Teagan Townsend enjoying strong senior collegiate season

Erin Mullins

From the time she was in middle school, 2020 Rocky Mountain High School grad and current Dickinson State University basketball player Teagan Townsend knew she was destined to be a collegiate athlete.
“Through middle school, I told myself, I want to be conference champions. In high school, I said, I want to be a starter. I want to be all-state,” she said. “I think that happened, like in middle school, me wanting to further my game.”
Townsend was a multi-sport athlete from a young age, so it wasn’t until college that she decided to focus on one sport. In elementary school, she pursued clogging, a competitive form of dance, for eight years. She also played soccer and basketball in elementary school.
In middle school, she played basketball, volleyball, track and soccer. In high school, Townsend continued soccer through her freshman year and then narrowed her focus to just three sports: track, volleyball and basketball for the rest of high school.
Townsend racked up accolades as an athlete before she even got to college. In high school, she was all-conference every year for basketball, including three years as an all-state basketball player. Her senior year, she was Northwest Player of the Year for basketball.  
In track, Townsend was all-conference for four years as well as competing in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles at the state track meet in 2019. In volleyball, she was all conference her junior and senior year and all-state her senior year.
High school was when Townsend’s basketball really started to flourish. She used the other sports she did in high school for training to get better as an athlete and at basketball, she said. Townsend worked year-round to develop herself, working out at Club Dauntless locally and traveling in the summer for basketball camps.
Dickinson State University head basketball coach Eric Nelson said that he recruited Townsend because she could tell how deep her work ethic and character were. Nelson could tell from the time he recruited Townsend that she was a loyal player, was going to put in the time and do the little things to be good.
The last year and a half, Townsend has put in a lot of work, allowing her to be a varsity starting point guard this senior year, he said.
This season, Townsend has improved her points scored per game to 3.3 and is consistently making more free throws and field goals. From her sophomore to senior year, Townsend has improved her minutes played per game from 2.3 to 19.6.
It was a journey to get there. She started college in fall 2020, during the height of the pandemic, and got sick with both COVID and mono, so she was unable to compete in basketball much her freshman year, except for a few games in the spring on the junior varsity team.
Her sophomore year, Townsend said she played junior varsity games more consistently and began to play some minutes on the varsity team. Midway through her junior year, she became a more consistent varsity player.
“It’s such a reward seeing every year pay off and seeing improvement. I would say my first three years I had a struggle of finding the balance within school and athletics,” she said. “I switched majors. I was originally a nursing major to business my junior year.”
Once she finally committed to a major, Townsend said everything else fell into place. This past summer, she was in the gym every day to improve her game for her senior season, which in turn she said helped the whole team to get better.
Rocky Mountain Elementary School principal Eric Honeyman, who mentored Townsend and her brother Landon from a young age as well as coached her in basketball in high school, said she is one of the all-time great athletes to come out of the Rocky Mountain school system.
“With all her all-state appearances in basketball and volleyball (in high school) I think she just goes down as one of the greats. We have many greats, but she just goes down as one of the greatest I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching,” Honeyman said. “So, I’m blessed at the path she is on and the good things she’s doing in her life.”
When Townsend was in first grade, she and Landon would hang out in Honeyman’s classroom, and since then the two families have been family friends.
Besides achieving athletic feats, Honeyman said Townsend is a very unselfish player in basketball. Instead of worrying about making every shot, she tosses the ball off to her teammates to give them a chance to score.
“She was such a scorer, like she could score anywhere on the floor. But she’d always get her girls the ball,” he said. “And the same thing in college. She hasn’t changed at all. She’s a very good facilitator of the offense and creates opportunities for others for success.”
Honeyman said Townsend’s work ethic and trust in others has been evident from a young age. These combinations of traits would make her a great coach in the future, he said. Honeyman would love to have her back coaching at Rocky, but he is happy for the great gains in North Dakota and wherever else she may go.
The future has far more for Townsend than giving her all in every sport there is. She is currently deciding between playing a fifth year of basketball granted by COVID or pursuing a graduate assistantship coaching the team while pursuing both a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters in Entrepreneurship next fall.
She said she is leaning toward the assistantship, since it would pay for all her master’s tuition, but said it is hard to give up the sport.
As a point guard, Townsend is already a “coach on the floor” in games, Nelson said.
“You want somebody that can run the team, get them in their spots and kind of be a floor general out there. And I think she does a really good job at that,” he said.
Nelson said he would look forward to Townsend being a grad assistant and that it is always exciting when players he coaches want to get into coaching.
Nelson said that although Townsend is currently rehabbing from injury, she is back in practice and ready to lead the team into conference play. Even though she was unable to play two games due to the injury, she was helping the younger players, cheering them on and being helpful in anyway possible, he said.
Townsend said she has managed her injury and will be playing in subsequent games her senior year.