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National Guard, BHSU Athletics, help student from Alaska achieve his goals

Author: BHSU Communications/Tuesday, November 13, 2018/Categories: Athletics, Students, Athletics, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Jordan Theisen credits his discipline honed by the National Guard, competitive outlook shaped by the Black Hills State University athletic program, and valuable advice from his dad and mom as important factors in his successful educational experience and plans for his future.

A BHSU exercise science major from Alaska, Jordan intends to become a physical therapist. Through invaluable knowledge that he’s acquired from his studies at Black Hills State University, the National Guard, and the BHSU men’s cross country team he’s achieving his dream.

Jordan has always been competitive – so when a high school friend told Jordan about the physical fitness test for his National Guard obligation, Jordan decided to tag along and see how well he could do.

In the meantime, Jordan and his twin brother, Jonah Theisen, were visiting with BHSU Cross Country coach, Scott Walkinshaw about joining the successful Division II cross country program. Their competitive spirits fueled them towards their goals and motivated them to finish their high school running careers strong.

Three months later, Jordan made his decision to join the National Guard after high school graduation.
While his brother Jonah traveled over 3,000 miles to begin college as a student athlete at BHSU, Jordan traveled almost 4,000 miles to basic training in Fort Sill, Okla.  

“I knew that I wanted to do something that made me uncomfortable, I knew I wanted to do something that would help me become someone extraordinary, and I knew that the National Guard was a step into that,” Jordan says as he reminisces on the day he knew he wanted to join the military.

Returning to Alaska the next December as a water purification specialist for the National Guard, Jordan learned much about his own character, goals, morals, and motivators.

A day after his return home from basic training, Jordan called Coach Walkinshaw inquiring about the spot that he had been offered on the men’s cross country team months before.

“This is where the competition is. This is where I could fulfill some dreams,” Jordan says of running cross country at BHSU. Coach Walkinshaw encouraged Jordan to register for classes and Jordan quickly made a state transfer to the South Dakota Guard from the Alaska Guard, joining the 842nd Engineer Company.

Jordan fit right in at BHSU, and eventually decided to seek out a degree in exercise science after finding inspiration from   his physical therapist back home in Alaska who helped him through an injury with enthusiasm and amazing knowledge.  

Through his career at BHSU, Jordan has been a resident assistant, a full-time student, a multiple-sport athlete, and a specialist in the National Guard. He knows college is a time to build strong habits that will positively impact his entire life.

Although juggling it all is surely a feat, Jordan uses the skills he’s learned from National Guard leadership courses as well as values that have been instilled in him as an athlete.

The crossover of values between Jordan’s commitments has given him an extreme advantage, as his main goals of becoming financially stable, never becoming complacent, and prioritizing health all go hand in hand.

“Like my mom always said – my mom was a nurse – ‘the habits we form now are the habits we’ll have for the rest of our life.’ Through the habits I’ve formed with the National Guard, the cross country team, and academics, I know that I’m on the right track.”

About Exercise Science at BHSU:
The exercise science program at BHSU prepares students for futures in health and exercise related fields. Students are exposed to various facets of health and exercise, including fitness assessment, motion analysis, athletic injury prevention, exercise programming, and more. The program is practical for those considering careers in athletic training, physical therapy, coaching, and more.

About Cross Country at BHSU:
The BHSU Cross Country team is head coached by Scott Walkinshaw, an NAIA Hall of Fame Inductee who has served as head coach at Black Hills State University for over 20 years. The country team is part of the RMAC conference, competing with teams in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Utah. The BHSU cross country team is competitive in the NCAA Division II. For all information regarding Yellow Jacket Athletics, visit or follow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @BHSUAthletics.

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