WADSWORTH — Michalla Gordon has never been one to back down from a challenge.
The Wadsworth track standout made herself into a state-caliber hurdler and, when faced with an injury, converted herself into one of the top mid-distance runners in the area without skipping a beat.
Now the senior has announced her next test, competing for the University of Akron.
“There were a lot of schools that were recruiting me, but I liked Akron because I thought it would give me the best challenge,” Gordon said. “At a lot of other schools, if I went there, I would’ve been one of the best players and I didn’t really want that. I wanted a challenge to get better and to keep improving.”
Gordon chose the Mid-American Conference school over the likes of Ohio, Northern Kentucky, Ashland and Ursuline.
She liked the idea of going to school close to home and competing for the same program as older brother Mitch, a former All-Gazette pick who just finished his first season with the Zips.
“Northern Kentucky was actually one of my top picks, and I really liked it down there, but they didn’t have the facilities (like Akron) and aren’t as experienced as a team,” she said.
The Zips are coming off a runner-up finish at the MAC Outdoor Championships earlier this month and boast one of the top indoor facilities in the country. Akron will send 13 athletes to the NCAA Division I East Region Preliminaries this weekend at North Carolina A&T.
“They have a really nice indoor facility and their outdoor track is really nice,” said Gordon, who is interested in studying education or nursing.
This season has been quite a roller coaster for the 5-foot-8 Gordon.
After qualifying for the state meet in the 300 hurdles last June, she worked all offseason in preparation for a return trip to Columbus. That got derailed when she sustained an Achilles injury two weeks before the state indoor meet in March.
Gordon has used this season as a positive, however, running the 400 and 800 meters along with attempting the shot put and high jump.
Eventually, she plans to compete in the heptathlon, an event that includes the 100 hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 dash, long jump, javelin and 800.
“I threw the shot put for the first time and I got 30 feet, so I guess that’s all right,” Gordon said with a laugh. “I’ve used this season to try a lot of new things and turn it into a positive.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.