MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hit the road with Robert Hapke and it’s pretty clear pretty quickly why he’s going where he’s going.

What’s harder to figure out is how the senior from Apple Valley got so fast so fast.

“It wasn’t really something I always wanted to do,” Hapke said. “But my friends kind of got me stuck into it.”

You see, Hapke’s sport is alpine skiing. Just this past winter, he placed 12th at the state meet.

“I’ve been skiing since I was five,” he said. “And racing since seven.”

But last fall, he finally caved to pressure from his cross country friends. He joined the team halfway through the season.

“I didn’t really have much expectations at all,” he said.

And despite having never run competitively before, the reluctant runner got fast rather quickly. He’ll compete in the state meet next Saturday – just 14 months after running his first-ever race.

“Rob is really on another level than anybody that I know,” team captain Brian Bettes said. “He’s always putting in the most amount of effort that I’ve ever seen. And in a race, he’s really a different person. He can take the pain that most people can’t.”

Not only is Hapke pretty athletic, he’s also pretty smart. In the time between the alpine ski state meet and the cross country state meet, he aced his ACT test, with a perfect score of 36.

“Yeah, for sure there was some studying involved,” he said through a grin.

Since it’s probably been a while since you’ve taken it, a reminder: The ACT is split into four sections, from which an average is taken. Hapke got a 36 on his math section, 36 in reading, 36 in science, and 35 in English.

So what happened with English?

“That’s a tough section,” he said with a laugh. “There’s 75 questions. It’s just tough.”

And how many of the 75 did he get?

“Probably 74,” he said.

That’s right. One wrong question on his entire ACT.

But that’s Robert Hapke for you: Making what he’s done on the cross country course look like the easy part.

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