Dalen Fink Has Traveled a Long Way to Become a Jayhawk

March 31, 2011

Dalen Fink was the 2010 Missouri class 4A state champion in the 800m; he was named first team All-Metro in St. Louis his senior year and holds two school records at Fort Zumwalt North. Instead of going to college closer to home, at the school which happens to be the Jayhawks’ most hated rival, he decided to accept a scholarship offer and run track in Lawrence, Kan.

“I was considering going to Missouri just since it was closer to home, but I really loved everything about KU when I visited. Obviously, I ended up picking Kansas. It was a pretty easy decision since I had the best experience on my visit,” said the freshman from O’Fallon, Mo.

Fink finished the 2010-11 indoor track and field season with two first-place finishes in the 800m, along with a season-best time of 1:52.23 at the ISU NCAA Qualifier. He wasted no time taking his indoor success outdoor at the Mayaguez Spring Break Classic in Mayaguez, P.R., where he added a sixth-place finish to his resume, with a solid time of 1:53.00.

When Fink was five years old, he and his family moved to Australia, and it was there where he found out that he should start to run track.

“When I was in elementary school, once a year, the whole school would go out to our track. Whoever wanted to could run whatever event they chose – when I was about 10 years old, I was running and I realized I was pretty fast,” said Fink. “We moved back to the U.S. when I was 13, and I just continued to run. Actually, I tried out for the baseball team my freshman year of high school, but I didn’t make the team. That kind of convinced me to stick with track.”

Being a newcomer, and only in his second semester of college life, Fink has had to adjust to life as a student-athlete.

“(Head Coach Stanley Redwine) has helped me a lot. The training has stepped up from high school, which I’m glad is happening, I want to be challenged,” Fink said. “Obviously, being the head coach, he really knows what he’s talking about – he knows what each of us individually need to do to be the best runner we can be. Coach Redwine has definitely made my transition easier.”

Not only are the coaches helping Fink with his transition, but, strangely enough, so is his high school rival.

“My teammate Nicholas Seckfort has been the biggest help to me since I’ve been in Lawrence, even though we were rivals in high school my junior and senior year. I always knew about Nick, he was always my biggest competition in high school. Our senior year, we raced each other at the Missouri State meet – fortunately for me, I beat him,” Fink said.

Although, when he first came to Lawrence, he didn’t think he would be seeing any more of Seckfort.

“I found out, after I already signed with Kansas, that he was actually coming here, too. When we first met in Lawrence, it wasn’t awkward; he is a really great guy. Since we both come from Missouri, we’ve been good friends and we’re usually training partners for most of the workouts we do.”

With the help of Seckfort and Coach Redwine, Fink has believes that it will only take a few weeks for his season goals to be reached.

“My immediate goals are to set a personal best within the next few weeks,” Fink said. “I feel like my training has been much tougher and I’m prepared for each race. Also, by the end of the season, I want to run the 800m under 1:50.00.”

Fink and the rest of the Jayhawks will make the trip to Fayetteville, Ark., on April 2 for the Razorback Spring Invitational.