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Carson, Kalli Hegerle among North Dakota's top athletes

Kalli and Carson Hegerle are two of the top athletes in North Dakota at the collegiate and prep levels.

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West Fargo's Carson Hegerle goes up for two ahead of West Fargo Sheyenne's Michael Nhial during their Eastern Dakota Conference Boys' Basketball Tournament semifinal game Thursday, March 3, 2022, at North Dakota State.
Michael Vosburg / The Forum
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Athleticism runs deep in the Hegerle gene pool — and the state of North Dakota has noticed.

Carson Hegerle, a senior at West Fargo High School, was named to the Class A Boys Basketball Second-Team, All-State team on Thursday evening.

The Packers wound up the 2022 Class A state runners-up, losing 73-62 to Minot in the state championship game.

"I remember Carson always having a ball in his hand when he was a kid, my mom says his first word was ball," Carson's older sister, Kalli, said.

"He is probably the best athlete I have ever seen. His ability to make decisions in a split second on the court or field, his speed and jumping ability, his reaction time, and his ability to make the people around him better are what make him great."

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Having a sister like Kalli probably helps out too.

"Hard work and dedication seem to also run in our genes," Carson said. "When we set our mind to something we don't give up until it happens. Even board games get intense in the Hegerle family.

"My sister showed me what hard work was. I always looked up to her and wanted to be as good as her at everything."

The two siblings are second-generation athletes. Their father, Erick, played football at North Dakota State University (NDSU) while their mother, Shelly, ran track for the Bison.

Erick, along with his brother, University of Jamestown head women's volleyball coach, Jon Hegerle, also played professional beach volleyball in California.

The duo also has a pair of cousins in Grace Hegerle and Josie Beckman (Hegerle) who have suited up for the Jimmies' volleyball program.

Kalli started out playing sports in early elementary school — when she signed up for basketball and track and field. She played basketball until her sophomore year of high school when she turned her attention to volleyball — something she may be slightly better than Carson at.

He shouldn't feel bad though — since she's better than a number of the country's best.

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Kalli is a two-year starter for the University of Jamestown women's volleyball team. The stellar-right side has been named an All-American both seasons she has been with the Jimmies.

She was a first-team selection in 2020 and led the Jimmies with 328 kills off 828 total attempts and was one of four players to hit above .300, finishing at .302.

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University of Jamestown's Kalli Hegerle hits the ball to Dakota Wesleyan's Jadie Delange (7) on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, at Harold Newman Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Kalli was named a second-team All-American at the conclusion of the 2021 NAIA National Women's Volleyball Tournament in December.

The 6-footer helped the Jimmies out to a 35-1 record this season, claiming responsibility for 374 of her team's points. UJ advanced to the Final Four of the NAIA Tournament for the third straight year but dropped 3-0 to Park University (Mo.) in the national semifinals.

In her two seasons with the Jimmies, Kalli has recorded 629 kills for the stat books. Her work on defense came up at the net where she tabulated 75 blocks.

Kalli has confirmed she is planning to use her extra year of eligibility to come back and play for the Jimmies in the 2022-23 season after she graduates in May.

"My sister's work ethic and drive to get better are what makes her so successful throughout her career," Carson said. "She is an amazing athlete but there is more to her than just an athlete.

"She's a role model to so many people including myself. Her relationship with God is amazing and she's always caring for everyone around her."

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Time will tell if Carson will wind up being as good of a role model in college as he says Kalli has been, but the West Fargo senior will get his first crack at it this fall.

Carson is slated to head to NDSU for football in the fall — something that he has been gunning for since he was in elementary school.

"When I was super young I found out my dad played football for the Bison and ever since then — I wanted to as well," Carson said. "I have always loved football more than any other sport. The feeling (when the offer came) was amazing. To have gotten the opportunity at my dream school growing up was a dream come true.

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West Fargo's Carson Hegerle carries against West Fargo Sheyenne in the rain on Sept. 11, 2020. David Samson / The Forum
David Samson/Forum Communications Co.

"Football has always been my true passion."

Carson and the Packers wound up the state runners-up in Class AA football this last Fall. West Fargo fell 27-7 to cross-city rival West Fargo Sheyenne in the Class A title contest.

The senior was awarded First-Team Offense All-State honors following the Dakota Bowl.

"I think I’m the proudest of how selfless he is," Kalli said of Carson. "Ever since he was little he had the ability to take over a game at any time. However, he always chose to give others opportunities to score or have the ball. He makes his teammates better. I can’t wait to see where his time at NDSU takes him."

Getting to where they are now and moving up to some of the top programs in the country would have been a whole lot harder without the support of Erick and Shelly.

"They've probably driven more than 75,000 miles," Kalli said. "They are incredible. They are the most supportive people in the world. They never doubt our decision or us and to me, that is the most comforting feeling.

"I would just like to thank them for everything. If I made a list it would probably take days to read. Thank you guys for being there for us when we needed you most, thank you for supporting us through our toughest times, and thank you for being willing to sacrifice your time and energy to make us happy. You guys are our rocks."

Katie Ringer is a sports reporter for the Jamestown Sun. Katie joined the Sun staff in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in journalism. She can be reached by email at kringer@jamestownsun.com or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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