Elana Kresl will run track and cross-country for the Aggies
AZTEC — Four-sport athlete Elana Kresl will devote all of her attention to cross-country and track and field when she runs for New Mexico State University this fall.
Kresl signed her national letter of intent on Monday at Aztec High School. The senior said she's looking forward to running — and running only — for the first time in her life.
"I've been doing so many sports that I've never been able to focus on just one," said Kresl, who also played soccer and basketball during her high school career. "I'm really excited to see how good I can be."
Kresl received three offers to run track at the next level — including one from the University of Nevada at Reno — but said she has had her mind made up since last year.
"I actually knew of a couple girls that went and ran at NMSU, and they were pretty decent runners, so I thought, 'Wow, if they're going to run there, this might be a pretty decent program to look into,'" she said.
Track is in Kresl's blood. Her father, Joseph Kresl, earned a Reebok sponsorship while running for Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo., the same school where Elana Kresl's sister, Rachel, currently competes.
Elana Kresl said her dad even helped facilitate her commitment to NMSU by keeping an open dialogue with Aggies coach Joseph Rath since last fall.
"My dad kind of interviewed coach Rath himself, and then gave me his thoughts on him," she said. "My dad really liked him and liked how he handles his athletes, and I think I can progress with him."
Kresl has already qualified for state in the 800- and 1600-meter runs. In addition to the abilities she'll bring to the track, Aztec track coach Steve Lanier said he thinks Kresl's leadership will be valuable during her collegiate career.
"We saw it coming at cross-country that she was not only a leader for our girls, but for the boys as well," Lanier said. "Her work ethic is just unreal. She elevated our cross-country teams to new heights and helped us accomplish more than we have in years. And that carried over to track."
Kresl's work ethic is in full effect right now as she aims to accomplish her last remaining goals at the prep level.
"I'm going to try to win first at state in both events I qualified for," she said. "Hopefully, I'm going to qualify for the Great Southwest and then from there, just keep training and hopefully be in really good shape by the time cross-country starts."
NMSU competes in the Western Athletic Conference. The women's track and field team finished fourth out of eight schools in last year's WAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The women's cross-country team was also fourth out of eight at last year's WAC Championships, and 19th out of 19 at the NCAA Mountain Regional.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.