July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

College sports: Foster sisters earn national honors

These Foster kids are pretty good.

Any doubt was laid to rest when Stephanie and Jennifer Foster picked up All-America status at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field National Championships over the weekend in Winston Salemn, N.C.

Stephanie, a senior pole vaulter at Walsh University, and Jennifer, a junior high jumper at Ashland, are multi-time All-Americans. But this year it’s a little different, as they did it at the same meet (Walsh was an NAIA school before).

“Being able to sit with her and watch the meet and cheer her on — just knowing she’s doing the same — it’s very special,” Jennifer said. “It’s really special to know you’re succeeding and to have your sister doing just as well as you are.”

Ironically, both finished fourth in their event. For Stephanie, it came in the pole vault where she finished in a tie with two other vaulters after clearing 12 feet, 1 inch.

Jennifer secured her All-America award with a jump of 5-10½. Quite a feat, considering the 2011 Cloverleaf graduate was in a walking boot with a stress fracture over the summer.

“I was in a boot, so I wasn’t sure if I had to redshirt or not, but I was able to get back in it,” Jennifer said. “I felt really good about it. Every year is special. Just because you got it last year doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a spot this year. Every year you need to work. It’s a lot of effort every time.”

Stephanie, a 2009 Cloverleaf graduate, echoed that statement and really enjoyed the spotlight as the school’s first NCAA All-American.

“I redshirted last year, so it was my goal to become an All-American this year,” she said. “I’m just really happy to be Walsh’s first All-American.

“During the season, I knew there was a good chance. I was nervous coming in, but when I got to the meet I wasn’t nervous. That was strange, but I could relax there.”

Part of that reason was because Jennifer was never far away. While the two have competed together at regular-season events, having someone to lean on during the biggest stage was an asset.

“It was nice to have that person to count on,” Stephanie said. “She was always there when I needed it. We were able to vent to each other for nerves. I told her I was always there watching on the sidelines. I think it’s comforting to know your sister is right there. It’s very special.”

With the indoor season wrapped up and the outdoor session yet to come, both head outside with a ton of confidence and strength knowing March could be a preview of an even bigger spring season.

“I definitely have a lot of confidence going into it,” Jennifer said. “With the more national meets I’ve been to, I’m more confident knowing I deserve to be here.”

Contact Brad Bournival at sports@medina-gazette.com.