From four AAs to Minot State’s Mr. Beaver

Four AA batteries and a lack of basketball camps for the third grade led to the following list;

USTFCCCA All-Academic Athlete

NSIC All-Academic Team of Excellence for outdoor track and field

NSIC All-Academic Team of Excellence for indoor track and field

Fall 2022 President’s List

Spring 2023 President’s List

Another accolade to add to that list is the 2024 MSU Mr. Beaver, given to the male athlete who embodies the epitome of academic and athletic representation. Senior cross country / track and field athlete Jacob Jensen is that model student-athlete this year.

“Math was my favorite subject in high school, all through school really,” said Jensen. “I was interested in ‘Computer Engineering’ and focused my search on that vernacular. It wasn’t until I was recruited by MSU’s former coach that I realized that ‘Computer Science’ meant basically the same thing.

The computer science major, math minor has amassed a cumulative grade point average of 3.95 while at MSU for the past four years. He has been part of the Computer Science Club (the current Vice President), participated in Robotics events, was the winner of the Academics Showcase competition in the technology division and built an AI student question Bot with a professor’s voice from the department for his Capstone Project. The Capstone Project, called ‘Scott Bot’ after the professor in question, was presented in a recorded fashion because Jensen was absent from class that day.

He was absent due to the 2024 NSIC Track and Field Tournament. As active and strong as Jensen is in his academic pursuits, he is as stellar on the athletic side of the ‘student-athlete’ moniker.

Those four AA batteries also led to this list;

7th in the 1,500 in 3:53.46 at the NSIC Outdoor Championship

10th in the 5,000 in 14:59.08

4th in the mile in 4:13.07 at the NSIC Indoor Championship

7th in the DMR in 10:18.27

9th in the 3,000 in 8:38.33

PR and Minot State NCAA D-II era record in 3,000 (indoors) of 8:25.41, finishing 6th at the Bison Open

Career-best a Minot State All-Time record in the mile of 4:09.75 indoors at Alex Wilson Invitational

Career-best and Minot State All-Time record in the 5,000 meters indoors of 14:38.79 at the GVSU Holiday Open

Career-best in the 1,000 of 2:33.85 at the Marauders Indoor

The list goes on.

“You can set your watch to the timed consistency that Jacob has day in and day out with the team workouts,” said Steven Schultz, MSU Interim Head Track & Field Coach. “He is the exact type of student-athlete any coach wants. He is an outstanding student and is on task as an athlete.”

That consistency came from family and fundamental skills Jensen developed behind the tutelage of his grandparents in the Turtle Mountain community.

“I loved basketball. My cousins played basketball. In the third grade, there was no basketball camp- but there was a cross country camp,” said Jensen. “I was in that camp. My grandmother had a huge, bulky stopwatch that ran on four AA batteries, with only a ‘start’ and ‘stop’ function. She would time me as I ran up the hill in the backyard and back down over and over again. Around the fifth grade, my time started improving enough that she said I might make it as an athlete yet.”

That family support dynamic was also part of the academic setting, as grandma would ask if his homework was done every day. She has an associates degree and his grandfather had a masters degree. His cousin, Amya Gourneau is a sophomore guard for the MSU women’s basketball team. The family, while not grandiose in approach, is very interested in academic and athletic pursuits.

“I came to MSU for a couple of reasons,” said Jensen. “Not only was the school affordable, and the athletics great, but it was close to home for my grandparents and family to watch a few meets. I really enjoy the class sizes. The biggest class size I have had was 40 or so in my chemistry class. The more intimate sized classes were ideal for me as I love having professional discussions with and getting to know personally my professors here.”

Jensen also enjoyed getting to know people from all across the US as well as international students, exposing him to diverse cultural experiences. His girlfriend is from Chico, northern California and of Hispanic heritage.

“It is very different going to her place for holiday breaks and learning about their family and cultural background,” said Jensen. “I love the trips. My grandma isn’t thrilled about the distance though. If anyone needs an athlete-nerd, I am looking for work now that school is over!”

Jensen will be headed to Eugene, Oregon at the end of this year. His girlfriend has an ‘externship’ for her masters program there before the couple head back to Minot for her to finish her graduate program.

Jensen looks forward to recreational running as opposed to competitive training now.

“Marathons. I wanted to run the Duluth Marathon, but it filled up too fast,” said Jensen. “I will run the Fargo Marathon. I would love to run in each of the ‘Big City’ marathons, New York, Boston… see each city and see what kind of a time I can post.”

Jensen is a competitor to the end.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today