Kara Bloomquist Drekonja ’96 Inducted 2012
Cross Country and Track & Field
Upon stepping onto campus in the fall of 1992, Kara Bloomquist Drekonja had one goal in mind — to become an All-American by the time she graduated from Gustavus. The Cottage Grove native did just that and more, developing into one of the most decorated runners in the history of Gustavus women's cross country and track and field. Although recruited more for her skill on the track, Drekonja proved herself on the course as the Gustavus cross country team burst onto the national stage in the early 1990s. A steely runner who used direct competition as her key motivator, Kara became the first cross country runner in Gustavus history to garner all-conference honors in all four years of competition. She took home all-region distinction in 1993, 1994, and 1995, and earned All-America honors twice after a 32nd-place finish at the 1994 NCAA championships and a 35th-place mark at the 1995 NCAA championships.
With an ice-cold game face and an affinity for rising to the occasion, Drekonja accomplished more of the same on the track. During her indoor career, she was an 11-time all-conference performer and a two-time MIAC champion, winning the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4.44.47 in 1995, and running the opening leg of the first-place 4x800-meter relay in 1993. Her outdoor track résumé includes eight all-conference performances. She broke a combined six school records in indoor and outdoor track and still holds indoor school records in the 1,000-meter run (2:59.84), 1,500-meter run (4:44.74), and 4x800-meter relay (9:40.55).
After graduating in 1996 with a major in nursing, Drekonja worked at United Hospital in St. Paul as a registered nurse in oncology for two years. While at United Hospital, she also served two years in Telemetry Stepdown/ICU and three years in the cardio-vascular lab. Drekonja later transitioned to Guidant/Boston Scientific where she worked as a product performance analyst and later as the senior technical services consultant. Kara currently works as a research nurse in cardiology at the Minneapolis VA Hospital. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Dimitri '96, and two boys, Andreas and Steffan.