By Benjamin Wideman / SLC Sports Information Director
MANITOWOC, Wisconsin — What started out as a backup plan quickly developed into the ideal situation for Rebecca Krueger.
Last fall, during her junior year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rebecca toured Silver Lake College in case things didn't pan out with the UW-Madison nursing program.
Once she arrived on campus, "I really liked everything about Silver Lake and knew I wanted to come here," she said.
Silver Lake College offers Rebecca the best of both worlds academically and athletically. In addition to being enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program and getting to learn via its state-of-the-art technology, she's also a member of the women's cross country team.
The Waukesha native intended to pursue Animal Science at UW-Madison since she worked as a veterinarian technician for about four years in high school and college. Instead, she transitioned to nursing, which runs in the family. Her mother, Nancy, recently retired as an operating room nurse, and three of her aunts and several cousins also have served as nurses.
"I feel like I've been around it for a while, and I'm excited about being a nurse," Rebecca said.
"And I like that I'm at a smaller school, because right away after I met with (Assistant Director of Admissions-Operations) Ryan (Roberts) and Brianna (Neuser, director of the SLC nursing program), they knew who I was and remembered me by name. At Madison, if you tour anything you have to go through six different options on the phone. You're really just a number there. With Silver Lake it's more personal."
Being part of a close-knit community also inspired Rebecca to resume cross country running — a sport in which she hadn't previously participated at the college level. Her parents, Thomas and Nancy, were avid marathon runners, which paved the way for Rebecca to start running as a sixth-grader and continue throughout her days at Waukesha South High School.
Ironically, she learned about Silver Lake College's cross country team when Ryan Roberts, who then was the team's head coach, saw a T-shirt Rebecca was wearing during her campus tour.
"Ryan saw that it said 'cross country' on it, but I don't think he saw the word 'skiing' by it, because it was a cross country skiing T-shirt," she said with a chuckle. "But that was OK, because I like them both. I wasn't even thinking about being on a sports team, but that got me thinking about it. I was pretty excited, because I loved running cross country in high school."
In both high school and college, Rebecca participated on cross country skiing teams (in fact, her favorite athletes are cross country skiers Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins). To stay in peak condition for skiing, Rebecca often used running as cross training in the off-season.
"So I'm pretty much picking up where I left off," she said. "Everything coach (Benjamin Reed) says, the running language is familiar to me. It feels good to be back in it. I really like being part of a team."
Coach Reed appreciates having Rebecca on the team as well, saying, "She has an excellent work ethic and will be a key asset for our team. I'm excited to watch her progression."