Tom Mix, Published May 21 2013
Larson ready for one last meet before heading to D-I Nebraska
Next month, Larson departs for Lincoln, Neb., where red and white are the trendy colors. Larson is enrolled in summer courses at the University of Nebraska and also will begin preparing for her first collegiate volleyball season with the Huskers.
But before Larson makes her exodus from North Dakota, one last prep athletic event remains on her calendar.
Larson, who also played volleyball and basketball at North, is set to close out her decorated prep sports career at the Class A state track and field meet on Friday and Saturday at the Community Bowl in Bismarck.
“It is crazy to think that this will be my sixth state track meet,” Larson said. “I have been competing in track since seventh grade, and when you are young, you always think that the last one is so far away, but for it to actually be here is weird. It really came here in the blink of an eye.”
Larson is entered to compete in the high jump, an event that she has won three state titles in, as well as the anchor legs of North’s 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter relays.
Last spring, Larson made school history by becoming the first Spartans girls track athlete to win state titles in four events. Even more impressive was the fact she did it all in one day, switching between the high jump and the relays.
“Kira has always been motivated with track,” North girls head coach Aaron Walker said. “That’s never an issue with her. She is a talented athlete, but she has worked every bit as hard as her talent. She shows up to work, and at meets, she flips that switch on.”
Entering Friday, Larson has won seven state track and field titles.
“I’m looking forward to the meet,” Larson said. “Hopefully we have some good weather, and I’ll be ready to go out and compete for the last time.”
North’s volleyball and basketball teams fell short of qualifying for state, which were disappointing experiences for Larson.
“It was hard not to go to state in volleyball and basketball, and for that to happen in my senior year … that really hits hard,” Larson said. “I like to use struggles in my career as motivation, so I’m using that as my motivator to finish it out right.”
Despite the abbreviated spring, Larson has had a standout season on the track.
Larson tied her unofficial state record in the high jump last Saturday, leaping above the bar at 5 feet, 9 inches during the East Region meet. North also won the 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter relays at the East Region meet and enter state with the fastest seed times in all three events.
Official state records can only be set at the state meet in North Dakota and the state-meet record in the Class A girls high jump is 5-8¼ set by former Mandan standout Cindy Leingang in 1993.
Larson’s best mark at a state meet came last year when she cleared 5-8.
“In the back of my mind it is always there,” Larson said of the state record. “But right now, I’m just going to go out there and compete and do the best I can. If I don’t hit that mark, then I don’t. As long as I go into the meet and give it all I have, I won’t have any regrets.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562