Rainier's Brody Klein Finds His Place to Shine in Iowa

By Brandon Hansen / For the Nisqually Valley News
Posted 3/29/22

Brody Klein grew up in small-town Rainier and made a big-time impact as a three-sport athlete for the Mountaineers.

The 6-foot-1, 195 pound athlete must have had a great time in rural Washington …

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Rainier's Brody Klein Finds His Place to Shine in Iowa


Brody Klein grew up in small-town Rainier and made a big-time impact as a three-sport athlete for the Mountaineers.

The 6-foot-1, 195 pound athlete must have had a great time in rural Washington because he looked for something similar after high school. Klein is now playing football and is on the track team at Central College in Pella, Iowa.

“My parents went to small colleges in Iowa,” Klein said. “Both sets of my grandparents live in Iowa, so it’s kind of like home in a sense. While it’s not Washington, I chose Central especially because it gave me the opportunity to do two sports at a high level.”

Pella is a bit bigger than Rainier. It includes stoplights, two high schools and even a Walmart, but Klein said it was the rural feel of the town and the small college campus that really drew him in.

While COVID-19 limited his freshman season, Klein started for the NCAA D3 powerhouse as essentially a redshirt freshman this fall and is looking to make a national mark in track and field.

“Playing in the NCAA is a lot of fun,” Klein said. “I have to remind myself that a lot of guys don’t get to play college sports and I’m playing two of them. I don’t really keep thinking about it being the next level up because you just get into the mode of having fun with your teammates and playing hard.”

At Rainier, Klein played middle backer and tailbacker in the always loaded Southwest 2B League. The teams he was on made the playoffs three out of the four years he was there and were competitive in the tougher 2B league in the state.

“(That) kind of ground and pound 2B helped me in the college mentality,” Klein said. “You definitely had to bring the boom every week against the competition and I’m definitely not the biggest guy. In college, you have to play like that every play and sometimes I’m going up against 6-foot-4 guys that are 250 pounds so that mentality definitely helps.”

Klein ended up being an all-league player in football. During the winter season, he wrestled and became a state champion his senior year.

For track, Klein typically did the pole vault and became a state champion his junior year.

Now you’d think a guy who won two state champions would check his recruitment profile online every week, but not Klein.

“I knew I wanted to play sports but I just didn’t concern myself with getting recruited,” he said. “I figured I would just go walk on or if someone sees me, they would be willing to offer me something.”

Klein said he liked Iowa and did approach Central College with the hope of walking on and playing two sports. He had to sacrifice wrestling, but knew that since football and track were different seasons, he could play both.

“What they offered me was something I wasn’t expecting,” Klein said. “I knew I had to play two sports otherwise I’d get pretty restless. So I approached the football and track coaches as a small 2B guy and they gave me a chance. I was pretty skinny when I showed up but they developed me into a football player.”

There is an understanding between coaches that during seasons, the other coaches do not ask anything of the athlete. During football, it’s all about football and during track it’s all about track.

The COVID-19 season was limited in action, but Klein spent the time weightlifting and practicing, as he strengthened his skills. Central College this year started Klein at safety.

“This year was the first full season back, the stands were packed and I got the chance to play with my buddies,” Klein said.

Central College made the NCAA D3 quarterfinals and finished the year ranked No. 6, blowing out their first-round playoff opponent and winning on a hail mary in the second round.

For track, Klein is competing in multiple events as a decathlete so he ends up running the 100, 400, and participating in the throws and jumps.

“It means no one day is the same at practice,” Klein said. “We’re always learning new stuff and practicing different things. It just gives me new challenges everyday.”

Track and football complement each other as the goal is to be bigger, faster and stronger. This means that as time goes on, Klein just becomes a better athlete as he simply adjusts his body’s mode to the sport. 

“COVID was different last year because we were all split up but now we’re able to lift and practice as a team,” Klein said. “I like that a lot better.”

While Klein’s parents have moved to Iowa as well, the former Rainier star said he still makes it back to his hometown to spend time with friends and go skiing since there are no ski hills in Iowa.

“Not waking up to the mountains or being able to ski in the wintertime is weird,” Klein said. “Lots of corn, lots of beans, but it’s not bad.”

Not bad is an understated way of saying Klein has already found his spot as a safety on a standout D3 football program and is finding his niche in a variety of events in track.


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