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Kindred's Paul Olson commits to Bison men's track less than 2 weeks after 1st high school varsity meet

Kindred High School senior Paul Olson has committed to North Dakota State for men's track and field.

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Kindred senior Paul Olson soars over 6 feet, 8 inches at an indoor track meet earlier this season to set a school record in that event. Olson has committed to North Dakota State for men's track and field.
John Gulleson / Special to The Forum

KINDRED, N.D. — Kindred senior Paul Olson is best known for his high-flying exploits for the Vikings boys basketball team and his primary spring sport has been boys golf, but Olson is going Division I in another sport.

Earlier this week, Olson verbally committed to North Dakota State for men’s track and field, less than two weeks after he competed in his first varsity high school track meet.

His NCAA D-I track recruitment was as sudden as one of his drives to the basket on the hardwood.

“Things blew up a lot faster than probably what we were expecting,” Kindred head track coach Josh Allmaras said. “He has a very high ceiling. There’s so much more room for improvement with him right now.”

Olson decided to go out for track this spring for the first time during his high school career and competed in only three meets before he committed to NDSU. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Olson expects to be a decathlete for the Bison. At the beginning of his senior year at Kindred, Olson didn’t expect college track was in his future.

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“It was a little surprising because I’ve always thought I was going to try to play basketball in college,” said Olson, who is an all-state performer in both basketball and golf. “It pretty much would have been a total surprise. I would have not guessed that at the beginning of the year. Things change I guess.”

Olson’s track career started with him clearing 6 feet, 8 inches at the Thundering Herd Classic on April 2 at NDSU. That performance gave Olson the school’s indoor record in the high jump in his first-ever varsity meet. Kindred's outdoor high jump record is 6-9. Soon after that record-setting performance, Olson visited NDSU and then committed to the Bison this week. He expects to sign his letter of intent next week.

“It was a little hard to decide to step away from basketball, but I think this will be the right path for me,” said Olson, who has set multiple Kindred indoor track records this spring. “I’ve always kind of wanted to go to NDSU anyways and then when the track thing came up it just felt right.”

Olson has played for a Class B state title basketball team and two Class B state championship golf teams during his career with the Vikings. He finished in fifth place at the Class B state boys golf meet last spring.

Olson considered golf his primary sport heading into this spring season.

“I kind of decided before the season golf was going to be my primary, but we’ll see how that works out,” Olson said. “I’ll find a balance, find days to go to track, find days to go to golf, and then try to get in all the meets I can for both sports.”

Kindred boys golf coach Perry Piatz said Olson is a gifted athlete.

“He can do anything he pretty much sets his mind to,” Piatz said. “He’s the best kid you’ll ever meet.”

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Kindred senior Paul Olson, left, has committed to North Dakota State for men's track and field.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Olson earned Class B second-team, all-state honors during his senior basketball season, helping the Vikings advance to the state title game for a second consecutive season. He helped the Vikings win the Class B state basketball title his junior season. He’s also been on Kindred’s boys golf team since seventh grade.

Olson has wanted to try track and field in the past, but it didn’t materialize for various reasons. That changed this spring and now he’s headed to a Division I track program.

“I’ve wanted to do it for a couple years, but it never worked out with golf and AAU (basketball) season,” Olson said. “I never really had time to do it.”

Olson has competed in two indoor meets and one outdoor meet this season, participating in sprints, high jump and long jump. Allmaras coaches Olson in sprinting events and Kindred assistants Glenn Grommesh and Kylie Grommesh have coached Olson in jumping events.

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Kindred senior Paul Olson celebrates after clearing the high jump bar at a recent indoor track meet. Olson has committed to North Dakota State for men's track and field.
John Gulleson / Special to The Forum

“He’s a smart kid, he’s hard working, he’s very coachable and those are traits that are going to bode well for him at NDSU,” Allmaras said.

Olson cleared 6-7 in his lone outdoor meet and that ranks second on the school's all-time list. His goal coming into the season was to clear 6-8 in the high jump, but he’s already soared over that mark.

“I kind of got to change that,” Olson said. “I think 7-feet would be pretty cool.”

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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