Dickinson High senior Jess Herauf is a great volleyball player and a good basketball talent. But she knows her athletic future lies in track and field.
Herauf said Tuesday she intends to become a heptathlete at the college level and wants to do so in the Big Ten. She has made an official visit to Minnesota and plans to visit Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Herauf won the Class A state championship in the javelin with a toss of 139 feet, 6 inches at the state meet in May. She was third in the 300 hurdles (45.76 seconds) and fourth in the discus (127-10). She also anchored Dickinson to a runner-up finish in the 1,600 relay, where the Midgetsâ€™ time of 4:05.05 was less than a half-second behind champion Grand Forks Red River.
Her championship-winning javelin throw would have been good enough to finish in the top 24 at the NCAA Division I national championships. At the NAIA level, Herauf would have missed All-American status by 16 inches and finished ninth at the national championships.
Jay Schobinger, the Midgetsâ€™ head volleyball coach and the co-head track and field coach, said Herauf is one of the best athletes he has ever coached and believes she would also fare well in the high jump, triple jump, long jump and 400 open, should she choose to participate in those at a state or regional event.
In volleyball, Herauf broke Katelyn Steffanâ€™s school record for career kills earlier this year and has 1,776 heading into the Class A state volleyball tournament.
In basketball, the 5-foot-9 forward averaged 16.5 points and 7.3 rebounds a game as a junior and was an all-state second team selection. Look for her to move up to first team this season if she stays healthy.
Herauf was initially getting looks from North Dakota State, among others, for basketball. But her father, T.J. Herauf, said most schools seemed to cool on her when it began looking like she belonged in track and field.
Still, itâ€™s hard not to wonder what she could do in other sports.
Former Dickinson State volleyball coach Dave Moody believes Herauf, who leads Dickinson with 555 digs despite playing a front-row position, would make an excellent libero â€” or defensive specialist â€” at the Division I level. Schobinger agrees and said she could probably play setter too.
But track is where sheâ€™ll likely end up, and for good reason. Pete Stanton, DSUâ€™s track and field coach who guided the Blue Hawk men to three consecutive national championships in 2004, 2005 and 2006, has said in the past that Herauf is a natural heptathlete at the college level and that her ability to throw the javelin makes her an extremely valuable recruit in the eyes of college coaches.