NOTE: This story appears in the January issue of the Heart River Voice, of which I am a contributing sports feature writer.
Kaden Kuntz was only 10 years old when when he began to understand he had the gift of speed.
He had qualified for the Hershey National Junior Olympic Championships in two events, the 50 and 100 meters. He chose to run the 50 meters and became national runner-up.
The Dickinson Trinity High School senior said that was “the first time I realized I had some speed behind me.”
Kuntz hasn’t slowed down since.
Today, he can make a legitimate claim to being the fastest high school athlete in North Dakota.
He’s the reigning Class B state champion in the 100 and 200 meters — last spring, he clocked the state’s fastest 100 time in three years — and also won the long jump title. He was the catalyst for the Trinity boys winning their first track and field state championship since 2006, and figures to put them in the title hunt again this spring.
“He’s probably one of the best track athletes we’ve had in a long time,” Trinity track and field head coach Craig Kovash said.
Not only that, Kuntz’s speed and abilities on the football field helped him earn him Class A senior athlete of the year honors as he helped the Titans to the state semifinals. Just before Christmas, he signed to play college football for North Dakota State University.
Along with his athletic success, Kuntz’s coaches said he’s a standout in the classroom and has embraced a sense of leadership during his senior year.
“Not just his athleticism, but his leadership skills for setting an example for all those kids around him,” Trinity head football coach John Odermann said. “I can’t say how proud of I am of the young man he’s become and the example he sets for the underclassmen.”