- Program Philosophy
- Coaching Staff
- Cross Country Stats
- Lettering in Cross Country
- Alumni Cross Country in College
As a cross county program, we are committed to the four pillars of Totino-Grace High School. We strive to find a balance among Faith, Community, Service and Learning. It is understood that all four of these pillars can and will be expressed during the cross country season.
We are a no cut program, and encourage all ability and experience levels. The goal of cross country at Totino-Grace is to help young people learn the valuable life skills which competitive sports can offer. Cross country will teach the value of teamwork, sportsmanship, dedication, persistence and good work ethic throughout the athlete's entire life.
Coach Anthony Zeller
Coach Zeller has previously coached cross country at the middle and high school levels for six years in the Lakeville North school system. Additionally, he has coached highly successful Lakeville Soccer Club teams.
Coach Zeller has a love of running, having completed 22 marathons (including 2 in Japan), an ultramarathon and two Ironman triathlons, in addition to countless other shorter races.
Coach Zeller welcomes anyone to join the Cross Country team. "I have found that runners are some of the most supportive and encouraging athletes. Cross country is for anybody, regardless of their prior athletic experience. If you show up with a positive attitude and a willingness to work, you can't help but improve. As a no-cut sport, everybody gets to participate. In fact, it is one of the few sports where the athletes are actually trying to reduce their "playing time"! So whether you are looking to run your fastest time, get in shape for another sport or just be a part of something special, cross country is for you."
This will be Coach Steffensmeier’s second season coaching at Totino-Grace. He was a two-time state champion in Iowa for cross country, Nike Nationals qualifier, and state runner-up in the 800. Since high school, Coach Steffensmeier has run numerous 5ks, 4 half-marathons, and is currently training for his first full marathon. He loves how social running is and is excited to help runners crush some PRs this season!
Coach Laura is a Totino-Grace alumni and this is her first season coaching cross country at Totino-Grace. She is also one of the assistant coaches for hurdles and sprints for the track and field team. Before coaching, Laura competed in the Pentathlon and Heptathlon for the University of St. Thomas’s track and field team.
Last 10 years:
Team (Girls) Sections:
Team (Boys) Sections:
2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017 State qualifier: Emilie Meyer
2020 State qualifier: Marshall Loveland
2020 All Conference: Emilie Meyer, John Nord, Marshall Loveland, and Aidan Thomas
2019 All Conference: John Nord, Marshall Loveland, Emilie Meyer
Interested in lettering in cross country? Here's how:
- 15 Points are required to earn a letter
- 4 Year Senior automatically earns a varsity letter
- If you ran track the previous season 4 points
- Returning Runner 2-2nd year, 3-3r year 2-3 points
- 150-249 miles If you ran these miles during the summer 4 points
- 250+ miles If you ran these miles during the summer 6 points
- If your time was in the top 7 for our team after a meet (Top # will vary on team size) 2 points per meet
- If you ran at Sections (Top 7) 4 points
- For each person you recruit that finishes the season in good standing, you earn 1 point
- Coach's Discretion
Check out this list of alumni who are currently running or did run cross country in college!
- Emilie Meyer - Drake University
- Aidan Thomas - St. Johns University
- Ally McSherry - University of Minnesota
- Taylor McDonald - North Dakota State University (NDSU)
- Darian Winslow - NDSU
- Joe Louiselle - NDSU
- Amy Gasperlin - Marquette
- Amber Matzoll - St.Thomas
- Adam Braun - Augustana University
- Steve Dato - Iowa State
- Michaela Brands - Creighton University
- Maggie Louiselle - University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire
- Jenna Lindstrom
- Isaac Riegel
- Michael Berg
- Myla Voelker
- Matt Jacobson
- Kampe Hunter
- Jack Bierbaum
Jenna is a 2021-22 school year senior captain.
"When I went into my freshman year, I signed up to run cross country at Totino-Grace. During my freshman year, I was on JV. Throughout my that season, I did pretty well and consistently ran twenty-six to thirty-minute 5k’s. Then my sophomore year hit and I made varsity because I had been running over the summer. Towards the end of my sophomore season, I got my personal record of 22.54. Then Covid-19 happened during my junior year, which came with some changes. It is now my senior year. My first meet went well because I put the work in over the summer so I was prepared. I am forever grateful for cross country for giving me a sport that has an amazing team aspect and giving me something that I can excel at. I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season turns out, not only for me but the whole team. We have a young team this year and I am excited to see everyone’s growth throughout the season."
Isaac is a 2021-22 school year senior captain.
"When I first joined cross country I didn’t want to do it because I thought all it was going to be was running fast for long distances. After my first day I still thought that because I made the very poor decision of running with the seniors who had been running all summer. After that, I decided to not run that fast and it quickly led to me realizing that this sport is way more fun than people think. You get to know the people on the team really well. Once you know everyone on the team, practice feels more like hanging out with friends, which makes the runs feel short. You also have a lot of jokes with the people you run with!
My favorite race was my freshman year sections race. On the bus ride to the race a senior, Jacob Bucu, told me that if I beat him in the race he would give me a car. We had always ran together, but he had always beat me by about thirty seconds to a minute. That race I ran with him for the first two miles and then decided that I wanted a car. I ended up beating him by a couple of seconds. The next day when he came into school he gave me car keys, which I knew were his. After a few seconds he took them back and handed me a toy car. On the car he wrote the time I ran and the date. I still have that car next to my bed to remember that race and that year of cross country as a whole.
After being on cross country for four year I can say that joining was one of the best decisions of my life. I used to dread going to practice, but now I’m excited every day. Instead of practice, it now just seems like I am going to hang out with friends for two hours before going home and doing homework. It also allowed me to meet people from school that I otherwise would have had no contact with.”
Brooke is a junior captain for the 2021-22 school year.
"My cross country career started when I was a freshman. Not knowing what cross country was all about I went on a whim and decided to try it. I didn’t know anyone on the team going into it. I was nervous and shy. In the end, I enjoyed it so much and have never turned back since.
One of my favorite experiences in cross country is a freshman year race I had at Rice Creek Park. The laps were a bit different, one loop a little longer than the other. It was towards the end of the race. I was feeling really tired. I knew we were close to the finish, but my mind had given up. One of my teammates was a step ahead of me and noticed I was struggling. She started to talk to me, telling me to come right next to her and that I could do it. Without that encouragement, I could not have finished the race as well as I did.
From this experience, my perception of what I thought I could do changed to what I could achieve. Cross country is one of those sports that takes a harder toll on both mind and body. Having that positivity can make a huge difference. I know that Coach Zeller is a very avid ambassador of a positive mindset and I am too. Find something that helps you in races, practice, or even out of the sport to keep that positive mindset. Nothing can hold you back when you believe in your abilities."
Michael is a junior captain for the 2021-22 school year.
"I have been running cross country for five years and I think it has changed my life. When I first started out running in 7th grade, it was a wild experience. I was told to go run four miles day one and thought my coach at the time was a sadist. However I pushed every day to try to get better at the sport. Totino-Grace’s program for cross country was one of the best things to ever happen to me. During middle school, the team was very divided by grade and it was always strange to talk with those who were in other grades. In contrast to this my first day at TG was full of acceptance and excitement even when I first showed up. I think that having the role models in the form of the upperclassmen helped to shape me as a persona and to inspire me to be that person to the incoming freshman.
This year in cross country I believe we have a lot of role models on the team. All of the upperclassmen work hard to encourage the underclassmen and it even can be seen that underclassmen are taking up the role as leaders and are trying to lead their fellow runners. This is very encouraging to me because we can see and feel growth out there on our courses. Life these past few years has been hard but we runners have grit and a determination that allows us to push past these barriers with a smile on our faces.
All in all, this team has given me so much to think about in the past few years and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. The bonds that have been formed, the traditions upheld, and memories made have shaped me into someone I never thought I would be. If you told me this is what my life would be like five years ago I would have called you crazy but I think this crazy ride has all been worth it."
Myla is a sophomore runner.
"Coming into cross country, I had no prior experience running. It was definitely a rough start and took time getting used to. I remember the first time I ran two miles without stopping, I felt so happy and that was when I finally felt like this wouldn’t be so difficult. I PRed on our last meet last year and I was the happiest I’d ever been for a sport. It felt so good to accomplish that goal and to know I made progress. That feeling is what pushes me to do better.
This year has been so much different because we have gotten the chance to bond with each other. Including going to Whitewater, having pasta feeds, and watching all of the races at meets. The cross country community is truly something different that I’m glad to be a part of."
Matt is a senior runner.
"This is my second year running cross country at TG. About two weeks after my decision [to run on the team], I headed off with the team to the St. Croix camp. I knew after the bus ride to the camp that I had made the right decision.
Cross country has created bonds and friendships for me that will last a lifetime. If I had never done cross country I would not have met some of my closest friends. I would recommend to everyone to just try it. I always say that you don’t have to be a good runner or a fast one to enjoy it."
Junior Cross Country Runner
"Prior to running cross country, I played many sports including volleyball, soccer, and softball and was taught that running was a punishment. However, I have learned that it is the channel to success. There is nowhere to hide, you work hard or become revealed. Even though cross country is technically running, it’s really so much more than that. I love hanging out with my team and getting to go and experience all the fun stuff that we do!
As I’ve gotten more into running I’ve learned your mindset affects a lot of things. A positive mindset while running will make hills seem easier, a fast pace seem less challenging, and a PR more reachable. When I’m racing I always tell myself “you can do this”. I’ve realized this mindset doesn’t only work for running, it works for anything and everything. When studying for a test seems hard, “you can do this”, when facing personal challenges “you can do this”, when your schedule seems overwhelming “you can do this”. I tell myself “you can do this” because I know I can. I love working hard because I love proving to myself that I can do hard things. It’s been fun to see everyone work hard together as a team. I love the team aspect and am looking forward to a good rest of the season!"
Senior Cross Country Runner
"This is my first year running cross country. My journey as a distance runner started in track. Honestly, I don’t know why I decided to join the distance team but one thing that kept me there was the positivity from the group. Early on I felt like quitting. The first two weeks were very painful and after the two-mile time trial, I was done. Thanks to the positivity and support from the seniors as well as the coaches and them pushing me every day to do my best are some of the reasons why I decided to stay and do cross country. I think that the positivity that a group brings can make the team better and younger or inexperienced runners like myself are more likely to stay and continue to run.
This year running cross country has been one of the best experiences of high school for me. Whether it is going on runs with the team and making jokes, talking sports, or whatever is on our mind makes the running experience better. The races this year have also been fun as well and some of the most fun and competitive experiences that I have ever had in my athletic career. I think that there are very few things that can top a race and the rush of adrenaline that you get from it.
In conclusion, I feel like joining cross country was the best thing to ever happen in my life. I got to meet a lot of great people, get in good shape and become a better person. I find it kind of weird that I decided to join this sport because if you told me freshman year I would be a cross country runner senior year I wouldn’t believe it. Everyone has that one regret about high school I think it is easy for me to say that my regret is not joining cross country earlier."