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Gross surpasses own expectations at USF

ALEXANDRIA — Brigitte Gross admits she surprised herself as a collegiate athlete.

As a freshman at the University of Sioux Falls four years ago, the Alexandria native had small goals for improvement, but all that changed with her coach’s encouragement.

Flash forward four years and Gross accomplished more than she’d imagine. She finished her career as USF’s most decorated athlete in track and field history, earning four NCAA All-American honors and three NAIA All-American honors.

In her senior season, she claimed an individual title at the 2014 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships and concluded her career with a runner-up finish at the Outdoor Championships Thursday in Allendale, Mich.

“Starting out, I didn’t think I would do as much as I did,” said Gross, who was coached by Reid Ehrisman and Chad Aurich at USF. “My coaches put dreams in my head that I didn’t think were possible at the time. They saw my potential and the things I could accomplish.”

After Gross’ freshman season, she said her coaches gave her a practice plan for the summer. She dedicated herself to the sport and saw immediate results the next season.

She set a school record in pole vault as a freshman at 12 feet, 8 inches and surpassed the mark as a sophomore by just under a foot.

“I saw the impact my sophomore year and after that happened, I knew they weren’t lying about what I could do,” Gross said.

Throughout her career, she’s won several Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference titles and owns the school record, which is set at 13-7.25.

She said she feels blessed to have been a part of a strong track and field program with the Cougars, but she doesn’t plan to stop there. Gross will continue training with Ehrisman and Aurich in hopes of qualifying for the Olympic Trials.

“I want to train at USF because I believe in my coaches,” she said. “I will be focusing on getting in shape and slowly working to progress.”

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.