MEDINA — Medina track and cross country standout Taylor Wickey has never been labeled shy.
When it came down to finding a college to continue her running career, Wickey’s outgoing personality — as well as her talent —helped land a dream opportunity at the Division I level.
Little did the senior know her impromptu conversation with Kent State coach Mark Croghan at one of her cross country meets would lead her to eventually committing to the school a couple of months later.
“I did that to a lot of coaches,” Wickey said of initiating a dialogue with potential coaches. “A couple girls on the team were like, ‘Go introduce yourself to him.’ So, I did and he ended up calling me later. It just felt right.”
After looking at all of the Mid-American Conference schools in Ohio, along with a handful of D-II programs, Wickey’s talk with Croghan set the wheels in motion for a visit to the Portage County institution and all the pieces fell in place.
“I visited and looked at a couple of D-II schools, but felt I wanted to be pushed a little more to run D-I,” Wickey said. “After I met the Kent State coach, I went on an official visit there and I just loved it. It felt right. I got to stay with one of the girls on the team and it felt really comfortable.
“I think they’ll be able to coach me individually so I can get where I want to be.”
The Golden Flashes have been one of the premier programs in not just the MAC, but nationally, fresh off of their third league title indoors this past winter and second consecutive championship on the outdoor track. In cross country, Kent finished 26th at the NCAA Great Lakes Region.
“They have an awesome team and I’m really excited to be going to such a good program,” said Wickey, who plans on studying speech therapy. “I’m just really excited and feel blessed that they wanted me to go to their school. I just can’t wait.”
Last month, the senior helped the Bees’ 4×800-meter team to a second straight indoor state title by bringing the relay team back from beyond in her third leg en route to a record time of 9:25.34. She also was third in the 800.
As a junior, she was a state placer on the 4×8 outdoors team that won the Amherst Regional and was sixth overall at the state meet.
“It’s a weight off my shoulders and I’m not stressed about it anymore,” said Wickey, who’s a candidate to run in the 800 or 1,500 at the collegiate level, as well as the distance medley relay. “When I go to a meet now, instead of being nervous, it just feels awesome where I’m going.
“Every meet I want to do for Kent and impress them.”
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.