Women's College Track and Field: Kosobud balancing running, academic success

Running has blazed a trail of success for Allison Kosobud. The Brainerd High School graduate is a cross country and track and field athlete at the College of St. Benedict, but she's a runner first. It may seem like semantics, but Kosobud, who doe...

Former Brainerd High School graduate Allison Kosobud competes during the CSB/SJU Invite earlier this month. Kosobud is a senior middle-distance runner for the College of St. Benedict.
Former Brainerd High School graduate Allison Kosobud competes during the CSB/SJU Invite earlier this month. Kosobud is a senior middle-distance runner for the College of St. Benedict.


Running has blazed a trail of success for Allison Kosobud.

The Brainerd High School graduate is a cross country and track and field athlete at the College of St. Benedict, but she's a runner first.

It may seem like semantics, but Kosobud, who does have a competitive nature, said regardless if she competed on the cross country teams or the indoor and outdoor seasons for track field, she would be running. Being a member of Blazers teams gives her motivation.

"It's obviously a big time commitment, but running is something that I obviously love to do," Kosobud said. "I would want to be running regardless at this point. Being on the teams just gives me a little more structure and gives me people to run with and friends to talk to on the runs. It doesn't seem like a huge commitment because it's something that I want to do."


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Allison Kosobud

  • Year: Senior
  • School: College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph
  • Sport: Track and field, cross country
  • Highlights: Named MIAC Track Athlete of the Week

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The former Brainerd Female Athlete of the Year competed in three sports in high school while maintaining a high grade-point average. She said doing the same in college made the transition easier for her.

"I think having that structure in my day, knowing I have practice, around the same time I had practice in high school, has really helped me form my days," Kosobud said. "It gives me good balance in the sense that I have time to focus on my studies, but I also have time to focus on my running built in throughout the day."

But Kosobud isn't just running through the motions. She's succeeding. And she has been since she started. She was voted the team's rookie of the year and the most valuable track athlete at the end of her freshman season.

She advanced to the NCAA Championships that year and placed 19th in the 800 meters. She was named All-MIAC in the 800 after placing second in the conference outdoor championships. She also received honorable mention in the 4x400 and 4x800 relays. She set the school record in the 800 with a time of 2:12.91 and ran the second-best 1500 in school history with a 4:41.49. She finished with eight event wins just in the outdoor season. She was 14th in the Indoor NCAA championships with a 2:14.40 and won two conference championship in the 800 and 1000.

Since her breakout rookie season, Kosobud has simply added to her legacy. She was voted team MVP her sophomore and junior seasons and earned all-conference honors in the indoor and outdoor seasons both years.


She's re-set her own 800 record and broke the 1500 record last year with a time of 4:34.17.

But she's still got goals.

"I would really like to leave my senior year feeling like I gave everything that I have to give," said Kosobud. "More and more recently, I think that I could become an All-American. Time will tell. I've been able to train pretty well these past months and had a good base coming from the cross country season. I'm hopeful."

Kosobud is leaving her legacy in more ways than one.

"She's an outstanding student-athlete," said Blazers track and field coach Robin Balder-Lanoue. "There is no doubt about that. I wouldn't say someone like her comes around all the time. She's almost a 4.0. She's seeking to be All-American. She's just a great teammate and she will always do the right thing. She does all the little things to keep getting to the next level.

"She really is unique with just how much she will push herself and how much more she will do to get after her goals."

Kosobud was named the MIAC Track Athlete of the Week for Feb. 14. It was her third such honor. Kosobud was honored for winning the 800 meters in 2:15.56 at the CSB-SJU February Invite. It's the fastest time in the conference and has her ranked 12th nationally. She ran it while fighting off a week-long illness.

"We knew she needed to run a 2:15 and she ran a 2:15 and was done," Balder-Lanoue said. "In four years, she has never asked me to not run on the 4x4. She's always done it. No matter how tired she was, she always ran the 4x4. That week she looked me in the eye and said, 'How much do you really need me in this 4x4?' She gave more than she had to give that day. That's just who she is. You can't coach that. People just have it and you love it when you see it."


Balder-Lanoue called Kosobud a brilliant racer, a brilliant trainer and a role model for her teammates and possible recruits.

"Oh my goodness, I could talk to you for a day about her," said Balder-Lanoue. "Seriously, I would call her unflappable. I know that sounds like a silly term, but it's the no-excuse thing. There have been times where she comes in after being in boots during her first year and she had big goals. The time that she came back from studying abroad and didn't do the training she wanted to do-she didn't use that as an excuse. I remember being so upset and apologizing to me last year saying, 'I wanted to help the team more than I did.' She still helped the team tremendously, but in her eyes she could have done more."

The Blazers are gearing up for the conference indoor championships Feb. 24-25 in St. Paul. Kosobud plans on running the 800 and 1500. She'll take All-American honors in either event-or both.

"The 800 has always been my favorite event, ever since high school," Kosobud said. "There's a big part of me that wants to focus on the 800, but last season I had success in the 1500 and with my cross country base, that might be something that my body is more prepared for. If I had to choose, maybe the 800, but I'm not going to complain if I get my All-American in the form of the 1500."

Kosobud started as a biology/pre-med major, but moved into a pre-physician assistant major called integrated health science. She said the major gives her a more balanced approach to the human body. Balance being the key word for Kosobud, who has taken a balanced approach to her training.

"After dealing with injuries and having to focus more on being a healthy athlete, I'm incorporating cross-training into my workouts and just trying to keep in mind that if you're injured you're running isn't going to be where you want it to be," Kosobud said. "I've really learned to take a step back and take it easy on the days that need to be recovery days and then push myself on race days or workout days."

The soon-to-be graduate plans on taking a year off before she heads back to school. The plan is to return to Brainerd, work a year and head back to school. As for her running career?

"I'm a very competitive person so I think I'll ways want some sort of competition to be fueling my workouts and driving me when I'm running," Kosobud said. "Will I be exclusively running? Probably not. I might try some triathlons. I would like to dabble in that. I don't see myself doing marathons right now at any point in my life. That might change, but 26 miles seems like a lot to me."



Other area Blazers:

• Jenna Degen (sophomore, Brainerd, track and field): Ran a 9.51 in the 60-meter hurdle finals at the St. Olaf Ole Invite Feb. 17 to place second. Won the long jump with a 16-foot-10 effort and helped the Blazers' 4x400 relay to second. She competed in last year's MIAC indoor championship in the pentathlon.

• Mattia Hendrickson (senior, Little Falls, track and field): Placed 10th in the 3000 at the Pointer Alumni Open Jan. 14 with an 11:55.44

• Allison Crum (freshman, Brainerd, swimming and diving):

• Sara Wennerstrand (junior, Brainerd, softball): The Blazers softball team opens the season Feb. 26 with a doubleheader against University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and Martin Luther College at the Rochester Dome.

• Mariah Reed (sophomore, Pequot Lakes, hockey): Played in 17 games for the 4-18-3 Blazers, who finished the season with a 3-0 loss to Augsburg College Feb. 18.

• Hannah Moen (sophomore, Brainerd, golf): Blazers will begin the spring portion of their schedule March 9 at the Arizona Christian/Cedarville Triangular in Phoenix. She finished 21st in the MIAC Women's Golf Championship Oct. 8-10 with a three-round 250.


Alison Kosobud
Alison Kosobud

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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