MOORHEAD-Concordia hired a former North Dakota State All-American runner to lead its cross country program.
The Cobbers have named Laura (Hermanson) Januszewski as their new head coach for men's and women's cross country. She will also be an assistant track coach for Concordia.
"We were really excited when Laura was interested in coming to Concordia," Concordia athletic director Rachel Bergeson said. "She brings a lot of credibility to this sport. ... I think our student-athletes are really excited about that. They know that her level of expertise is one that they can draw from."
Januszewski had been the head cross country coach and head track and field coach at Lake Park-Audubon (Minn.) High School. This is her first college head coaching job.
"I think the big difference is you get to coach the kids all year," Januszewski said. "In running, it's nice to have that nine-month true training cycle."
The 32-year-old Januszewski was a standout in the 800 meters at NDSU, completing her college track career in 2009. She competed in the U.S Olympic Trials for track and field in 2008 and 2012. She finished second in the women's 800 at the NCAA Division I Outdoor track and field championships in 2009.
Januszewski said not being too far removed from her college running career should help her at Concordia.
"It's always nice when you have a coach that has experienced some of the same things that you have experienced," Januszewski said.
Januszewski said former NDSU track coach Ryun Godfrey was one of her biggest influences during her running career. She still regularly communicates with Godfrey, who is now the head cross country coach and assistant track coach at Kansas State.
"We still talk all the time," Januszewski said. "To be able to develop that type of relationships with my athletes, really excites me."
The Cobbers plan to start their cross country training camp next Sunday.
Januszewski said the contacts she's made with area high school cross country and track coaches during her time as coach at Lake Park-Audubon should help with recruiting.
"That's going to be a total learning process for me," she said. "What is it going to take for us to be competitive in the MIAC? ... I think the most exciting thing is being able to be around athletics all the time."