UMD's Niemann Chooses Track, Decathlon

By KBJR News 1

April 18, 2013 Updated Apr 18, 2013 at 2:50 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Most high school athletes hope to play one sport in college. But the University of Minnesota-Duluth's (UMD) Ben Niemann? He wanted to play two.

"I came to Duluth wanting to play football and run track, but it was too much to do both sports on top of being an engineering major so I chose just to do track," Niemann said. "I chose one of the longer events to do in track and one of the hardest to train for, but in the end it's been a good choice, and I've loved it."

Niemann then made the choice to be a decathlete, competing in ten events over two days. It's a decision that some people call crazy.

"We like to spend a lot of time working out and training and all of that so we are pretty crazy," Niemann said.

Crazy or not, Niemann says the feeling he gets before a race is unlike anything else.

"You get into the blocks, and you're two seconds before the gun goes off, and then you go. It's all of that adrenaline. It's the best experience that I could possibly feel right now," Niemann said.

Niemann is originally from Greeley, Colorado, but after his four years spent here in Duluth, he says he wouldn't want to be anything other than a Bulldog.

"I've loved every moment of it," Niemann said. "We have a really good team this year, and I'm hoping to score at least more points than I did last year. And our team, I know we can do some great things."

That's at least in part thanks to Niemann, who head coach Paul Nisius is glad to have around.

"He's just a great guy to have on the team," Nisius said. "It's going to be tough to see him go once he graduates because of the leadership he's shown the past few years."

While Niemann's career at UMD as a decathlete will be over in a few months, one thing is for sure: he'll never stop running.

"I'll always like to keep it in my life if I can. I love the sport."

Posted by Sarah Wheeler