FOREST CITY – Waldorf University announced on Monday that Kayla Kregel has been selected as the next head coach/director of cross country and track and field.
Kregel joins the Warriors after spending two years as an assistant coach at NCAA Division III's Penn State Erie, The Behrend College in Erie, Pa. She was also a standout track athlete at Decorah High School and Wartburg College.
"Coach Kregel has a proven drive and passion for success as a student-athlete at Decorah High School and Wartburg as well as an assistant coach at Penn State Behrend," said Waldorf director of athletics Denny Jerome. "I am confident that Coach Kregel will bring consistency to our men's and women's cross country and track and field programs."
Kregel is looking forward to guiding the Warriors to a new level.
"I'm extremely excited to grow the young programs here at Waldorf University and help the athletes realize and reach their potential," Kregel said. "Waldorf's cross country and track and field programs have a lot of potential for success in the future and I can't wait to be a vital part of it."
A native of Decorah, Iowa, Kregel returns to her home state to continue her coaching career.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity to bring my passion for cross country and track and field back to Iowa," Kregel said.
At Penn State Behrend, Kregel helped lead the men's and women's cross country programs to Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) titles in 2015 and 2016. Kregel was named the 2016 United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) NCAA Division III Mideast Region Women's Assistant Coach of the Year. The Lions captured two more conference titles, sweeping the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2017.
In her career at Penn State Behrend, Kregel coached four all-Americans and seven national qualifiers. The Lions also set 18 indoor school records and 13 outdoor school records during her tenure. The men's and women's track and field programs received USTFCCCA All-Academic honors during the 2015-16 academic year while the men's and women's cross country programs earned the same honor during the 2016-17 academic year. Three Penn State Behrend track and field athletes were also named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team in 2016.
Kregel graduated from Decorah High School in 2011. During her prep career with the Vikings, she was a three-sport athlete in track and field, basketball and volleyball. Kregel was a four-time state qualifier in track and field, reaching the state meet four times in the 800-meter sprint-medley relay, four years in the 4x400, twice in the 400, two years in the 4x800, two times in the 1,600 distance-medley and once in the 4x200. During her junior year, Kregel anchored Decorah High School's 800 sprint-medley relay, which took first place in the state meet with a time of 1 minute, 49.78 seconds.
Kregel spent four years at Wartburg where she continued to have a successful career on the track. During her freshman season, Kregel represented the Knights on a 4x400 relay which earned second in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) indoor meet and secured the conference title during the outdoor conference meet. In 2012, Wartburg went on to become the IIAC outdoor champion and the NCAA Division III champion.
As a sophomore, Kregel took part in a 3,200 distance-medley relay that locked up second at indoor conference. The 3,200 distance-medley relay claimed seventh (11:41.28) at indoor nationals, breaking the conference record in the process. During the outdoor season, Kregel's 4x400 relay secured the outdoor conference crown. Wartburg swept the indoor and outdoor conference meets as well as defended its outdoor national title.
During her junior year, Kregel's 4x400 relay captured first in the indoor conference meet and went on to place second (3:46.89) in the indoor national meet. She also charged to second in the 400 at the indoor conference meet while qualifying for indoor nationals. During the outdoor season, Kregel's 3,200 distance-medley relay clocked a time of 11:43.28, setting a school record. Her 4x400 relay secured first (3:45.30) during the outdoor conference meet while posting a meet record. Wartburg swept the indoor and outdoor conference meets for the second straight season. The 4x400 relay claimed second (3:42.75) in outdoor nationals as the Knights brought home their third consecutive national team title.
As a senior, Kregel helped guide Wartburg to first in the 4x400 and 3,200 distance-medley relay during the indoor conference meet. She also recorded a second-place finish in the 400. Wartburg qualified for indoor nationals in the 4x400. During the outdoor conference meet, Wartburg raced to first in the 4x800 and second in the 4x400. Kregel also locked up second in the 800 while guiding Wartburg to an outdoor conference title. During the outdoor national meet, she charged to eighth (2:11.73) in the 800 and her 4x400 relay team also captured eighth (3:52.34).
Kregel graduated from Wartburg in 2015 with a bachelor's of arts degree in fitness management. She earned a master's degree in business administration from Penn State Behrend in 2017.
Kregel is shooting for the program to grow in numbers while building upon Waldorf's success at the conference and national levels.
"I look for Waldorf's cross country and track and field programs to increase the roster size for both genders," Kregel said. I also want to compete at the top of the conference and work to qualify as many individuals as we can at the national level."