Nicholls head track & field coach places 3rd among women in New Orleans 5k — while 8 months pregnant

When Nicholls State University head cross country and track & field coach Stefanie Slekis decided to run in the annual Extra Yard 5k in New Orleans a few weeks before the event — while being in her third trimester of pregnancy for her second child — she just wanted to have fun in the race and see how well she could do.  

She ended up placing 3rd for women and 12th overall with a time of 17:59 at the race this past Sunday.  

“I really just enjoyed it and was like, Oh wow, I’m more competitive than I thought I was going to be,said Slekis, who started running in the 8th grade.  

Slekis credits the athletic training staff at Nicholls and physical therapist Billy Naquin at Thibodaux Regional for helping her achieve this feat. She said she had to reduce her running last year due to hip pain, but she was able to start feeling better in the weeks leading up to the event because of them. 

The Virginia native is no stranger to placing in races. She said she usually places anywhere from 3rd to 1st at running events in New Orleans.  

Her student athletes accomplished some major feats over the weekend, too.  

At LSU Purple Tiger at the Carl Maddox Fieldhouse in Baton Rouge on Friday, the opening meet of the 2020 indoor track and field season, eight Nicholls players set personal bests: Hailey Alcorn in the 400m (1:01.55), Kiara Bethley in the 60m dash (7.97), Eleana Callejas in the 600m (1:52.29), Faith Keter in the one-mile race (6:06.21), Omo Oboh in the 400m sprint (59.33), Chelsea Harrington in the long jump (18-.03.00), Eric Brown in the 600m (1:42.44) and Cameron Carter in the 600m (1:25.66). 

Oboh (60m hurdles in 8.89), Amiya Matthews (600m in 1:49.76)Callejasn (600m in 1:52.29)Elsa Rijpstra (3,000m in 10:50.36), Harrington (18-.03.00 in the long jump) and Briana Land (16-05.75 in the long jump) reached the All-Time Top 10 Nicholls Indoor Performers list for their respective events.   

It was a good start to their season, said Slekis, who is now in her third year of coaching at the university 

“In our sport, all you can do is achieve your personal best and see how that matches up with everyone else,” she said. “So, that’s our big thing is if everyone can be performing at their highest level, then we’re going to go into the championship as competitive as we can be.”  

What I like about being at Nicholls is the community and the support that we feel across all sports,” Slekis added. “I’ve met a lot of alumni that are really big supporters of all our teams, and they really make you feel welcomed and supported.”