Keller’s Dalquist advances to regionals, excels as team leader

04/21/2014 12:22 PM

04/22/2014 2:48 PM

It is always great to see an athlete succeed, but when that athlete is also humble and hard working, it makes the success a lot sweeter. Keller runner Austen Dalquist embodies both of those traits as he efficiently balances athletics and academics.

“He is the hardest worker I have ever had,” said coach Brian Zaring, who also coaches Dalquist in cross-country. “He just has lots of God-given talent, is extremely humble and is a great leader.” Dalquist also works with head track coach Billy Overshown during track season.

Voted by his teammates as one of the two boys track and field team captains, Dalquist takes his position seriously.

“I like my leadership role, and that people respect me as a person and for my knowledge of the sport,” he said. “It means a lot that they listen to what I have to say and would like to see me lead them.”

While most of the team is older, Dalquist still has the opportunity to mentor some of the younger runners.

“There is a sophomore, Carter Persyn, that won the JV division 1,600 and 3,200 with times right along pace with where Austen was at that age,” Zaring said. “Austen has really shown Carter what it takes to be successful; the energy, effort and hard work it takes to be one of the best runners.”

Dalquist placed first in both of his events at the District 3-4 Area Track and Field Championship last week in Coppell. In the 1,600-meter his time was 4:09.71 and his 3,200-meter time was 9:01.37. Advancing to regionals is nothing new for the senior.

“Because I went to regionals last year, I know what it takes and I’m not really taking anything for granted,” he said. “I have been through it before and experienced some failure, and that has motivated me to advance.”

Dalquist is motivated academically as well. He is an officer in the National Honor Society and was recently named a Faculty Top-Ten by his teachers. His hard work on and off of the track has paid off. Dalquist will be running for the University of Arkansas next year.

Zaring said he sees the difference in Dalquist since he made his college commitment.

“There is no way to be more focused, but I think it has made him more relaxed,” Zaring said. “Being more relaxed in his running makes him even faster.”

Dalquist is looking forward to the opportunity.

“Making my college commitment has motivated me more,” he said. “I am blessed to have the opportunity to run at the next level. But right now I am just trying to run and sleep and study.”

As he heads to Lubbock next week for the regional meet, Dalquist will be one of a handful of Indians making the trip, far different than district meets when he is surrounded by his entire team.

“It helps to have all my teammates there but I know a bunch, if not all, of the other runners and I have a good support system,” he said. “We don’t hate each other, we just race each other.”

As for the rest of his final high school season, Dalquist is enjoying the ride.

“It is great knowing that all of the hard work I put in is worth it,” he said. “It’s fun to see my teammates excel. I’m with those guys every day and I’m really enjoying it.”

The Class 5A-Region 1 track and field spring meet will be held April 25-26 at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

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