Nathan Alto to pull double-duty, signs with Northern State track, cross country
“I got to talk to the coach and players," Nathan Alto said. "That was really fun. I really liked the campus, and the coach was really good. That’s when I finally decided.”
BEMIDJI -- Plenty of student-athletes put in the work to play a college sport. Nathan Alto, though, is committing to two.
“You’ve got to train the whole summer,” the Bemidji High School senior said. “It’s just non-stop running. You don’t really get a break between cross country and indoor track. It’s a lot of work and effort, but it’s fun along the way.”
Alto made his plans official on Wednesday, signing his National Letter of Intent to run cross country and track and field at Northern State. And while he may be pulling double-duty with his commitments, he’s excited about what awaits him in Aberdeen, S.D.
“I visited there twice, and the second time, I really got a good visit,” he said. “I got to talk to the coach and players. That was really fun. I really liked the campus, and the coach was really good. That’s when I finally decided.”
Alto began the recruiting process last summer, when he started visiting schools and talking with programs. The track and field recruiting was a little tricky without a 2020 season due to the pandemic, but he simply made the most of cross country season instead.
“That track season, I was really looking forward to dropping times and progressing so more colleges looked at me,” Alto said. “Once we didn’t get it, I was super bummed out. But more colleges kept looking at me after cross country season, so that was good.”
Alto showed out in the fall, placing first in six of seven cross country meets. His time of 16:29.3 in the Section 8AA meet earned him first place overall -- the first BHS runner to win medalist honors since 2013 -- while the Lumberjacks placed first as a team.
As he departs the program, he knows he’s leaving it in pretty good shape. And he’ll be better off for it, too.
“The program is great,” Alto said of Bemidji. “(BHS head coach Ryan) Aylesworth is a really good coach. I’ve had a lot of good teammates over the years help me, push me. I’ve been on it since seventh grade, so I really got to know Aylesworth and all the teammates. It was really fun running with them every year.”