A Talk with Future Gopher, Hopkins Runner Elsa Bergman


Hopkins high school has a storied history with sending runners to the University of Minnesota to compete in track and field and/or cross country. Distinguished alumni competing there currently include Seth Eliason, Leo Goodman, Eli Hoeft, Owen Hoeft, and Bit Klecker. Starting this fall, another Hopkins alumni will join the program in current senior Elsa Bergman. 

We at MileSplit Minnesota recently caught up with Bergman to talk about her running career so far, her commitment to the University of Minnesota, her future, and more!

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How did you first get involved in track and cross country?

I first joined cross country and track in 7th grade, because my mom was making me do a sport and I knew I didn't have enough hand-eye coordination to do anything else.

Last season you set new PRs in the 400m, 800m, 1600m, and 3200m, how do you plan to one-up that this season?

I'd like to PR in hopefully all of those again. I've also never really had an 800m race that I was happy with, so this year I'm trying to at least not have a PR that I've broken mid-1600m. I'm also doing more relays, like the 4x8 and 4x4.

See also: Minnesota Adds Immense Talent with In-State Recruits

What are some goals you have for your senior track and field season?

My main goal is just to improve all my times substantially. I'd also like to have races where I pace well, because so far all my races this year have been almost solo and I need to learn how to pace. Finally, I really want to enjoy my last season with my Hopkins coaches and teammates. 

You compete and practice with some other excellent distance runners in Sydney Drevlow and Daphne Grobstein. How do you guys push one another to be better?

It's super great to be able to run with Sydney and Daphne every day. I know some of the faster girls in the state have to do their workouts alone or with the boys team, but we're really lucky in that we can do almost all of our workouts together, or at least start the workout together. 

You are committed to run at the University of Minnesota, how did you choose to run there? Did you consider running anywhere else?

I never seriously looked into running anywhere else. Hopkins has a strong history of our runners going to the University of Minnesota, and I think this year we had 5 alumni running for the U. I loved the team culture for both athletics and academics, and I really wanted to stay close to home.

How does it feel to stay in state at Minnesota's top collegiate track/XC program?

I'm really thankful for all of my coaches for getting me to this place, and to the U coaches. Other than that, I'm just really excited to start practicing and competing with the team this fall!

What would you like to accomplish as a Gopher?

I hope to work really hard and improve time-wise and strength-wise each year. I want to graduate knowing I maximized the opportunities I had and did my best both academically and athletically.

What runners over your high school career have you enjoyed competing against the most?

I've raced against so many great athletes and teams that it's hard to pick just one or two. Having the opportunity to compete against the strong teams in the Lake Conference and Section 6AA and 6AAA has made me into the runner I am today, because I was always competing against the best in the state. 

What has been your favorite high school running memory thus far?

My favorite high school running memory was cross country sections in 2021. We originally thought it would be a close race for the second team with St Louis Park, but our whole team really pulled together and ended up getting second place behind Wayzata, and I think 40 points ahead of St Louis Park.