by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Canby lineman Nick Kraxberger, an all-state honoree who plans to pursue a career in engineering, will attend South Dakota School of Mines and Technology next year.By the time Nick Kraxberger reached fourth grade, he had lost all interest in soccer.

The following year, he missed signups for youth football.

“In sixth grade I got to play, but I didn’t understand it at all,” he said. “But I’ve just kept with it. And it’s a ton of fun now.”

Kraxberger hopes there’s even more fun in store at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where he’ll build on his standout career on the gridiron at Canby High School.

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound athlete figures to bolster the front line at South Dakota School of Mines, which competes in Division II as a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

This past season under coach Stacy Collins, the Hardrockers compiled a 6-4 overall record while averaging 38.6 points per game.

Kraxberger won’t be the only local product on the Mines’ football roster, which also includes Canby alumnus Evan Sanders. (Another CHS graduate, Brianne Huggins, is currently a member of the school’s women’s basketball program.)

“We heard from the Sanders family because Evan is the quarterback there, and we figured we’d send over the information,” Kraxberger said. “We got a call back from the coach and he’s like, ‘Hey, I want to talk to Nick.’ He said, ‘We really think you could play football here.’ So I went and visited over spring break, and it was perfect.”

Kraxberger plans to study geological engineering at Mines, a public school with roughly 2,300 students that specializes in the sciences. From collecting rocks as a child to taking challenging math and science classes in high school, Kraxberger has interests that he believes will suit him well in Rapid City, S.D.

“I’ve always loved science,” he said. “I don’t know why. But I figured engineering would be the right thing for me.”

Kraxberger will join the Hardrockers after receiving second-team all-state honors as an offensive lineman with the Cougars.

A three-sport competitor at Canby, Kraxberger has tested his athletic skills beyond the football field as well. As a member of the wrestling team, he won the Reser’s Tournament of Champions title in the junior varsity heavyweight bracket this past season On the track and field team, he specializes in the shot put and holds a career-best mark of 40 feet 3.5 inches.

But perhaps his best experiences came in football, where he helped the Cougars dominate opponents with their ground game.

“It was awesome,” he said. “We all had a pretty good understanding of what we needed to do. It was the greatest feeling to watch one of our backs run for a touchdown when you make the hole for him. Our whole line was pretty close.”

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