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Eric Peterson, Published May 22 2013

Cobbers senior Jensen hopes to add to family's legacy

Moorhead - When Kaari Jensen walks by the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame wall – which is in the Offutt Concourse – one of the plaques always grabs her eye.

Her father, Mark Jensen, is a former Concordia great in wrestling and football.

“I see his picture and smile,” said Kaari, who is a senior on the Cobbers women’s track team.

Mark was inducted into the school’s athletic Hall in 1996. In the 1970s, he was an All-America wrestler and part of a national championship football team.

“He’s really talented,” Kaari said with a smile.

Kaari has carved out her own Concordia legacy, setting a school record in the heptathlon. She has the second-best score in that event heading into the Division III Outdoor Championships, which start today in La Crosse, Wis.

Kaari finished fourth at outdoor nationals in the heptathlon last spring, earning All-America honors. She is a two-time Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion in that event.

“I’m proud of her as a parent,” said Mark, who is a tennis and wrestling coach in Pierz, Minn. “She’s worked awfully hard for her successes.”

This spring has been a challenge for Jensen, with limited outdoor training and competition due to poor weather.

Having to train inside was physically hard on Jensen, along with having to deal with hamstring issues and shin splints.

“I know her body was ready to be outdoors,” said Cobbers coach Garrick Larson. “There is only so much you can do with indoor track. I know it was hard for her.”

Jensen has been around athletics for as long as she can remember.

Her mom, Karla, is a longtime track and tennis coach in Pierz.

“I was always at sporting events growing up,” Kaari said.

Jensen was a standout athlete in basketball, tennis and track at Pierz. She has three older sisters, including one who was also a multi-event athlete at Concordia.

“It’s kind of the end of an era for our family,” Mark said of his youngest daughter completing here college athletic career.

Kaari set the Concordia record in the heptathlon last spring with 4,829 points. Her best effort in the event this season is 4,760 points.

Kaari said her proudest moment to this point of her career was earning All-America status last spring and having her entire family there to enjoy the moment.

Another big weekend and Kaari could find herself next to her dad on the wall in the Offutt Concourse.

“Hopefully, if I’m an All-American again, I can maybe be on that wall,” Kaari said. “I want to be next to my dad on that wall someday.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com