When former Monona Grove High School athlete Alex Klinkner says he is living the dream, that’s hard to dispute.
The former track and field, and boys soccer star with the Silver Eagles is doing very well at NCAA Division 1 Bradley University where the civil engineering major has been turning in some impressive times in just his sophomore year with the Braves.
Klinkner, who was recruited by Bradley as a sprinter, showed his talents right away in his freshman year during the indoor season at the Grand Valley State University Big Meet in Michigan with a finish of 51.05. He recorded the sixth fastest time in school history in the 400-meter dash with a finish of 51.05.
He was also part of the 4x400 relay team that finished sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference championships with a time of 3:20.93, the second fastest in Bradley men’s track and field history.
When the season shifted to outdoors, Klinkner achieved a personal best 51.03 in the 400-meter dash and a 1:57.96 in the 800-meter run.
Before his sophomore year on the track was halted due to the COVID-19 virus, Klinkner gained the highlight of his young college career at January’s John Gartland Invitational indoor meet at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. He pulled off a dominating victory in the 600-meter race with a time of 1:24.73, nearly four seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
Klinkner credits his high school coaches, Brian Storms from track and field, and Randy Becker from boys soccer, with molding him into a successful athlete who was able to advance to a Division 1 sports program.
“Coach Storms’ positive attitude and encouragement were all over the place. He made me want to be at every practice and offered encouragement,” Klinkner said. “(Becker) was a wrestler back in his day. I think that really helped. He created that mindset of what it takes to be an athlete.”
Klinkner certainly attained the credentials to become a college athlete. He was part of three Badger South Conference winning teams on the Monona Grove track and field team.
He appeared in four state championships, including a second-place showing as part of the 4x400 relay in 2018. He was also an accomplished soccer player under Becker and in his senior year, helped guide the Silver Eagles to both conference and regional titles.
Klinkner said getting used to the surroundings of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, took some time, as did the track and field team’s training regimen.
“That first year, I was doing more mileage than I ever had. That took a toll on my body,” he said.
Yet, Klinkner said the hard work is starting to pay off, and his running times have been gradually improving. The Bradley coaching staff now wants him to start training for the longer track and field runs such as the 800 and the 1,500. To help prepare for that, Klinkner has been training with the school’s cross-country team and hopes to participate in some events next season.
“Last time I raced cross-country, I was in the eighth grade and that was 3 miles,” he said. “This would be 5 miles. I’m looking forward to it. Even if I don’t do fantastic, it will still be a good training, and it should pay off for the 800 and the 1,500 for the outdoor track season.”
While it did take some time, Klinkner feels more comfortable at Bradley than he did as a freshman, and he looks to continuation of his college track career.
“I feel like it’s every kid’s dream to go to a Division 1 college,” he said. “It’s perfect. I love the team. It takes hard work but I still love it.”