Kristi Rieger, for six years the National Scholastic Athletic Foundation’s Director of Special Events, has been named the Meet Director for the NSAF's Indoor and Outdoor Nationals, as well as the Great American XC Festival and other major Foundation competitions.
Rieger, based in Sioux Falls, S.D, just directed the NSAF’s extremely successful XC Town USA Meet of Champions, Presented by the Garrett Companies, in Terre Haute, Ind. this past weekend and has been associate director of the Foundation’s national championships and other meets during the past couple years. More than 15,000 athletes participated in the NSAF’s events in 2019.
NSAF Executive Director Jim Spier, who has directed the Foundation's national championships and other events since the NSAF’s inception in 1990, made the announcement in naming his successor Monday. Spier says he is transitioning into retirement and that while he will still be active in the Foundation, 2021 will be his final year as Executive Director.
“If you want any indication of the kind of person Kristi is, how about having a big XC meet where you sign a contract on October 5 and November 15 you execute it,” said Spier. “And it was one of the most successful meets we’ve ever had. In large part, it was due to Kristi because of her leadership capabilities, so I couldn’t be happier.”
Spier added that Rieger has been one of the keys to the NSAF’s running successful meets as long as she’s been involved with the Foundation. “Over the last several years, she’s taken more and more responsibility. She has a great history of running her NXN Regionals. As far as our Indoor and Outdoor meets, she’s basically taken over the past few years. So it’s an easy transition for me. I’m really happy and it’s in great hands.”
A coach of champions for 11 years at Sioux Falls Roosevelt HS, Rieger made her first foray into large-scale meet direction when she was named by the NSAF to direct the Nike Heartland Regional in 2007 – back when the Foundation was managing NXN. That Heartland meet has become the most well-attended of the Nike Cross Regionals, drawing 3,700 athletes. Rieger started volunteering at NSAF national meets around the same time, moving into larger and more significant roles each year and becoming a full-time employee of the Foundation in 2014.
“These are huge shoes to fill and I just feel so lucky that Jim and the Foundation took me under their wing and have taught me how to be a successful meet manager,” she said. “I never really managed large-scale events until these guys came along and took a chance on me and saw something in me, that I could do this and do it well. Somebody told me once that when you find that perfect job, you’ll never work another day in your life and that’s exactly how I feel.”
“When somebody gives you a chance, it inspires you to do better, to be better and to learn,” she added. “And that’s what I’ve done the past 10 years. It’s been an honor to learn from the best in the business, not only Jim but the rest of the Board. They’re pros at what they do and there’s nobody better to have an opportunity to learn from. We have such a great team at the NSAF. Everybody within this organization has their role and does their job, and does it so professionally. I’m just proud to be part of this organization and to work hard to help the Foundation along every day.”
Rieger was also thrilled with the joy that the XC Town USA Meet of Champions, held on the historic LaVern Gibson Championship XC Course, brought to so many.
“Yesterday was a fabulous day, and Jim is right in that for this Foundation to be able to pull that together as well as we did in a matter of weeks, it was a great feeling,” she said. “It was great to fill that void for these kids; they’ve missed big events this year and it was just such a great feeling to watch them be so excited about the sport and for them be so grateful for the opportunity that this Foundation gave them this weekend.”
Rieger said that she welcomes the challenge of leading the Foundation’s events through the current COVID-19-impacted environment. “It doesn’t scare me because this Foundation is rooted so deep and there’s so many great people within the Foundation that there’s no way it can fail. It can only continue to get better than it is today with the people that Jim has brought on and trusted to work for this Foundation. I’m excited for the future and what it holds.”
CONTACT: Steve Underwood, Director of Media & Public Relations, NSAF
About the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation, Inc.
The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) was founded in 1990. It is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization with the mission of opening doors to the world for our youth, through athletics, and providing them opportunities to succeed. That includes supporting high school and junior-aged track and field athletes in the US through national high school competitions, including the NSAF Indoor and Outdoor Nationals; The Great American XC Festival and HBCU Challenge; and the American Javfest and Ironwood Throws Classic. It also includes Team NSAF international competition and team-building events in Cuba and Iceland; clinics and event-specific special projects, such as Project Javelin Gold and Project Triple Jump; vigorous grant programs, which enable high school athletes to compete around the country, at USATF Junior Nationals, and internationally; and with program development grants, which are awarded in the winter and fall each year. The NSAF provides approximately $250,000 in grants annually. For more information about the NSAF, please visit NationalScholastic.org.