Photo courtesy of the Ohio State Athletic Department
In sports, when an athlete gets injured and has to miss significant time, their team usually suffers. The Ohio State women’s cross country team, however, is reaping the benefits of an injury endured by one of their runners.
Jordan Jennewine, a redshirt senior, is leading the way for the Buckeyes this season after missing more than a year of competition for both the cross country and indoor and outdoor track teams due to injury.
Following her junior season in 2009 in which she helped lead OSU to its first-ever trip to the NCAA Cross Country National Championship meet, Jennewine began to experience tightness in her iliotibial band, a group of fibers on the outside of the thigh, and ended up having surgery.
The surgery forced Jennewine to redshirt her would-be senior season in 2010, as well as the 2011 indoor and outdoor track seasons.
Jennewine returned to competition this season after not running competitively for almost two years.
OSU women’s cross country assistant coach Chris Neal said having Jennewine on a team that features 15 freshman and sophomores has been a blessing.
“Jordan is definitely is the leader that everyone looks to,” he said. “With her being a fifth-year senior, a lot of the girls look up to her.”
While the time sitting out was difficult for Jennewine, she said she has embraced the leadership role that has been bestowed on her because of it.
“I definitely try and lead and set as good an example as I can,” Jennewine said. “Our team is very young and I need to be there for them.”
Leadership is not the only thing Jennewine is providing for the Buckeyes.
A first-place finish at the Appalachian State Mountaineer Open and a personal-best 5K time of 17:42 at the Notre Dame Invitational highlight Jennewine’s 2011 campaign thus far.
Before the season started, Jennewine said she was both nervous and anxious to run after missing an extended period of time.
“It’s always tough to come back from injury, but it’s been exciting and I’m definitely glad to be back out there,” Jennewine said.
Her teammates are glad to have her back too.
“Having (Jennewine) back from injury adds to our team a great leadership role that can really push us, especially the underclassmen,” junior Tori Brink said. “It seems like she was never injured, she’s running really well.”
OSU ran at the 2011 Big Ten Championships Sunday, and Jennewine finished second for the team in 21:05. OSU finished ninth overall.
Even though the Buckeyes had a disappointing finish last weekend, the season is not over. The Great Lakes Regional Championships are Nov. 12 in Toledo and OSU and Jennewine expect to run well.
Neal said the team will need Jennewine to be up near the front of the pack in order for the Buckeyes to finish well as a team.
“It is a team sport so it never just comes down to one person,” he said. “But it does add to the team’s confidence when they see Jordan up there.”
As far as the injury that allowed her to run for OSU this year, Jennewine said she has pushed it out of her mind.
“I’ve kind of just stopped thinking about it,” she said, “And I’m just moving on.”