By Caleb Scott
ADA — The Ohio Northern women's track and field team completed one of the most successful seasons in school history during the 2017 campaign under the guidance of eighth-year head coach Jason Maus.
The Polar Bears finished the indoor season with a 52-9 mark and posted an outstanding 78-4 record during the outdoor season.
Northern finished second at the Ohio Athletic Conference Championships during the indoor portion of the season, before returning to claim the outdoor title.
At the indoor OAC Championships, six athletes were crowned OAC Champions in at least one event.
Seniors Kelsey Commager (Maumee), Allie Gast (Grandville, Mich.) and Rebecca Olashuk (Defiance/Tinora), junior Emily Richards (Delaware/Hayes) and sophomores Maddy Reed (Lucasville/Piketon) and Ashlie Baumann (Sterling Heights, Mich./Stevenson) all earned OAC titles.
Richards became the first female athlete in OAC history to win the 1,000-meter run, the 1-mile run and the 800-meter run at the same meet.
Also making history, Reed became the first female athlete in OAC history to clear 4.00 meters or better in the pole vault.
Joining the conference champions as All-OAC honorees were seniors Rebecca Carman (Bellefontaine), Meagan Ellinger (Bath, Ind./Union County), Nicole Huber (Findlay), Genevieve Marchese (Beavercreek/Carroll), sophomores Avery Ewing (Kokomo, Ind./Eastern), Taylor Fisher (Wapakoneta) and freshman Taylor Lavey (Findlay).
Richards earned OAC Female Distance Runner of the Year, while Reed claimed the OAC Female Field Athlete of the Year honor for their efforts at the meet.
Seven athletes were named All-Great Lakes Region for Northern during the indoor season.
Richards led the list as she was named the Female Athlete of the Year in the Great Lakes Region.
Commager, Ellinger, Gast, senior Michelle Mosler (Wapakoneta), Reed and Fisher all earned the honor for ONU.
Northern had an impressive showing at the 2017 Indoor NCAA III National Championships as Reed, Richards and Commager all represented the Polar Bears.
Reed was named an All-American in the pole vault, while Richards claimed her second and third National Title as a Polar Bear.
Northern would claim the OAC Championship during the 2017 outdoor conference meet.
Nine Polar Bear athletes were crowned OAC Champions at the meet, including Commager, Ellinger, Huber, Marchese, Mosler, Olashuk, Richards, Ewing and Reed.
Richards once again led the list as she claimed OAC Titles in the 800 and 1,500-meter runs and was part of the OAC Champion 4x400-meter relay and 4x800-meter relay teams.
Richards would again take Female Distance Runner of the Year honors, while Commager was named the OAC Female Field Athlete of the Year.
The Polar Bear coaching staff swept the indoor and outdoor seasons as they were named the OAC Coaching Staff of the Year at both the indoor and outdoor OAC Championships.
Commager, Ellinger, Huber, Mosler, Paul, Richards, Wollenslegel, Reed and Ewing all garnered Outdoor All-Great Lakes Region honors, while Richards was named the All-Great Lakes Region Female Track Athlete of the Year and head coach Jason Maus earned the All-Great Lakes Region Female Head Coach of the Year honor.
The Polar Bears were once again well represented at the 2017 Outdoor NCAA III Championships as Richards, Commager, Reed and Paul all competed for Northern.
Richards claimed National Titles in the 800 and 1,500-meter runs, breaking the school record for most National Titles by any male or female track athlete in school history.
Reed was named an All-American in the pole vault after taking third place in the event.
Northern showed tremendous success in the classroom as eleven athletes earned Academic All-OAC honors.
Huber, Ellinger, Carman, Richards, Fisher, senior Elizabeth Martin (Buckland/Wapakoneta), junior Mallory Weininger (Upper Sandusky), sophomores Angie Sullivan (Medina), Kristina Myers (Orient/Central Crossing), Sydney McCluer (Columbus Grove) and Elizabeth Steele (Tempe, Ariz./Coronadellsol) were all named Academic All-Conference.
For the first time in her career, Richards was named a First Team CoSIDA Academic All-American.
Richards would cap the season off in style as she competed in the United States Track & Field Outdoor Championships, where she owned the second fastest collegiate time in the 800-meter run, only behind NCAA Div. I National Champion Raevyn Roger.
Richards made it to the finals of the event and took eighth place in the United States among collegiate and professional athletes.
With the exception of the Cedarville Invitational, Northern finished in the top-2 of every outdoor invitational it competed in.
During the indoor campaign, Northern finished in the top-6 at every invitational.
The Polar Bears climbed to No. 5 in the USTFCCCA power rankings during the indoor season and were ranked as high as No. 9 during the outdoor season.
ONU set 12 new school records during the indoor season and set 10 new school records during the outdoor season.