Runner overcomes delay to fulfill Jackrabbit dream

Marshall Minihan, Sports Reporter

Jared Wipf was in high school in the small town of Tea when the pandemic started, which ended up canceling the track and field season in his senior year.

It was a development that put his future at stake.

Wipf started running track and field in high school, and he quickly grew to be a talented runner for the Tea Area Titans. He ran the 100-meter dash, the 4×100 and the 4×200 meter relay races in high school and placed at a state meet.

Wipf’s favorite event to run in high school was the 4×100 relay because he considered it to be “less stressful” compared to the other events he has competed in.

Wipf wanted to attend South Dakota State University because he felt it was where he was meant to be.

“It was my calling,” Wipf said. 

But because of the pandemic, not only was his senior track season canceled, but so was his dream to run at SDSU, since he wasn’t able to improve his times from the season before.

Wipf decided to try his luck as a walk-on at South Dakota State, but because of roster limitations and mandates, he didn’t make the cut. Because of these roster limits, the SDSU track team couldn’t tell how good he really was.

Wipf began thinking that maybe running at next level wasn’t for him, but luckily he had a strong support system.  It was not only his mother who convinced him to keep trying, but also his former trainer who “lit the fire” that pushed him to persevere.

Seeking the best option to continue running, Wipf decided to take his talents just 40 minutes southwest of South Dakota State to the Division II school of Dakota State University in Madison.

In his first meet running for the Trojans, he placed third with a quick time of 7.17 seconds in the indoor 60-meter dash. By the last indoor meet of the season, he dropped his 60-meter time down by .14 seconds to 7.03.

Being told he couldn’t be on the SDSU track team incentivized him to keep getting better so that one day he could run for the Jackrabbits.

Rod DeHaven, the director of the track and field programs at SDSU, said Wipf’s decision to run at DSU was a key, because “it gave him the times to make it here.”

The coach also credited Wipf’s work ethic and how he chooses to spend his time outside of practice for helping the athlete become a better runner.

After a semester at DSU, Wipf transferred to South Dakota State University spring 2021 and recently finished his first indoor season. For his outstanding performances, he was awarded the Summit League Athlete of the Week in early February. Wipf also placed first in the men’s 60-meter dash in the Summit League Indoor Track and Field Championships for the ‘22 indoor season.

Track and field has impacted Wipf in many ways.

“It has helped me physically, mentally and spiritually,” Wipf said. “Putting myself into these tough situations has really helped bring me closer to God.”

Track has also given Wipf many friendships with different teammates and coaches. Though track is traditionally an individual sport, Wipf has been lucky enough to be in one of the few team relay events. He enjoys the bonding and chemistry that he has made throughout his years of running.

DeHaven says that Wipf’s impact on the team has not only come from the points he scores at the meets, but also from his work ethic and his ability to work well with his fellow Jackrabbit runners.

Though Wipf has achieved what he dreamed about in making the SDSU team, he still thinks he has a lot left to prove and can be an example to others.