Kohei Sato has won quite a few footraces in his two-year career with the North Iowa Bulls, and his speed from one end of the rink to the other is renowned from one end of the NA3HL map to the other. It only made sense, then, that after attending Mason City’s Newman Catholic High School this past year as a senior, he’d take up sprinting…but on dry land this time.
Sato qualified for this week's Iowa co-ed high school state track and field meet, a meet billed as the largest and most well-attended of its kind in the nation. In front of more than 13,000 fans on Thursday, the Bulls forward finished 16th out of a preliminary field of 24 in the 100-meter dash, and ran 20th out of 24 in the 200-meter preliminaries. Unfortunately, neither finish was enough to qualify him for the Iowa state finals on Saturday.
“I’m coming down here as an underdog,” says Sato. “On the ice, I’m a two-time national champion, but you can’t win them all. It’s fun to be here. It’s a great atmosphere.”
The Nishitokio, Japan native says he didn’t run track back home, and nearly didn’t come out for the team at Newman. Sato ended up answering the call from his future Knights teammates to help them fill out a relay event and even won a conference title in the 100 two weeks ago.
“Newman has done so much for me,” says Sato. “All of the guys and Coach [Mike] Schutt, they’ve done so much for me. This was something I could do for them, to represent the Knights and represent Newman at state. It’s been a great ride.”