The end of the cross country season certainly made a mark on the history of athletics at Ohio Wesleyan. The season for both the men’s and women’s teams has been successful throughout.
The men’s team was the first team in 30 years to compete at the NCAA Division III championship meet. This accomplishment certainly wasn’t a shock to the team, however. Beginning in July, the team established its goals for the season, and together, they believed making it to nationals was a realistic goal.
Throughout the season, “they were focused, dedicated and driven toward the goal of making that national meet. It truly was special to see them achieve that together,” says head coach Matt Wackerly.
In addition, individually, juniors Kale Booher and Sharif Kronemer were named first-team All-North Coast Athletic Conference and all-region, and senior Cody Morrison was named honorable mention All-NCAC.
Although the women’s team had its overall successes, the standout runner was certainly senior Kat Zimmerly. She earned first-team All-NCAC, all-region, and All-America honors this season. Her performance at nationals was her true moment to shine and she certainly did, displaying her extraordinary talents.
Despite her honors and talents, Zimmerly seems to stay grounded and loyal to her teammates. Before her run at nationals, Zimmerly wrote all of the names of her teammates on her legs, essentially bringing her team with her to nationals and across the finish line. Wackerly attests to her leadership. “She inspired our younger runners with her commitment and dedication,” he notes.
Underneath all of the successes of these incredibly talented athletes, there is an undeniable strong bond between the coaching staff and the runners. Although there is the element of raw talent and prior years of dedication and hard work, the support system and general understanding the coaches and runners have for one another is what puts them a step ahead of the rest.
“I owe everything to my coaches, without whom I would never have become the athlete and person I am today,” says Zimmerly.
This group of athletes and coaches came together at the beginning of the season to achieve a common goal and worked through adversities to be able to accomplish it.
“I believe that there is nothing more powerful than a group of young people who all want the same thing. This group reinforced that belief for me like no other that I have coached,” says Wackerly.