2019 Owatonna High School graduate Sydney Kretlow is ready to make an impact with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers over the fields this fall as a cross country runner before taking to the track later in her freshman year.

Kretlow was a soccer player at OHS but will run cross country with the Gophers. She told the Gopher Sports website, "Being able to boost my endurance and my mileage and see how cross country will also help my track season. All of the girls on the team are so awesome. I like that it's more of a team setting than track can be." Minnesota hosts the mammoth Roy Griak Invitational September 28.

The chance to compete at the Division I level began to form a couple of years ago, "At the beginning of my junior year, I was contacted by Coach Hopkins. Before that I never really saw Division I being possible for me, so when the opportunity came up I visited other schools obviously but I fell in love with the university in the first place."

Roy Koenig/Townsquare Media (2017 photo)

"I was in soccer, gymnastics, and track and field throughout my high school career. In soccer, I played all over the place wherever my team needed me...In gymnastics, I was lucky enough to have a really successful team for four years. We had four consecutive state (meet) appearances, and we got third in the state three years in a row...In track, I went to state in my ninth and tenth-grade years. I ran the 800-meters, 400-meters, 4x800-meter relay, and the 4x400-meter relay."

Running wasn't always her first thought for a college sport, "I always thought I was going to play soccer and I had the chance to keep playing soccer, but with track I realized that I didn't have a high running age. I started running in seventh or eighth grade, so I knew that I had so much more room to improve as a runner than in soccer or gymnastics."

Kretlow indicated her educational interest might be elementary ed, "I love working with kids. That's always been something that I love to do. In high school, I was in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program."

Kretlow was named the Owatonna High School Oldenburg Senior Athlete of the Year in May along with her current classmate, and running back for the Gopher football team, Jason Williamson. Kretlow's older sister Steph is a track athlete for the University of St. Thomas

2018 Triton graduate Courtney West is listed as a redshirt freshman on the cross country team for the Gophers after starring as a cross country and track runner for the Cobras.