Sports Spotlight on Jake Leingang | VideoScott Westerberg | 8/17/2011
At first glance it might appear as though Jake Leingang has always loved to run, but that certainly wasn`t the case his freshman year, "Right away I wasn`t sure about it," Jake says, "The coaches kept calling me to get me out. I kept trying it, and I thought one more time and finally got like, `oh, maybe I should do this,` and it started after my freshman year of cross."
Darrell Anderson is the Demons Co-Head Coach, "He wasn`t sure he wanted to be here. He liked to race. He liked to compete. You could see that, but the whole practice thing everyday and the minutes it takes and the commitment to the program. I think at first he was a little reluctant, but once he started to race I think he got his fire."
Just two year later Leingang is already a highly decorated cross country and track runner, winning a cross country state championship and back-to-back titles in the 3200 meters. That success at the state level has propelled Jake into the national spotlight. In 2010, Leingang finished second in the country in the Freshman Elite Mile at the New Balance National Championships and was also a member of the 4 x 800 team that finished third best in the nation. Then in June, Leingang placed 7th in the national 2 mile with the fastest time any North Dakota high schooler has ever run, "That`s the great part of this sport when you can advance to that kind of a meet," Anderson says, "That`s what all these days of practice are for."
In an effort to keep maximizing his potential, Leingang has turned to another sport to help make him an even better runner, "This is the first year I started swimming. Coaches wanted me to try something different, cross-training, a little break from always running."
All and all, not a bad couple years for someone who needed a little convincing that running was for him, "Right away I really didn`t like it," Leingang recalls, "but it gets easier and easier once you get used to it, and it`s not as hard as people think. Once you get used to it, it`s not that bad."
Which is a scary thought for those running against Leingang his last two years at Bismarck High. The Demons open up their state title defense at the Becky Wells Invitational in Dickinson.
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