The farm boy-turned-unstoppable force tore up fields while playing for Carrington High School coach Marty Hochhalter, eventually signing with UND.
But not before garnering a host of accomplishments, as he was a two-time recipient of the North Dakota Gatorade player of the year and a two-time all-state selection. In basketball, he was MVP of the Class B state tournament, leading his team to a state title. He was also a two-time state shot put champion.
At UND, he was all-North Central Conference three years in a row, earning an All-American selection as a junior and senior.
Kleinsasser was taken in the second round (44th overall) by the Minnesota Vikings after coach Dennis Green traded three picks to trade up for him.
The 6-foot-3, 270-pound tight end also played fullback and H-back in an NFL career that made him the longest tenured Viking when he walked away. He's played in more games than any other tight end in team history.
The in-state honors have followed him as of late. He was inducted into the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and the UND Hall of Fame this September.
The year 2012 was a banner one for the Jamestown High School girls hockey team.
Unlike most of the other rosters around the state, the Blue Jays put together a solid campaign with only a dozen girls.
They earned a trip to state last February in Grand Forks and there, they finished fifth with a 4-2 win over Bismarck in the consolation semifinals and a 3-2 victory against Minot in overtime. They were the first two state-tournament victories for the Blue Jays.
It was also the highest finish for the Blue Jays in their program's history. Junior Amber Schaack scored 35 goals and finished with 48 points, tied for sixth-best in the state. She was named first-team all-state.
The Blue Jays, who finished 13-12-1, also got a strong performance at state from goalie Carissa Finck, who stopped 80 of the 86 shots she faced in three games.
The Blue Jays have continued to find success, however, proving they're not a flash in the pan.
In the first part of the season, Jamestown has already beaten powerhouses Fargo North, Bismarck, Minot and Grand Forks twice. The Blue Jays are currently 8-2 and sit third in the state in points with 16 behind Grand Forks (22) and West Fargo (21).
Katie Conlon played a key role in putting Oregon back on top of NCAA Division I cross country.
The former Blue Jay and Jimmie placed 39th to earn All-American honors at the national championship meet November in Louisville, Ky.
Conlon, who had been the Ducks' fifth or sixth runner in most meets during the season, was Oregon’s third finisher, covering the 6,000-meter course in 20 minutes and 15 seconds.
Oregon easily won the team title for the first time since 1987. It was the school’s 20th national title in all sports, 19 of which have come in track or cross country.
Conlon was a three-time All-American in cross country at Jamestown College from 2008-10.
She earned 11 All-American honors total at Jamestown College, including the 2011 NAIA national championship in the steeplechase.
She has one more season of eligibility remaining in indoor and outdoor track.
The New Rockford-Sheyenne High School football team put the finishing touches on a magical season with 40-22 win over Divide County for the 9-man state championship in November in Grand Forks. It was the first football championship in school history.
Alex Perleberg ran for a pair of touchdowns, Josh Edmonson added one and Hunter Wetzel returned an interception for a score in the second half, which saw the Rockets outscore the Maroons 26-0 after trailing 22-14 at halftime.
The win put an exclamation point on a 12-0 season that had plenty of exciting finishes. Standout quarterback Ethan Haley hooked up with Seth Gilliss in the end zone in the final minute to lift the Rockets past LaMoure-Litchville-Marion in the opening round of the playoffs. It also included an overtime win against Cavalier and a double-overtime victory over Lakota-Adams-Edmore.
It's not often the most popular coaching jobs in Jamestown come open, but it happened in 2012.
Jamestown College hired football and men's basketball coaches, while Jamestown High School replaced longtime football coach Bill Cahill, who retired.
JC football coach Shawn Frank took the reins after serving as an assistant since 2003. He had been the defensive coordinator under head coach Bud Etzold, who resigned.
Frank, a Hettinger, N.D., native, finished 4-6 in his first year, though the Jimmies lost three games by a combined five points.
On the court, JC chose to go with Justin Wieck, a young assistant at Northern State with an impressive resume. The new men's basketball coach replaced Matt Murken, who left for the same job at Minot State. Going into the Christmas break, the Jimmies were 7-7 including a win over Minot State.
Tim Fletcher stepped up from his role as an assistant to take over the JHS football program, which hadn't won a game since 2010 and had finished with just three wins in three years.
In his first year, the Blue Jays made significant strides, winning two games and falling short in several close contests.
Head coach Greg Ulland orchestrated another brilliant campaign, as the Jimmies logged a 27-5 record, besting the the school's previous mark for wins in a season.
The Jimmies advanced to the national tournament where they made the Sweet 16 before losing out and ending the season ranked 12th in the nation. It was the fifth national tournament appearance in the program's history.
They won the final regular season of the Dakota Athletic Conference and also captured the final DAC tourney title. The Jimmies went undefeated through the conference schedule to capture their ninth league title.
There was certainly reason for soccer fans in the area to celebrate this fall.
Under the direction of coach Phillip Bohn, the Jamestown College men's soccer team posted a school-record 16 wins to finish 16-5-1, advancing to the national tournament where it fell in the second round.
They outscored their final two opponents of the Association of Indepedent Institutions tournament 4-0 to win the championship. They advanced to the opening round of nationals, which was played at home sites, and beat Rocky Mountain College 1-0 before losing to host Auburn University Montgomery in the second round.
The Jamestown Speedway averaged 22 WISSOTA Modified cars per night, five cars better than the national average. It also averaged 20 Street Stocks, six cars higher than the national average.
But what stood out the most was the Midwest Modifieds, which brought 32 cars to the Speedway per night. The national average is far lower, just 19.
The prestigious Stock Car Stampede in September also fared well, enjoying a record 317 cars, beating the previous mark by 23.
The Jamestown High School volleyball squad, coached by Sara Hegerle, earned just their third trip to state since the program started in the early 1990s.
Jamestown High School senior Alex Lind ended her accomplished diving career on a high note, capturing her second consecutive state title at the state meet in November in Mandan.
Lind scored a 201.40 on the first day and held a comfortable lead, eventually dominating the competition with a 453.80.
She finished her diving career undefeated as a junior and senior.