Photo by Hillary Ehlen
Connor Danielson has used his time at North Dakota wisely. Although it’s common for track student-athletes to sit out a season, what he did during his time off is what sets him apart.
Fergus Falls, Minnesota
B.S. in Operations & Supply Chain Management and Economics
1,500-meter: 4:00.35 – Sacramento State MONDO Team Challenge (April 2017)
1 Mile: 4:19.65 – UND Tune-Up (February 2018)
3,000: 8:47.68 – Thundering Herd Classic (January 2018)
5K: 15:06.12 – UND Indoor Tune-Up (January 2018)
Cross Country 8K: 26:05.6 – UND Ron Pynn Classic (October 2015)
Cross Country 10K: 34:20.7 – NCAA Cross Country Midwest Regional (November 2014)
Of the sports offered at North Dakota, three stand out as yearlong commitments with competitions sprinkled throughout the entire school year. While football, hockey and the rest of the sports may train throughout the year, golf, tennis and track are the three that have scheduled competitions from September through April.
Cross country and track are arguably the most grueling. With seven to eight cross country meets from September through November, these distance runners are usually back on the track by February, going toe to toe with the same athletes on the indoor track they saw on the cross country terrain. Then, of course, comes the outdoor season. The competition seemingly never ends.
Connor Danielson is always training for what’s coming next, even if it’s off the track. After running through his first three years at North Dakota at a blistering pace, he took time off to reframe his focus.
In 2017, Danielson spent eight months interning with Bobcat. After the Adidas Steve Scott Invitational in Irvine, California, last April, he packed his bags to get his first real experience in the workforce in Bismarck, North Dakota.
The junior is an Operations & Supply Chain Management and Economics major. His studies aligned with his materials analysis position at Bobcat. Danielson worked with their logistics groups in the warehouse and where the material is sourced. He felt at home overseeing the supply chain.
Danielson is a huge proponent of track and other student-athletes taking internships while in school. Although, track and field students generally have more flexibility when it comes to taking time off. Most members of the track team are at North Dakota for five years. They have four years of eligibility for both indoor and outdoor seasons.
“It was worth it.” – Connor Danielson
“(Dick) Clay already asked me about wanting to redshirt to come back for a fifth season just because that’s how we get the most out of ourselves athletically,” Danielson said, explaining his decision to sit out what was supposed to be his senior year in cross country this past fall. “I was ready to do that so I thought, I might as well get some job experience in the meantime.”
Generally, the student-athlete and coach decide which season they will sit out so they can extend their career and be more effective with more training under their belt.
“It was worth it,” Danielson said. “The whole eight-month thing is a pretty big commitment especially for someone who is used to taking full-time credits but I felt like a full-time employee by the end.”
Many fans have heard or seen the popular NCAA commercial that states 98 percent of student-athletes will go pro in something other than sports. Danielson and many, if not all, of his teammates will fall into this category. So he jumped at the opportunity to build his resume toward the career he’ll go into after school.
“I don’t know where I’ll end up after college,” Danielson said, believing he’s open to all job titles once he finishes his two degrees next year.
Danielson still has another year of eligibility before he tests the professional waters again. He said he was happy to return to the Fighting Hawks this January. It makes the mental grind easier to handle when you have your teammates around, he says.
The Fighting Hawks cross country team finished last at the Big Sky Championship last October. With Danielson returning this fall, he hopes he can provide North Dakota with an extra kick as he takes his final lap with the Fighting Hawks.
2016, Big Sky Winter All-Academic Team
2015, Fall Semester Dean’s List
2015, Big Sky Conference Fall All-Academic Team
2015, Big Sky Conference Winter and Spring team
2014, UND’s Freshman of the Year Award (Cross Country)