BEREA, Ohio – Under the guidance of Coordinator of Cross Country and Track and Field and Head Cross Country Coach Joe Eby, the Baldwin Wallace University women's cross country team returns a core group of talented runners as the Yellow Jackets seek the top of the Ohio Athletic Conference in 2018.
In his fourth season at the helm of the cross country programs, Eby returns 13 letterwinners and a total of three All-OAC performers to the women's side. Last year's team placed fifth at the OAC Championships and followed it up with an 11th-place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships.
"We are really excited about where we left off last track season and hope to continue to build on that," Eby said. "Our returners have grown and become great leaders. We can't wait to get into the season and start competing!"
The return of junior two-time All-OAC and Academic All-OAC performer Kelly Brennan (Akron/Walsh Jesuit) from an injury will have an immediate impact as she joins last year's two All-OAC performers in junior Academic All-OAC selection Bella Pendola (Warsaw/River View) and sophomore Hastings Marek (Pataskala/Watkins Memorial). Pendola and Marek finished 11th and 18th, respectively, at the OAC Championships as both earned their first career All-OAC honors.
Sophomore All-Great Lakes Region performer Madison Kile (North Canton/Hoover) also returns as a top competitor after running a career-best time to place 34th at the 2017 NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional Championships. Along with Kile, junior Academic All-OAC selection Claire Makowski (Bethel Park, Pa.), sophomore Molina Otte (Omaha, Neb./Millard West) and sophomore Lizzy Gilreath (Mentor) competed at the Regional Championships as well. Familiar with the mentality that is needed to compete at the highest level, each of those runners will take that "big meet" experience and apply it to their races this season.
Rounding out the returners are senior Hannah Fredriksen (Hamburg, N.Y.); junior Academic All-OAC selections Jordan Dascani (Toledo/Springfield), Katie Fowler (Mount Vernon) and Hannah Nagy (Belmont/Linsly); junior Mackenzie Moran (Carlisle, Pa.); sophomore Katlyn Burns (Logan); and sophomore Megan Vaughn (Amherst/Firelands) as each looks to make an impact on the course.
Led by their experienced teammates, freshmen Jenna Daulbaugh (Minerva), Alyssa Laughner (Howard, Pa./Central Mountain), Sophi Perez (Cuyahoga Falls/Stow-Munroe Falls), Ellie Templeton (Westlake) and Natalie Vinci (Canton/St. Thomas Aquinas) will be set up for success in their first collegiate season.
The Yellow Jackets open the 2018 season on Friday, Aug. 31, when they travel to Wooster to compete in the annual College of Wooster Invitational at the L.C. Boles Memorial Golf Course. The University of Akron will host the All-Ohio Championships on Saturday, Sept. 29, while the University of Mount Union hosts the OAC Championships on Saturday, Oct. 27.