The Baldwin Wallace University women's cross country program has a rich heritage of excellence and is one of the best in Ohio, the Ohio Athletic Conference and in NCAA Division III. Head Coach Bill Taraschke's goal every year is to make his program for cross country and track and field the best in the nation for NCAA Division III schools. Having fun and building a family atmosphere also is just as important to Taraschke and his staff.
"Our young people run, have fun and build lifelong friendships,"
said Taraschke, who enters his 24th season as cross country coach
in the fall of 2014. "Our student-athletes compete first and
foremost in the classroom and have had great success both in cross
country and track. Our intent is to build a family
With Taraschke as its coach the past 23 years (through the Fall season of 2013), the Yellow Jacket women have competed at the NCAA Division III National Cross Country Championship Meet six times. BW was an all-time school-best 12th in the nation in 2000-2001. In addition, the Yellow Jackets were 17th in 1995-96, 18th in 1999-2000, 20th in 2001-2002, 21st in 1994-95 and 29th in 2009-10.
Individually, four Yellow Jacket student-athletes, Peggy Fortune (1991), Shawn Conley (1994), Jessica Carmona (1997) and Kim Chinn (2011) each have earned NCAA Division III All-America status by placing in the Top-35 runners at the national meet. Carmona was an all-time best eighth in 1997-98 and Chinn placed 13th in 2010-11.
In 2009, the Yellow Jacket women captured the program's 16th OAC Championship and 12th under Taraschke. The 16 titles are more than twice as many as any other OAC school since the league began recognizing women's championships in 1985. In 2009, BW also hosted the NCAA Division III National Championship Meet (sponsored by the Cleveland Sports Commission).
In the 1990s, the BW women dominated the OAC and won seven conference team titles, including an OAC-record six straight from 1992-97. In 27 seasons of successful competition for women in the OAC, BW has claimed 16 championships. In addition to the OAC-record streak of six straight titles, BW has two other streaks of four straight crowns (1986-1989 and 1999-2002). The other two titles were in 2007 and 2009.
The program has been led by some outstanding competitors, including 12 OAC individual champions:
- Martha Dora (1987)
- Lisa Winans (1988)
- Jennifer Schafer (1992)
- Tina Lokar (1993 and 1996)
- Shawn Conley (1994)
- Jessica Carmona (1997)
- Hannah Pudy (1999, 2000 and 2001)
- Lindsay Brickner (2007)
- D'Arcy Hlavin (2008)
Purdy is the only OAC women's runner to ever
win three individual titles and Lokar is one of
two to capture a pair of crowns.
The women's program originally began in the late 1970s before being recognized as an OAC sport in 1985. In the late '70s, the Yellow Jackets built a strong reputation by winning the AIAW (the late Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) state title in 1979.
The Developmental Goals of the Program
The Baldwin Wallace University cross country program strives for excellence by stressing the development of each runner to his or her fullest potential. To achieve excellence, the BW cross country student-athlete is asked to be self-disciplined, unselfishly dedicated and to place the goals of the team ahead of personal recognition.
While many valuable lessons can be learned on the cross country course and at practice, the ultimate goal is to help each student-athlete grow and graduate at the end of her stay at Baldwin Wallace University.