500 points.
“I’ve seen him progress by leaps and bounds,” Leutz said. “The thing about Ted: he’s a small-town kid and if he gets the passion for something, he’s going to work really hard at it and that’s what he does. He gets stuff done.”
NDSU athletes ranked No. 1 in The Summit League heading into this week’s conference meet in Toledo, Ohio:
- Weston Leutz: 110 hurdles, decathlon
- Eric Stroh, 800 meters
- Scott Johnson: hammer throw
- Travis Fitzke: 3,000 meters
- Jeramy Geditz: high jump
- Kevin Jackson: 100 meters
- Whitney Carlson: 100 hurdles, 400 hurdles, long jump, heptathlon
- Ashley Tingelstad: 100, 200
- Toni Tollefson: high jump
- Christine Bruins: 800
- Leslie Brost: pole vault
- Lauren Rice: 3,000
Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546