WARNER – Pick a sport and there’s a good chance that Landon Leidholt will excel in it.
From fall through spring, the Warner senior has been a key member of the Monarchs throughout his prep career.
“He is probably my most gifted athlete by far,” said Warner track and field coach Jeff Larson. “I can put him is so many different places and he would succeed. It just so happens that he’s so good in the hurdles. That just eats up a lot of his time and commitment, so it’s hard to get him in other events.”
Leidholt’s resume is more than impressive.
He is a past Most Valuable Player selection in both football and basketball for the Lake Region Conference. He is also one of the state’s premier hurdlers in track and field. In short, there’s little that Leidholt can’t do.
It’s already been a memorable senior season for Leidholt, who helped lead Warner to a runner-up finish in the state football playoffs last fall, powered the Monarchs to the LRC championship in basketball this past winter, and broke a 42-year-old school record in the hurdles in track and field this spring.
He said competing in multiple sports is difficult, but worth it.
“It definitely takes its toll, but the final results is really what I’m working towards,” Leidholt said. “I’m always looking forward to that. In football making it to the state championship; basketball didn’t exactly end the way we wanted it to. Hopefully, in track we get to finish at the state meet and show them what we’ve got, individually and as a team.”
Success does not come by accident. Leidholt has a strong work ethic, according to Larson. However, there is a price to pay going from one sport to the next without much of a break.
“Because he’s so gifted in basketball and football, he gets so much playing time,” Larson said. “He gets to track season and he is banged up. His body is abused. We really have to start him out slow.”
However, once Leidholt gets going, there is no slowing him down. While Leidholt is strong in both hurdles races, he says he prefers the 110-meter high hurdles over the 300-meter intermediate hurdles.
“The 300s is much more of an endurance race,” Leidholt said. “Just running the 300 is not too bad, but then you have the hurdles there. It’s a whole different race.”
Leidholt has had a good mentor in the hurdles. His sister Sydney is a past multi-time state champion and is currently a member of the South Dakota State track and field squad.
“She was definitely my biggest influence and continues to be,” Leidholt said. “She comments on every one of my races. She’s always watching and supporting and encouraging me.”
Leidholt, who plans on playing basketball at Northern State next season, is a team-first athlete. His response to his biggest athletic highlight revolves around playing with his teammates in the state championship football game. He also enjoys running with teammates on relays as well.
It should come as no surprise then that Larson said Leidholt is willing to do whatever it takes to make the Monarchs the best they can be.
“He’s not demanding at all. You get those athletes where they only want to do this or that. Landon is probably the most giving person, just run me where you think I’m best at coach and I’ll help the team any way possible,” Larson said. “He’d love to win a title at hurdles, but if I had another (event) where I really needed him, he’d go in a heartbeat and would not even complain about it.”
Like all athletes, Leidholt had his spring season shutdown last year because of COVID. Instead of competing against others, Leidholt found himself working out individually and preparing for a season that never came.
“I think it definitely motivated me. I was just running and lifting and doing stuff on my own,” he said. “It definitely threw a wrench into plans.”
It also gave Leidholt a different perspective when sports eventually resumed last fall.
“Going out every Friday night to play football was definitely a blessing with what was going on around the world,” he said.
Leidholt is currently preparing for his final events as a Warner athlete. While he has used his gifts to provide many memorable moments during competition, he has also provided an invaluable gift away from the action.
“He’s just a gifted, gifted athlete,” Larson said. “His talent as good as it is, his character is even better. That’s what any program wants to see, kids like that around their other athletes.”
And that just might be the most impressive item on the Landon Leidholt resume.
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