MOORHEAD — The Concordia Cobbers turned to another former North Dakota State running great to lead their cross country program.

Concordia named Maddie Van Beek to take over as head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country teams, taking over for Laura (Hermanson) Januszewski, who recently left the program to take a job closer to home at Pelican Rapids (Minn.) High School.

Van Beek and Januszewski were both All-Americans at NDSU.

“The opportunity to work as a head coach right here in the Fargo-Moorhead community was really exciting to me,” said Van Beek, who graduated from NDSU in 2015. “It’s been really cool to see Concordia cross country really gain some momentum the last couple years. … It was the perfect opportunity for me.”

Van Beek, from Perham, Minn., qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials in the marathon and competed in the 2016 trials in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. She ranks on NDSU’s top five lists in multiple distance races.

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Van Beek is also set to be an assistant coach for the Concordia track and field program.

“She has an incredible competitive background and will care deeply for our student-athletes,” Concordia athletic director Rachel Bergeson said. “Maddie will be an asset to our cross country and track and field programs.”

Van Beek has served as a volunteer assistant coach for NDSU in cross country and track since 2015. She said former NDSU women’s head coach Ryun Godfrey, current Bison women’s head coach Stevie Keller and Bison assistant coach Andrew Carlson are among her top coaching influences and mentors. Van Beek added Jeff Morris, who coached her in high school, was also an important influence.

“My main goal in my career was to be able to work with young people whether that be as a teacher or as a coach,” said Van Beek, a 2010 Perham High School graduate. “I’ve had such awesome teachers and coaches in my life that have really encouraged me and helped me grow. … There’s been awesome mentors along the way. I’ve always wanted to get into coaching for that reason.”

Van Beek said she was interested in the Concordia job once she saw it had opened. She also leaned on Januszewski for advice as she pursued the Cobbers opening.

“She’s someone that I always looked up to as someone who is a really tough competitor,” said Van Beek, who plans to continue to train for her running career, with goals of competing at a high level, while coaching.

Van Beek said Bergeson, Concordia head men’s track coach Garrick Larson and head women’s track coach Marv Roeske helped make her decision easy.

“Everyone was just awesome,” Van Beek said. “I immediately got a really good vibe from being on campus. That really got me excited about working with the athletes and the staff at Concordia.”

Van Beek said Janusewski has the cross country program trending in a positive direction.

"They’ve had some really strong performances,” Van Beek said. “That’s been really cool to follow so that was exciting to me. Hopefully, we can keep that rolling. … It will definitely be challenging and there will be a learning curve for sure, but I’m ready to take on the challenge.”