Top Performer: Aiden Giffin
BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. – With the state track and field meet set to start on Thursday in Sioux Falls, athletes from across the state are doing everything they can to put themselves in position to claim a state championship.
One of those athletes is Aiden Giffen from Belle Fourche who is hoping to wrap up his high school career by standing at the top of the podium.
Maybe it’s just something in the water.
Maybe it’s just the sheer depth of the region’s talent.
But for whatever reason, Belle Fourche has produced several top level long jumpers over the years.
“We continually year after year, have fun with what we’re doing,” said Belle Fourche assistant track coach Josh Schleusner. “When the kids are happy, they start to see success. That’s kind of been the whole idea is to keep things extremely simple, work on fundamentals and just go out and try to have fun.”
Aiden Giffin is the next jumper to move into the spotlight.
Earlier this month, the Belle Fourche senior captured the Black Hills Conference long jump title and set a new record in the long jump at the Region 8-A track meet.
But believe it or not, basketball has always been his preferred sport.
“I always looked up to Michael Jordan and all those legends,” said Aiden Giffin. “But I realized that track is kind of my calling. I like doing it and I’m really good at it. I would say a little better than basketball.”
To say Giffin is good at track and field is an understatement.
Giffin has already cemented his legacy at Belle Fourche High School.
He owns the school records in both the 100 meter dash and the long jump with a distance of 23 feet.
Plus, he’s currently ranked number one in the state in Class ‘A’ in both of these events.
“I first got him when he was an eighth grader,” said Schleusner. “We pulled him up when his season was done. He was putting some marks out there on long jump and then running his 100 meter times. They were good indicators that he was going to be something special for us down the road.
Giffin has placed six times at the state track meet.
But despite all of his success, Giffin has yet to win a state title.
He’s currently the favorite to win both the long jump and the 100 meter dash at the state track meet.
However, Giffin is leaving nothing to chance.
“I definitely want that first place,” said Giffin. “Especially for long jump. Last year I could of placed higher but I had some hammy (hamstring) issues. So definitely long jump. That’s my number one priority. Get that first place. The 100 meter, I think I’m going to get that too. I really want that as well. I got second last year.”
“It’s definitely not in the bag,” said Schleusner. “We’re not thinking that at all. We’re considerably out in front of the field. But anything can happen at the state meet. We just got to keep him focused, dialed in, loose and make sure he has fun. It’s his last year.”
Congratulations to Aiden Giffin on being named a News Center 1 Top Performer.