Over the last two decades, Tracy Hellman has elevated Augustana Cross Country/Track and Field to one of the premier programs in both Division II and all levels of the NCAA. The winner of 28 Coach of the Year awards, Hellman is undoubtedly recognized as one of the best coaches in the country.
Hellman began his Augustana tenure as the head cross country coach for both men and women in 2000. He was handed the reins of the men’s and women’s track & field programs in 2004. A coach with vision and a proven record of success at the championship level, 2020 marks the 21st season Hellman will direct tge Augustana Cross Country and Track and Field teams.
Behind stout performances from both the men's and women's programs, Hellman completed another impressive year on the course in 2019. Finishing top-three in every regular-season event they competed in, the success continued into the championship season. The Augustana men took home first place at the NSIC Championships, with Aaron Runge winning the individual title. Hellman was named the 2019 NSIC Cross Country men's coach of the year.
The Viking women took center stage at the NCAA Regional, running as a pack to an impressive win and central region championship. For the eighth time, coach Hellman was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) NCAA DII Central Region women's coach of the year. The Vikings beat out conference foe UMary for the title and finished with just 41 points, the second-lowest total in program history. Along the way, six student-athletes earned All-Region honors for the Vikings - one of just eight programs in the nation to have six or more honorees.
At the NCAA Championships, both the Viking Men and Women earned 6th place. On the men's side, Aaron Runge (16th) and Jesus Urtusuastegui (25th) earned NCAA DII All-America honors.
2018 marked another banner year for Augustana Cross Country. Following a pair of second-place finishes at both the NSIC Championship and NCAA Central Region championship, the Vikings men and women both competed well at the DII NCAA Championships. The men turned in a 10th place finish and the women finished 18th. For the Augustana men, Hellman secured their 9th top-ten finish in the last ten years.
Prior to the championships, the Augustana men's and women's cross country teams were honored with 11 NCAA DII All-Region honorees. The 11 honorees for the Vikingssares the most in program history and was the most of any team at the Central Regional Championships.
A phenomenal year on the course was then capped off with eight student-athletes earning the nation's highest academic honor. Six Viking women and a pair of men were recently named to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic team.
2017 was the start of something special for Hellman’s cross country program. The year saw the women’s team make it back to Nationals and the men’s team get back into the top-10, both with young teams. Hellman also tutored the 33rd women’s cross country All-American in Augustana history when Mackenzie Kelly finished in 25th at the NCAA Championships in Evansville, Ind.
The men’s team went on to capture their ninth straight NSIC title and their sixth consecutive Central Region championship and finish in eighth at Nationals, even after graduating it four top runners from 2016. Hellman had eight All-NSIC recipients, including NSIC Newcomer of the Year, Alec Kray, and six All-Region honorees. Hellman earned his ninth straight NSIC Male Coach of the Year accolade and his sixth straight Central Region Male Coach of the Year honor.
The women’s team returned to Nationals for the 11th time in 12 season and finished in 14th. The Viking women automatically qualified for the National meet after taking third at the Central Regional and also took third at the NSIC Championships. Hellman led Emily Tromp to being named NSIC Newcomer of the Year and had four All-NSIC selections and three All-Region performers.
In the classroom, Hellman’s Vikings excelled with nine Academic All-NSIC recipients (five women, four men).
In 2016, Hellman led the men's cross country to its eighth consecutive NSIC title and its fifth straight Central Region championship. Glen Ellingson was a repeat champion in the NSIC and had four runners earn All-Central Region honors. Hellman also had six runners earn All-NSIC honors. Hellman was named NSIC and Central Region Coach of the Year.
Hellman guided the men's team to a 12th-place finish nationally and Nathan Hauge earned All-American honors.
The women's team took fifth at the NSIC meet and eighth in the Central Region Championship. Hellman led Mackenzie Kelly to All-NSIC honors and Kelly, Annie Kruse and Alana Sesow earned All-Central Region accolades.
Academically, Hellman had six student-athletes earn USTFCCCA All-Academic accolades and had 10 student athletes earn Academic All-NSIC honors.
The 2015 season was a success for both the men’s and women’s teams. The men’s team won their seventh consecutive NSIC Crown behind junior Glen Ellingson who took home individual title. The women finished third at the NSIC Championship.
On the men’s side Hellman guided Glen Ellingson, Keegan Carda and Harald Karbo to First Team All-NSIC honors and Nick Larsen and Logan Burns to second team honors. On the women’s side he led Leah Seivert and Mackenzie Kelly to First Team All-NSIC honors and Annie Kruse to second team honors.
Both teams found similar success at the Regional with the men capturing their fourth straight regional title while the women finished third. It was the seventh straight season that Hellman has led both the men and women to the NCAA Championships.
At the national level Hellman guided the men to a seventh place finish, the seventh consecutive year finishing in the top-10, while the women finished 13th overall. Ellingson and Keegan Carda each earned All-America honors for the men and Leah Seivert earned All-America honors on the women’s side.
At the 2014 NCAA Division II National Championship Festival in Louisville, Ky. Hellman once again saw both his men’s and women’s team place in the top five nationally.
The men’s team finished in the top five for the third consecutive year with a meet points total of 136 while the women finished in fifth place with a points total of 138 points.
The Viking men were lead by junior Harold Karbo, who finished sixth overall with a time 30:40.05 and senior Adam Braun who placed 21st, with a time of 31:11.8. Under Hellmans watch the Vikings earned a program best four All-Americans: Karbo, Braun, Nathan Hauge (placed 32nd) and Glen Ellingson (placed 34th).
The Women’s team placed fifth overall for the programs fifth consecutive top five finish and the future looks bright under Hellman after being led by two freshman. Leah Seivert finished 10th overall with a time of 21:33 while Annie Kruse placed 36th with a time 22:02.9. Seivert and Kruse both earned All-American honors.
Hellman once again was recognized as the Central Region’s top coach winning the award for a third consecutive year after guiding his program to its third straight Central Region Title and having 12 runners earn All-Central Region honors.
In 2014, Augustana’s cross country teams returned to the hallowed ground of Spokane, Wash. and turned in two top-five finishes, including the highest men’s team and individual finishes in program history.
Paul Yak’s senior campaign was capped off by a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, leading the men’s team to a third-place team finish – both finishes were the highest ever in men’s program history and the fifth-straight top-10 national finish. Tom Karbo (11th) and Harald Karbo (19th) received All-American honors for their finishes at the national meet.
Kristin Brondbo (10th) and Runa Falch (24th) finished their storied careers under Hellman, collecting their fourth All-American honors each as they led the women to fifth place, their third-straight top-five finish.
Helmman nabbed his second-straight USTFCCCA Central Region coach of the year award after leading them to a near-perfect region title and collected his fifth-straight NSIC coach of the year title with a resounding victory that featured 10 athletes earning All-NSIC honors. Paul Yak was selected as USTFCCCA Central Region and NSIC athlete of the year for winning both region and conference individual titles. Glen Ellingson was named NSIC newcomer of the year as he finished 13th at the NSIC Championships.
Hellman received the South Dakota Sportswriters Male Coach of the Year Award for his accomplishments, leading the Vikings to their highest finish ever. Ten men received All-NSIC honors by finishing in the top 20 of the conference meet and seven more collected All-Region honors.
The women’s hopes for seven straight NSIC championships were dashed when they finished second, but four women were still honored as All-NSIC recipients and two more collected All-Region accolades two weeks later.
In 2011, for the first time in the program’s existence, Augustana won the NCAA Division II women’s national championship. Hellman was chosen women’s coach of the year by the USTFCCCA. It was the second national team crown in the history of Augustana athletics. The South Dakota Sportswriters Association tabbed Augustana the College Women’s Team of the Year.
The men won the NSIC championship for the fourth consecutive year in 2012. Hellman’s team was ranked as high as fourth in the nation and claimed the Central Region crown. It was the second regional title for the men’s program, the first coming in 1991. Seven Vikings were chosen all-conference and six received All-Central Region honors. Beniak was chosen Central Region Men’s Athlete of the Year for 2012. The men finished sixth in national championship competition in 2011 and 2010. Two of Hellman’s student-athletes have been named NSIC Athlete of the Year – Tom Karbo in 2010, and Paul Yak in 2011 and 2012.
Augustana’s women’s runners have received 18 All-America citations under Hellman. Falch and Brondbo are three-time recipients and Blakeslee a two-time winner. Six members of Hellman’s men’s teams have also earned All-America recognition.
Hellman is a four-time recipient of the NSIC women’s cross country coach of the year – 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. He was chosen the North Central Conference’s women’s coach of the year for 2007. He was designated the 2012 USTFCCCA Central Region women’s coach of the year in 2012 and was selected the College Female Team coach of the year by the South Dakota Sportswriters Association in 2010.
On the men’s side, he is a 10-time winner of the NSIC coach of the year – 2009-17, and 2019.