When it comes to sports, Rockford’s Klonne likes to multi-task

Rockford’s Nick Klonne competed in a recent Junior Olympics Decathlon, involving 10 track and field events, including the pole vault. (Submitted photo by Jim Clark)
Rockford’s Nick Klonne competed in a recent Junior Olympics Decathlon, involving 10 track and field events, including the pole vault. (Submitted photo by Jim Clark)

Competes in decathlons, triathlons and iron man competitions


The sport does not matter as long as it involves a challenge for Rockford’s Nick Klonne.

For example, after finishing his junior year at Rockford, Klonne wanted to extend his track and field season so he entered the state Junior Olympic decathlon competition at St. Thomas University.

Klonne finished first in his 17-18 age group even though he was the only one entered. He went against three in the 15-16 age group. It didn’t matter because Klonne was primarily going against himself, taking on several new track events.

The 10-event decathlon takes two days. Events include the 100-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter dash, 1,500-meter run, shot put, discus throw, javelin throw, pole vault, high jump and long jump.

In high school at Rockford, Klonne primarily ran the 800 and 1,600 events, plus did the pole vault for the first time this season. The junior finished seventh in the 1,600 at the section meet this season as well as the year prior. He had never done the javelin throw, hurdles and both throwing events.

Klonne qualified for the regional Junior Olympics meet in Omaha, Nebraska this weekend, but decided not to attend. He will work on the decathlon and hopes to qualify for regions again next year.

So, where does one find a javelin? Rockford pole vault coach Paul Hurda had one because his son used to compete in the sport. The school owns the poles for vaulting.

“The hurdles were my weakest event,” said Klonne. “The decathlon is usually dominated by sprinters. Being a distance runner is uncommon in the sport.”

Klonne learned about the Junior Olympic decathlon three weeks prior, finding it on line. He said, “It sounded interesting so I thought I may as well give it a try and started preparing.”

In place of winter sports in high school, Klonne does winter running outside to train for track. He also does swimming in a pool and has a training bike in his basement.

The reason is that Klonne has signed up to compete in four summer speed triathlons. The first was in St. Cloud where he finished first in his age group and 14th overall in a field of more than 300.

The sprint triathlon involved swimming for a third of a mile in Lake George, a 15 mile bike run and three mile run. The S. Cloud triathlon is part of a Granite Man series that includes events in Big Lake and Clearwater. Series awards are given after the three events. The other sprint triathlon is in Chisago City.

In search of more variety, Klonne signed up for a Half Ironman competition involving swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles and running 13.1 miles. It all takes about five hours, if you finish.

“I love to push myself to new limits to see what I can achieve,” says Klonne about why he likes to multi-task in his sports. “It also is fun to interact with other people who enjoy the same thing.”

Over the years Klonne has played most sports, except lacrosse, hockey and football. He got hooked on running in sixth grade from a friend and started in cross country instead of football. He stopped playing basketball in ninth grade due to knee and ankle problems. He also played soccer and baseball when younger.

With one more year of high school left, Klonne wants to make it in state in the 800 meters. He has not run in the event at sections, choosing to go in the mile instead.

“I got a big head and decided to run in the mile, which is a big deal in track,” adds Klonne. “I had a better chance in the 800, but I liked the challenge of the mile.”