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Varsity Athletics

Women's Cross Country

Carleton Athletics

Coaching Staff

Head Coach Donna Ricks, Women's Cross Country

Donna Ricks, Women's Track and Field Headshot

Head Coach: Donna Ricks
Phone: (507)222-4485

Record at Carleton:

  • 15 NCAA Championship appearances (1993, 1995, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • 8 MIAC Championships (2004, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017)
  • 7 MIAC Championships runner-up finishes (1993, 1995, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2016)
  • Total of 20 top-three MIAC Championships finishes in 24 seasons

Donna Ricks starting coaching at Carleton in 1993 and serves as professor of physical education, athletics and recreation, as well as head coach for the women's cross country and track and field programs. She is an 11-time MIAC Coach of the Year (1995, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017 in cross country; 2012 indoor track and field; and 2018 outdoor track and field) and has been selected 5 times as the USTFCCCA's Central Region Coach of the Year (2009, 2014, and 2017 for cross country; 2014 and 2016 for outdoor track and field).

Ricks led the Knights to the 2013-2014-2015 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) cross country titles, becoming only the third MIAC coach to lead a team to back-to-back-back conference titles. She has guided the program to 8 conference cross country team titles, including 6 of the last 8 years.

Under Coach Ricks, the Knights have made 15 NCAA Championships appearances: 1993 (16th), 1995 (16th), 2002 (20th), 2004 (11th), 2005 (13th), 2006 (16th), 2008 (23rd), 2009 (11th), 2011 (T-8th), 2012 (17th), 2013 (18th), 2014 (14th), 2015 (17th), 2016 (28th), and 2017 (5th).

The Knights have posted top-three MIAC Championships finishes 21 times in Ricks' 25 seasons, including the eight titles and seven runner-up finishes. Carleton has received the All-Academic Team Award every year since the program began in 1993.

Ricks came to Northfield after six years as head cross country and track and field coach at Minnesota State University-Mankato, where she earned a B.S. degree and an M.A. degree in athletic administration. As a student there, Ricks was a cross country and track and field standout and All-American performer. In honor of her accomplishments, Ricks' alma mater inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 1998 and named her the fifth-greatest female athlete to attend the school in the past century.

She served as the U.S. National Women's Heptathlon Coach in 1996.

Ricks resides in Northfield with her husband Dave (also the Carleton men's cross country and men's track and field head coach) and their daughter, Karissa.


Laura Roach, Cross Country HeadshotAssistant Coach: Laura (Roach) Albares '10
Phone: 507-222-7150

Laura (Roach) Albares returned to the Knights in August 2012 and serves as assistant coach with both the women’s cross country and track and field programs. She previously spent two years as an assistant coach at Hamline University.

Albares was a captain and four-year letter winner for the Knights in cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field. In cross country, she helped the Knights capture the 2009 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) crown and earned a trio of All-MIAC honors. She also ran three times at the NCAA Championships, improving her placement each instance and culminating with an All-American performance in 2009. On the track, she earned all-conference distinction four times and added All-MIAC honorable mention in eight additional events. Albares graduated with a major in biology and earned a Masters in Exercise Physiology from the University of Minnesota.


Ruth Steinke, women's cross country headshot, 2015Assistant Coach: Ruth Steinke '16

Ruth Steinke ’16 joined the coaching staff prior to the 2017 indoor track and field season and added duties as a cross country assistant over the summer. She completed her collegiate career as a five-time All-American as a distance runner, earning four of those awards during her senior season. She was a top honoree for the 2016 NCAA Woman-of-the-Year Award. Steinke became the second women’s cross country runner in school history to earn multiple All-America awards after placing fourth in 2014 and fifth in 2015. She added a runner-up result in the 5K and a fifth-place finish in the 3K at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships before closing her career with a fifth-place showing in the 5000-meter run at the 2016 outdoor national championships.