Jergenson gets unexpected track opportunity at The Citadel

Bryce Jergenson will soon be the college athlete he never expected.

The Polk County senior already had plans to attend The Citadel when Wolverine track and field coach Alan Peoples reached out to the Bulldog coaching staff about Jergenson, touting his success this spring as a sprinter.

A few messages and a visit later, Jergenson received an offer to join the Citadel’s track program, and he made that decision official by signing a letter-of-intent during a ceremony at Polk County High School.

Perhaps another twist in Jergenson’s tale isn’t a surprise. He left Polk County after his sophomore season and spent a year and a half at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy before returning to Polk County for the spring semester. He expected to be playing football at the college level – and still may – but now he will be a Bulldog runner.

It’s a little crazy, honestly,” Jergenson said of the track offer. “It took a lot. I’ve known I wanted (to be a college athlete) since middle school, so it’s kind of crazy. But I’m just happy I’m there.”

Jergenson captured attention with an outstanding spring track season. He won the 200 and 400-meter runs at both the Mountain Foothills 7 Conference meet and 2A West Regional, and he also helped Polk County’s 4×400-meter team claim titles at both of those events as well.

He closed his season by running the anchor leg on the Wolverines’ state championship-winning effort in the 4×400, becoming part of the just the second Polk County relay team to win a state title and setting a school record in the process.

Not a bad way to close your high school athletic career.

Bryce Jergenson won the 200 and 400-meter runs at the 2A West Regional in Morganton

“It was wild,” Jergenson said. “First thing Braxton (Edwards) and I said to each other when we got done was that it took us four years. But it was definitely worth it.”

Jergenson admitted he never thought about running track in college, especially after focusing on football for much of his life. He had offers to continue his football career, but ultimately decided The Citadel offered him the opportunity he wanted academically.

“I like the structure that it’s going to give me and the leadership role I need,” Jergenson said of The Citadel. “It has the perfect major (Intelligence and Security Studies) that I need for what I want to do (something with The Defense Acquisition University leading to possibly working with the FBI or CIA).

“Football is something I’ve been doing since I was four, and I never really thought of track like that. But it seems like the better decision for me now.”

Football, though, is not completely off Jergenson’s table. He said he plans to try to walk on to the Bulldog football team and will report in July to begin that process.

He’s looking forward to another step in his journey.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I’m ready to get started.”

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