The student newspaper of Nicholls State University

New cross country and track and field coach: Stefanie Slekis

August 23, 2017

Photo by: Nicholls Athletics

Photo by: Nicholls Athletics

On Aug. 15, Stefanie Slekis accepted the head coaching position for cross country and track at Nicholls State University.

Slekis had spent the past 4 years at the University of North Texas where she was the head coach of cross country and an assistant coach of track and field. The previous year, she worked at Florida State University with Karen Harvey, the head cross country coach at that time.

“I would say she was one of the best female coaches in the country,” Slekis said. “That’s why I wanted to go work for her. She won her sixth ACC title the year I was there, and they finished fourth at the national championships.”

Before Florida State, she was a graduate assistant for one year at McNeese State University under head coach Brendon Gilroy. Now she finds herself competing against Gilroy and McNeese State in the Southland Conference this season.

Slekis attended graduate school at Arizona State University and ran at Syracuse University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations at Syracuse in 2010, and a master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education at Arizona State in 2012.

As for Nicholls cross country this season, Slekis’s biggest goal is to be competitive in the Southland Conference. “You’ve got to have short-term goals and long-term goals,” Slekis said. “Going forward, the goal is to be competitive in the conference and to try and be a top-3 program in the next four years.”

Slekis also said that for the men’s cross country team, the running distances in their races are farther than the high school 5K’s. “Men’s collegiate cross country moves up to 8K for the conference meet, which is five miles, and we move up to 10K for the NCAA South Central Regional Meet, which is 6.2 miles.” Slekis also added that on the women’s side, the running distance is 6K, or about 3.7 miles.

Slekis strives to build a program and to win a championship as head coach at Nicholls. “I’d love to rewrite the record books. I’ve looked at the list for indoor and outdoor, and they actually have a ‘Top 10’ list at Nicholls, which is pretty neat.”

Slekis announced that she is looking for distance runners on campus. Any Nicholls student interested should contact her at [email protected]

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