BEREA, Ohio – The Baldwin Wallace University women's track and field team is ready to challenge for an Ohio Athletic Conference title in 2018.
On the women's side, Coordinator of Cross Country & Track and Field and Head Track and Field Coach Matthew Cole returns 18 letterwinners from last year's team that placed fifth in both the 2017 Ohio Athletic Conference Indoor and Outdoor Championships. The BW women were picked to finish fifth out of 10 teams with 48 points in the 2017 OAC Indoor Coaches Poll.
"We are very excited about our women's program this year," Cole remarked. "Our women's cross country team took a very large step this past season and we look forward to adding those women into our already talented group of returners from last track season. Our women are on a mission to reclaim the OAC trophies that have lined the hallways here at BW for so many decades."
Sophomore All-OAC distance runners Kelly Brennan (Akron/Walsh Jesuit) and Bella Pendola (Warsaw/River View) headline the returners for the women. Brennan earned three separate All-OAC honors a season ago by placing second and third in the indoor 3,000- and 800-meter events, respectively, and third in the outdoor 1,500-meter event and just missed qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the 800-meter. Pendola was the runner-up in last year's indoor 5,000-meter event and is coming off a stellar cross country season where she earned All-Ohio, All-OAC and All-Great Lakes Region honors.
Freshmen Madison Kile (North Canton/Hoover) and Hastings Marek (Pataskala/Watkins Memorial) also had strong showings in the fall cross country season. Both freshmen earned All-Ohio honors at the 2017 Division III All-Ohio Championships while Marek earned finished second-team All-OAC at the cross country championships and Kile was an All-Great Lakes Region honoree. Marek and Kile will run both mid-distance and distance races for the track season.
Sophomores Hannah Allenson (Lakewood), Jordan Dascani (Toledo/Springfield), Katie Fowler (Mount Vernon), Claire Makowski (Bethel Park, Pa.) and Hannah Nagy (Belmont/Linsly) and freshman Katlyn Burns (Logan), Lizzy Gilreath (Mentor), Ellie Kohler (Telford, Pa./Souderton Area), Molina Otte (Omaha, Neb./Millard West), Rebecca Penrose (Springfield/Shawnee) and Megan Vaughn (Amherst/Firelands) are the other members of the women's cross country team that had a standout season and look to bring in a lot of points for the Yellow Jackets.
Just missing out on All-OAC honors a season ago was junior sprinter Grace Nemeth (Medina) as she finished fourth in the 200-meter dash at the conference meet. The junior hopes to crack the top-three as she races the 60- and 200-meter dashes in 2018. Freshmen sprinters Ky'leana Allen (Columbus/Bishop Hartley) and Haley Baker (Bluffton) look to hit the ground running as Allen will provide stiff competition in the 200- and 400-meter dashes and Baker in the 60- and 200-meter dashes.
After a season off, senior sprinter Carlynn Arthur (Danville) returns to the track for her final year as a Yellow Jacket while sophomore Beth Plas (LaGrange/Keystone) looks to improve on her career-best times from a season ago. Freshman Tonnetta Barnes (Cleveland/Early College) rounds out the sprinters as she hopes to make an impact in her first collegiate season.
In the field events, senior thrower Madeline Ziccardi (Cuyahoga Falls) and sophomore Brooke Buckhannon (Collins/Western Reserve) will look to use four years of combined experience to make a different in the shot put and weight throw events. Sophomore All-OAC thrower Jillian Roberts (Broadview Heights/Brecksville-Broadview Heights) finished second at the OAC Outdoor Championships in the shot put and has a good shot at qualifying for the NCAA Championships this season.
Other throwers hoping to hit their marks this season are senior Madison Phillips (Norwalk/St. Paul), sophomore Breeanna Karam (Dover), freshman Ashley Ackerman (Cranesville, Pa./Northwestern) and freshman Carol Foster (Diamond/Southeast).
Junior jumper Jessica Edwards (North Versailles, Pa./East Allegheny) will lead the way in the triple jump while freshmen Stephanie Magvas (Westlake/Magnificat) and Heather Orr (Indianapolis, Ind./Perry Meridian) will make headway in the high jump.
Rounding out the rest of the women's roster are junior jumper Abby Weagraff (Cochranton, Pa./Meadville), freshman jumper Abby Lewicki (Medina/Highland) and freshman jumper Kail Nicholas (Milwaukee, Wis./University School of Milwaukee) as each hopes to leave their mark on the scoresheet this season.
BW begins the indoor season on Friday, January 19, when the Yellow Jackets host the OAC North Split on the Harrison Dillard Track inside the Lou Higgins Center Fieldhouse. Field events will begin at 4 p.m. while running events will begin around 5 p.m. The Yellow Jackets also host the Dr. William Taraschke Classic on Friday, January 26, and the Mid-February Meet on Friday, February 9 during the indoor season and the 49th Sparky Adams Invitational on April 21 and the Harrison Dillard Twilight on May 11 inside George Finnie Stadium during the outdoor season.
The OAC Indoor Championships will be hosted by Capital University February 23-24 inside the Capital University Field House while Ohio Northern University hosts the OAC Outdoor Championships April 27-28.