MOORHEAD — When Concordia assistant track coach Laura Januszewski watched senior Josie Herrmann compete at the recent Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference outdoor championships, Januszewski didn’t need a stopwatch to evaluate Herrmann.

Herrmann’s presence told the story.

“I watched the way that she carries herself on the track this year compared to her first year,” said Januszewski, a former North Dakota State women’s track standout. “You can just tell that it’s all business. She runs with such confidence and controls the races.”

That poise and confidence translated into two outdoor conference titles for Herrmann, who is from New Prague, Minn. She took first place in the women’s 800 meters and 1,500 meters, running personal-best times in each event.

Herrmann crossed the finish line in the 800 in 2 minutes, 11.67 seconds and clocked a 4:33.94 in the 1,500. Herrmann improved her top time in the 1,500 by around eight seconds.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

“I shocked myself,” Herrmann said of her performance at the conference meet.

Herrmann qualified for the NCAA Division III Outdoor championships in both events. The meet starts Thursday, May 27, in Greensboro, N.C. She has a top 10 time in the 800 and a top 15 time in the 1,500 time entering the national meet.

“My freshman year self would not expect to see this today,” said Herrmann, who worked out more with the sprinters during her first year at Concordia.

Januszewski has helped coach Herrmann the past three years, including cross country. Herrmann has grown into an All-American type performer. Janusewski was hired as the school's head cross country coach and assistant track coach in 2018.

“It has been so fun to watch her develop,” said Januszewski, who was an All-American performer in the 800 meters at NDSU. “The girl has just saddled up and done everything right to put herself where she is right now. She’s just a workhorse and a genuinely, extremely good person.”

Concordia Cobbers senior Josie Herrmann won the women's 800 and 1,500 meters at the recent Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference outdoor track and field championships. She ran her personal best times in both events. Nathan Lodermeier / Concordia Sports Information
Concordia Cobbers senior Josie Herrmann won the women's 800 and 1,500 meters at the recent Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference outdoor track and field championships. She ran her personal best times in both events. Nathan Lodermeier / Concordia Sports Information

Januszewski said her mom, Brenda Hermanson, likened Herrmann to Januszewski as runners and competitors.

“ 'I see a lot of similarities in Josie that I see in you,' ” Januszewski said, recalling her mom’s words. “My mom loves watching Josie run.”

Herrmann said Januszewski has played a key role in her development.

“She’s just continued to push me past limits I did not think I ever had in me, looking back at high school,” Herrmann said. “I admire her so much as a female athlete, historically, and currently she’s a mom of five children and she’s so awesome and so powerful. I look up to her so much. She’s had a huge impact on my life for sure.”

The 5-foot-6 Herrmann was a three-sport athlete in high school, also playing soccer and basketball. She injured her ACL while playing soccer during the fall of her senior year. That slowed her development as a runner as she headed into her first year at Concordia. As a sophomore, Herrmann went out for cross country as she started to shift to more of a middle distance runner.

“Once cross country came around, that was definitely a mental and physical challenge for me,” Herrmann said.

Concordia senior Josie Herrmann is set to compete in the NCAA Division III outdoor championships in the women's 800 and 1,500 meters. Jim Cella / Concordia Sports Information
Concordia senior Josie Herrmann is set to compete in the NCAA Division III outdoor championships in the women's 800 and 1,500 meters. Jim Cella / Concordia Sports Information

Januszewski has been impressed with Herrmann’s resilience, from working through injuries, including stress fractures earlier in her Concordia career, to losing last outdoor season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“She’s gone through a lot of stuff and battled back every time and that’s the sign of a true champion,” Januszewski said. “She’s been relentless.”

After her track career is completed, Herrmann plans to take next school year off before continuing her schooling to become a physician's assistant.

Herrmann wants to make the most of her final races for Concordia.

“This is going to be it for my track running career and I want to PR (personal record) and I want to place in the top 10,” Herrmann said. “I’m super grateful that we have the chance to be competing like we are.”