Augustana’s Women’s Cross Country Team Earns HOF
BURNSVILLE, Minn. – The 2011 Augustana women’s cross country team will be the first Augustana induction into the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Hall of Fame. The Vikings, who claimed the national championship, will officially be inducted on Tuesday, July 11 as part of the NSIC Hall of Fame Banquet taking place in Sioux Falls this year.
Augustana earned the NSIC’s first NCAA Division II Women’s Cross Country National Champion in 2011 following a stellar performance in Spokane, Washington.
It was the Viking's first national title in women’s cross country and the school’s second overall team national championship at the time.
The Vikings netted just 75 points at a snowy Plantes Ferry Athletic Complex to defeat runner-up Western State (Colo.) by four points.
Leah Hansen led the Vikings, finishing 12th, running the 6,000-meter course in 21:40.40. Runa Falch finished directly behind her teammate in 21:42.40; Kristin Brondbo (21:47.90) and Kyle Blakeslee (21:53.30) rounded out this cluster of Augustana runners by finishing 15th and 18th, respectively. Kelly Kougl finished the scoring by placing 29th in 22:08.40.
“We needed everyone to perform today, and we got exactly that. It’s an unbelievable and special feeling that’s hard to put into words. We ran the perfect strategic race and controlled the event,” said Head Coach Tracy Hellman.
All five of the Vikings’ scoring runners earned All-America honors.
Augustana was forced to deal with less-than-ideal weather conditions. Snowy and cold conditions persisted throughout the race--a factor Hellman said didn’t come into play much for his Vikings. “We were ready for any type of conditions” Hellman said. “We were so incredibly focused on what we needed to do.”
Other Viking women’s runners included Annie Pfeifle, who placed 46th in 22:34.60, and Maddy Jourgensen, who took 108th in 23:49.90.
Hellman was later voted USTFCCA National Coach of the Year for guiding the Vikings to their historic season.
The 2011 Augustana Women’s Cross Country Roster consisted of: Leah Black, Kyle Blakeslee, Kristin Brondbo, Megan Brown, Megan Erspamer, Runa Falch, Maddy Jourgenson, Kelsey Junget, Molly Kokesh, Kelly Kougl, Annie Pfeifle, Alyssa Schmidt, Gabi Swoboda, and Kaitlyn Yoerg. The coaching staff consisted of head coach Tracy Hellman, assistant coach Jim Vahrenkamp, graduate assistant Chris Parno and graduate assistant Kelsey Maloney.
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