How junior Landon Jochim brought the Bison into the ESPN spotlight.
Carson Wentz wasn’t the first Bison athlete from Bismarck Century High School to bring the NDSU green and gold to the set of the popular midday ESPN show “SportsNation.” The Michelle Beadle-hosted 30-minute sports debate show had its first experience with Bison Pride when a sophomore sprinter named Landon Jochim dropped by the show in the summer of 2015.
Jochim gained access to be a part of a small in-studio crowd thanks to his cousin who works on ESPN/ABC-affiliated television shows like Shark Tank and SportsNation. Jochim, along with 20 other sports fans gathered behind the camera to watch Beadle, Marcellus Wiley and Max Kellerman debate the hottest topics in sports.
When he was originally asked to wear his favorite professional team’s gear, Jochim thought, why not wear his Bison track and field jumpsuit? He also grabbed his Bison Nation flag just in case.
“I think the camera found me maybe once during the actual show,” the junior Bismarck native said. After the show, the small audience had the opportunity to meet the cast of three ESPN personalities and take a picture.
Jochim jumped on the opportunity to break out his flag for the photo op. The three ESPNers willingly held it out for his future viral moment. Jochim posted the picture later that day on his Instagram page and the “likes” started rolling in. Three hundred-plus likes later, North Dakota State posted the photo on Facebook, which was seen by thousands as Bison Nation once again spilled its way into ESPN territory.
NDSU track and field athletes have started to build a reputation in the track world. NCAA Championship qualifiers such as Erin Teschuk, Maddie Van Beek, Alex Renner and the women’s 4×400-meter relay team have helped put the Bison on the college track map. Jochim did that but in an unorthodox way on SportsNation.
But Jochim is looking to follow in the footsteps of the Bison greats on the track, too.
“I wanted to be one of the best to ever run here,” Jochim said following his school record-breaking performance in the 400-meter at Nebraska this February. “I think this year, so far, it’s been going in the right direction. But I don’t think it will be satisfying until I make it to at least the West Preliminaries and the ultimate goal is to make it to Nationals.”
Jochim battled a stress fracture in his shin his freshman year and still managed to find success. He placed fourth in the 400-meter at the Summit League Indoor Championships. Later that spring, he won the 400-meter at the outdoor championship meet as a true freshman.
More trouble came during the fall of his sophomore season. Jochim became sick with mono and his training took another hit. He was able to recover and win his first Indoor Summit League Championship in the 400-meter last season. Even with the two individual titles, Jochim is looking for bigger results.
“I don’t think I’ve lived up to my expectations that I’ve put on myself,” Jochim said. “This year I have more confidence and I feel like my mind is in a better place. I happened to have a really good fall training and my body is healthy and I feel great and I’m confident. Getting the record, too, that just adds to the confidence.”
Now with the school’s 400-meter record under his name, Jochim is focused on qualifying for his first West Preliminary meet. The only question left is whether it happens during the indoor or outdoor season. Luckily for Jochim, he has more than a year to cement his legacy at NDSU and help the program shine brighter in the college track scene.