By: Athletic Communications Student Assistant Cannon Dees
While the cancellation of all spring sport season may not be the ending our seniors imagined, it's also the beginning of what is to come after their time at Baldwin Wallace University, and a chance to look back at some of their favorite memories over the past four years.
Women's Cross Country and Track Runner Katie Fowler (Mount Vernon)
Fowler is a four-time cross country letter winner and set career bests in the 4k, 5k and 6k this past season. She also set indoor season bests in the 500-meter dash, distance medley relay, 800-meter run, 1,000 meter run and the 4x400-meter relay. The Spanish and Communication Sciences and Disorders double-major will be pursuing her master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Case Western Reserve University this upcoming fall.
"BW has helped me to get where I want to go because of the support system and mentorship I have had," she said. "My academic advisors, coaches and teammates, and family at the Center for Innovation and Growth (CIG) have always believed in me and my goals and did everything they could to help me reach them."
- Her favorite memories from BW include interning at the CIG this past summer, where her and her fellow interns gained professional experience working with businesses in the Cleveland area.
She also mentioned her time spent studying abroad in Granada, Spain, where she volunteered at a summer camp for children with autism. "It was my first time getting to use my speech and Spanish knowledge at the same time," she claimed. "It was very challenging and fun."
Men's Lacrosse Attack Ben Kubiak (Wooster)
Kubiak is a three-time letter winner and two-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference second-team selection. In 2019, he set a school-record 53 goals and was second on the squad with career highs of 20 assists and 73 points. His plans after the semester are to continue his internship at Delaware North under the Cleveland Indians organization.
"The thing I enjoyed the most about BW was the family that I have been welcomed to with open arms," he said. "Being a part of the lacrosse team has meant the world to me."
Before their season was cut short, the men's lacrosse team took a spring break trip to Colorado, an experience Kubiak said was one of his most memorable.
"My favorite memory is the spring break trip the lacrosse team took this year," he stated. "Every other year we have stayed in Berea, however, we got to go to Colorado this year and experience some cool things, like playing our last game of the season with the Rocky Mountains in the background. I also got to score my last goal of my career there. We knew before the game that it was going to be the last of the year, so it was very emotional."
Men's Golfer Ben Ladaika (Erie, Pa./Erie Cathedral Prep)
Ladaika is a three-year letterwinner and finished last year with a career best 77.16 stroke average throughout all 12 tournaments and 19 rounds which ranks 19th all-time in school history. After finishing his Criminal Justice degree in May, he will step into the position of Head Golf Clubhouse Manager for the Cleveland Metroparks in which he will be responsible for Little Met Golf Course.
"At Baldwin Wallace, I enjoyed making friendships more than anything," he said. "I made lifetime relationships with all different types of people. Guys on the golf team, people from work at Safety and Security, people in my major and just across campus. Thanks to BW, I have made lifelong friends."
His favorite memories came from the golf course, such as winning the BW Invitational at Mallard Creek his junior year.
"I shot my career low 69 and won the tournament as an individual, as well as a team" he recalled. "I also enjoyed beating John Carrol at Pine Hills in a one-hole playoff to win the tournament. I made birdie on the final playoff hole to seal the victory for our team."
Softball Centerfielder Macy Leach (Westerville/Central)
Leach is one student-athlete who couldn't get enough of BW as she will be returning to the classroom, and diamond, as a graduate student in BW's Master of Business Administration program.
"BW has, and will continue to, prepare me for whatever I decide to do through the incredible learning opportunities I've had," she stated. "I've had the opportunity to study abroad and go on a ton of experiential learning trips to enhance what I've learned in the classroom. The professors truly want you to succeed here and it definitely shows."
In 2019, Leach earned her third varsity letter and was an All-OAC honorable mention selection. Starting in all 43 games, she led the team and ranked second in the OAC with a career-best 15 stolen bases, was second on the team with a career-high .388 batting average, ranked fourth on the team with a career-high 29 runs scored and was fifth on the team in runs batted-in with a career-best of 24. She will return as a red-shirt senior in 2021.
"One memory that sticks out to me was during my junior year when we had our conference opener against Marietta," she claimed. "We were at Marietta and we beat them 16-1. It was one of the best games I have ever seen us play."
Women's Golfer Hannah Durst (Madison)
Durst is a three-time letter winner. She will be graduating with her degree in biology and hopes to land a job working with animals in varying capacities at an accredited zoo or aquarium.
"What I'll miss most about BW is the atmosphere," she said. "No matter the day, there always seems to be some sort of event or activity that you can go to. When walking around campus you can always find someone you know, whether it be student or professor. I still see professors that I had my freshman year around campus and, even as a senior, they still recognize me and want to talk and continue to forge those connections.
During her time at BW, Durst landed an internship with the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Wilderness Trek. Her duties included shadowing zookeepers, prepare meals for the animals, plan enrichment, assist with behavior training and experience everything going on within the zoo.
"Baldwin Wallace has helped me grow so much as a person," she claimed. "I've been so involved in various organizations over my years and have been able to develop new skills and refine older ones. There are so many career-related events and opportunities throughout the school year that I loved taking advantage of, regardless of my class."
Men's Tennis Captain Jake Elbin (Findlay)
Elbin is a two-time All-OAC honorable mention selection, three-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athlete and three-time letter winner. He had a record of 7-1 and 7-1 in No.1 singles and doubles this season. Elbin was also a member of the men's basketball team, where he was a two-time Academic All-OAC selection and was on the squad that won the 2019 OAC Tournament. Majoring in sport management, he plans to land a graduate assistantship to coach collegiate basketball next year.
"BW has helped me get to where I want in various ways," he mentioned. "This includes networking, lesson learning, coaching, and enhancing my education in multiple areas."
His favorite memories revolved around those of his teams, bringing up his trips to Florida with the basketball team and Hilton Head with the tennis team his sophomore year.
"One of my favorite experiences at BW was definitely beating Mount Union in basketball my junior year to win the OAC Tournament, as I aspire to be a college basketball coach," he stated. "The team we had that year was close, competitive, and shared the common goal of wanting to win. Making it to the NCAA tournament that year was also an incredible experience."