BEREA, Ohio - The Baldwin Wallace University women's track and field team will be led by a mix of upperclassmen with championship experience and talented underclassmen who will take the team to new heights in the Ohio Athletic Conference in 2022.
Jordan Hill '09, in her fourth season as head coach, returns a roster that includes seven seniors, seven juniors, and seven sophomores from last year's team, which finished fifth at the OAC Indoor Championships. Two OAC champions and national qualifiers are among the returning athletes. Hill also welcomes 19 freshmen on the team this year.
"I cannot wait to see what this season brings for us. Our schedule is set up to be competitive and give us the experience and opportunities needed to be ready for our post-season." Hill said. "The growth they have shown since fall training alone has been exponential and impressive. While we have a lot of fresh faces that I know will surprise the competition, I'm also confident in big time performances we'll see from returning faces. It's going to be exciting watching this team every week, playing off each other and using their strengths to do some great things together."
Two of the returning OAC champions and national qualifiers are junior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC distance runner Alyssa Laughner (Howard, Pa./Central Mountain) and sophomore All-OAC Hope Murphy (Mogadore). Both coming off a strong end to their cross-country season. Murphy was named OAC Runner of the Year, won the OAC Championship and qualified for the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship. The previous track season, Murphy won the 800-meter title at the OAC Championship and also received USTFCCCA All-Great Lakes Region Honors in the 800-meter. Laughner was selected for two OAC Runner of the Week awards while also winning the Wittenberg Invitational and Allegheny Classic in cross country. The past track season, Laughner was award All-America Honor at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Rounding out the distance crew are junior Academic All-OAC student-athlete Maddie Miller (Medina), sophomores Cassandra Kolonchuk (Canal Winchester), All-OAC Kamaria Montgomery (Louisville / Canton GlenOak), freshmen Jaelyn Jaquay (Cherry Valley, N.Y. / Springfield Central), Maura Devine (Baden, Pa. / Ambridge Area), Ellie Burns (Louisville, Ky. / Assumption), Molly Skinner (Dayton / National Trail), Cori Wentz (Mansfield / Ontario), Erica Bowers (Martinsburg, W. Va. / Hedgesville) and Jensen Wolfe (Somerset / Sheridan).
Across the track, senior All-OAC performer Ky'leana Allen (Columbus/Bishop Hartley) leads the sprints group. Allen has earned two All-OAC accolades as a member of third-place distance medley relay and 4x400 meter relay team.
Also lining up on the blocks are senior Nina Curry (North Olmsted), sophomore Alexis Gozdan (Canton / Massillon Perry), junior Hannah Pack (Minster), freshman Samantha Varga (Louisville / Lake Center Christian), Julie Childers (Kempton, Ind. / Tri-Central), Makenna Voytek (Valley View / Cuyahoga Heights), Grace Beil (Boardman), Jordan Morman (Cleveland Heights) and Abigail Collier (Dublin / Coffman) who will each provide stiff competition on the track. In addition, junior Elise Leeds (Lockport, N.Y. / Akron Central School), Morman, Voytek and Gozdan will comprise the hurdle crew.
Highlighting the returning field student-athletes junior Abby Rodriguez (Grandview, Wash./Prosser) had a breakout performance at last year's OAC Outdoor Championships when she placed second in the shot put and looks to continue to lead the way into 2022. Sophomore Selena Shelley (Mentor) look to make an impact out in the field and to add some points to the BW team score as she climbs up the podium.
Other throwers looking to make an impact are juniors Olivia Bowser (Seville/Medina), Lilly Johns (Garrestville / James A. Garfield), Elizabeth Schultz (North Olmsted), sophomores Bella Fredriksen (Hamburg, N.Y. / Hamburg), Sarah Pounder (Vienna, Va. / George C. Marshall), freshmen Avery Wilks (Fruitport, Mich. / Fruitport), Emily Torres (Berea / Berea-Midpark), Catherine Dial (Cleveland / Saint Joseph Academy), and Karah Boesel (Nova / Mapleton).
The women jumpers having young talent, starting with Emily Randall (Mount Gilead) in the high jump, who looks to move up heading into her sophomore year. Also, a part of the jumpers senior Gloria Jurisek (Cleveland / Normandy), freshmen Abigail Lorincz (Avon), Beil, Gozdan, and Pack.
The Yellow Jackets will begin their schedule on Sunday, January 22, at the Otterbein Invitational at the Clements Recreation Center. BW will host Dr. Taraschke Team Challenge on Saturday, Janurary 29, and Mid-February Meet Sunday, February 11, both on the Harrison Dillard Track inside the Lou Higgins Center Fieldhouse.
The OAC Indoor Championships will be hosted by Mount Union, February 25-26 inside the Peterson Fieldhouse. The OAC Outdoor Championship will be hosted by the Yellow Jackets on May 5-6.