Cobblers Up Close: Tanner Aberle

At 6’4” and with varsity letters on his resume, Tanner Aberle fits the profile of an athlete. But a closer look reveals his passions for photography and the outdoors.

By Allyson Green

Tanner Aberle is well known at Central as being a 6’4’’ varsity basketball player and a 3 time state-qualifying jumper for track, but those who know him best have discovered he doesn’t fit the typical jock-stereotype. Tanner has been playing basketball for almost 12 years. “I grew up on basketball. My aunt who started me off also played, so it’s always been a part of my life.” This past season he helped take the boys’ varsity to state. However, when asked what his favorite part of the tournament was, I was surprised by his answer. I was expecting him to say something about its being a great accomplishment that he and the boys, though underdogs, were able to come together as a team and challenge the state’s top schools. Instead, he said, “It was interesting to see all of the other teams in a different manner. Usually, we only get to see them for about 30 minutes. At state we got to actually meet the other teams.”

As for track, Tanner has been running and jumping for 5 years. “I really like track because it’s more of an individual sport where I know that anything that happens, happens because of me.” He qualified for state the past three years, and has every intention of qualifying again this year. As a junior, he qualified for triple jump, long jump, and high jump, and he was ranked 5thoverall, but at the end of the season, tragedy struck. Tanner was diagnosed with osteomyelitis in his tibia. A bacterial infection of the bone. This ended his junior season. Tanner was life-flighted to Sioux Falls where he was treated for a week with strong antibiotics, four different IVs and a PIC line. “When I first went in, the doctor had to stick a really big needle into my kneecap, but he couldn’t find enough fluid so he started scraping my knee bone. It was the grossest thing I’ve ever felt.”

“At the time, I wasn’t even sure that I’d be able to jump again. So now that I know that I can, this year’s just about making it last.”

Although he wasn’t able to compete last year, his injury gave him a greater appreciation for the upcoming season. “This year, I just want to have fun because track is something that I absolutely love, and that was taken away from me last year. At the time, I wasn’t even sure that I’d be able to jump again. So now that I know that I can, this year’s just about making it last.”

Even though Tanner is known as being a multi-sport varsity athlete, his heart really lies in the mountains. Any chance he gets, Tanner is going to the Badlands, or Yellowstone Park, or any national park. When he’s there he gets to work on one of his favorite hobbies: photography. Tanner has a good eye for the outdoors and is often posting his pictures on Instagram, Twitter, and VSCO.

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Some of Tanner’s photography

Next year, Tanner will be following in his aunt’s footsteps by attending North Dakota State University (NDSU). Here, he will be jumping for the track team and majoring in Global Business. He hopes to study abroad, especially in Dubai. After college, he plans on moving to Seattle where he will open his own E-commerce business for outdoor wear and photography. That way he can work around his two passions.

Everyone is rooting for Tanner to qualify for state once again, and while that is one of his big goals, it’s not his biggest goal. “2016 is the centennial for national parks, so my goal is to visit at least 16 by the end of the year.” Five months in, he’s already a quarter of the way done.

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I’m excited to see where life takes Tanner. I’m rooting for him to set records this year and to excel at NDSU next year. I hope he does get to open his own E-commerce business; with his good taste and his outdoor knowledge, I’d be more than willing to buy from him. Best of luck Tanner, you’ll do great!

Photo Credit: Tanner Aberle

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