In an era when multi-sport athletes at any college are few and far between, Garrett Tenney has found success at Jamestown University (N.D.).
The 2010 Douglas High School graduate achieved one goal last month when he earned All-America honors with a sixth-place performance in the hammer throw at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. He hurled the 16-pound ball (attached to the end of a nearly four-foot-long cable) a school record distance of 186-feet-0.
And now, Tenney has turned his attention toward achieving yet another goal as he prepares for his senior football season for Jamestown.
“Football season’s coming up and I’m getting my mind right,” Tenney said during his recent visit home to the Carson Valley. “Now that I’ve gotten All-American from track, I’d like to make All-American in football as well.”
The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Tenney has started four games at defensive end — and been the regular long snapper — in the last two seasons for the Jimmies. Tenney, who wears No. 57, has been credited with 14 tackles for negative yardage the last two seasons.
He hopes for an expanded role this fall. After all, football is what brought him to Jamestown, where he has one semester left and graduates in December with a major in business administration and a minor in Spanish.
“I’d never heard of the place (Jamestown) until I got a letter in the mail,” Tenney said. “I’m really pleased with the school. It’s been fun.”
Tenney may not be the biggest defensive end or even the quickest. “I’m quicker than my 40 (yard) time indicates,” he said. “It (a stopwatch) doesn’t always translate on what you can do.”
Tenney, who played defensive end and offensive guard at Douglas, is looking forward to a big senior season at Jamestown. Practice begins Aug. 8 and the season-opener is Aug. 28 at Valley City State (N.D.).
“I’d like to help get the team win conference and get to the playoffs,” he said. “We got a new coach (Shawn Frank) two years ago, we’ve got a new offensive coordinator (Josh Kittell) and a new defensive coordinator (Jared Schwanz), so I think we’re going to have a good season.”
In 2013, the Jimmies were 3-7 overall and North Star Athletic Association co-champions with a 3-1 record.
Interestingly enough, there is at least one common link between Tenney’s two sports. In football, an explosive first step getting off the ball is all-important. Likewise, footwork is key to achieving balance and explosiveness in the throwing ring.
“It’s similar,” said Tenney, who qualified for the NAIA nationals in the hammer throw and discus. “The start basically dictates how the throw will go. A bad start kind of ruins your spin.”
Size isn’t a key factor in the event, he added.
“Technique, quickness, timing and power are the biggest things,” Tenney said.
He doesn’t want to walk away from track and field since the peak age for throwers can be into the 30s and 40s.
“That’s why I’d like to find a way to keep throwing, if I can,” he said. “I’ll keep throwing when the opportunity presents itself.”