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Smart Runner: Alexa Duling, USD

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Growing up in Gregory, Alexa Duling had some pretty big plans for when she graduated from high school.

"If you would've asked me in high school where I was gonna go to school, I would've said somewhere far from South Dakota." Duling says.

Dueling was all set to go study at an Ivy League school, but then USD track coach Lucky Huber got ahold of her.

"I think Alexa had a lot of ideas on what she wanted to do," Huber says, "And we were glad she chose us. I do remember early on in the recruiting process feeling like this is a kid that can really contribute to our program. Really add to what we're trying to do here."

Contribute is all Duling has done, picking up numerous honors, qualifying for nationals and setting a school record in the 400M hurdles last year. What she's done on the track though almost takes a back seat to what she's done in the classroom. The junior biology major has a 4.0 GPA, participates in undergrad research and is hoping to go to medical school in the future.

Still, maybe her most influential work has come while spearheading the Girls on the Run program. Helping teach Native American girls on the Rosebud Indian Reservation about running, self respect, and healthy lifestyles.

"It was so interesting for me to come in and watch the girls develop in 10 weeks." Duling says, "And not only develop athletically, because they trained to run a 5K, but also develop confidence, want teamwork, want to be a good person all around."

With all the activities Duling finds herself participating in, it's easy to see she has very little free time, but she doesn't seem to mind.

"Honestly I don't think I'd be happy if I wasn't busy and wasn't involved in so many things." Duling says.

With all she's done at USD, it's hard to believe she almost didn't go there. Pretty good pickup for the Yotes.

"It's good for me to see that an athlete is recognized as more than just an athlete," Huber says, "Because she truely is a role model and a great example of a student athlete."

Follow KDLT Sports at @KDLTSports and KDLT Weekend Sports Anchor Kolbe Nelson at @KolbeNelson for opinions, links, and updates on Twitter. And don't forget to check out the KDLT Sports Facebook Page
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