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NKY Runners Join NKU's Cross Country, Track & Field Programs

Northern Kentucky University announced the addition of thirteen athletes to its cross country and track & field programs, including some who competed locally in high school.

Fort Thomas native Will Griffith was a runner at Highlands High School where he placed first in the 1600m race at the freshman regionals, and earned all region second-team honors in the 800m in 2019.

Griffith was also on the Highlands swim team.

“[Griffith is] one of three of the Northern Kentucky area’s best senior runners and was the first to commit to the Norse for next fall," NKU head coach Steve Kruse said. "The Highlands High School product is not only a fine cross-country and track runner, but he has also competed at the highest level in the state in swimming as well. Will’s dedication to all things aerobic and his leadership capabilities will definitely help lead the next generation of Norse athletes to success.”  

Kruse also welcomed Noah Sloan to the program. Sloan was a standout at Campbell County High School and is a native of Alexandria.

He placed second in the 1600m race at both the indoor 2018 NKY Freshman Regionals and the 2019 Mason County Indoor Meet, and then won the 1600m at the 2019 Campbell County Championships.

In 2020, Sloan set personal records in the cross country season, earning first place finishes in the the 2-mile run at the QUAD @ Fox Run, fifth in the 4000m run at the Conner Quad, and fourth in the two-mile run at the Conner Invitational. He then finished second and set a personal record in the 800m at the 2021 Outdoor Tri Meet.  

“Campbell County’s top distance runner has been a versatile athlete for the Camels," Kruse said. His senior campaign in cross country led to five top five finishes which included two overall wins for the purple and gold. His competitiveness will certainly help the Norse moving forward.” 

The men's program also added Owen Matthews of Fairfield, Oh,; Noah Pease of Hilliard, Oh.; and Bryan Slotzfus of Kokomo, Ind.

The women's team announced eight additions for the upcoming season.  

“We anxiously await all of these young athletes joining our program after a very difficult couple of years for track athletes during the COVID era,” said Kruse. “All are excellent students and are joining an ever improving and growing cross country and track program at Northern Kentucky University!”  

Ellie Fecher is a Fort Thomas native who will compete on the track & field team. She was a fourth-place finisher in the high jump at the 2019 Outdoor Class AA Region 4 meet and set two personal records at the indoor 2019 Mason Co. Meet in the high jump and the 1600m.

Emma Hopkins joins the track & field team after a successful high school career at Dixie Heights. The Independence native won the 300m hurdles in 2018 and 2019 at the Kenton County High School Championships. She also won the 55m hurdles in 2018 and 2020 at the KTCCCA Indoor Championships.

Fort Thomas native Maggie Schroder will compete on both the cross country and track & field teams. As a freshman at Highlands High School, Schroeder finished second in the 5k at the 2015 Cross Country Campbell County Championships. She then went on to finish first in the 800m at the 2016 Outdoor Cooper JV Meet. In the 2019 outdoor season, Shroeder finished first in the 3200m at the Class AA Region 4, the 1600m at the Campbell County Championships, and the 400m at the HSW Tri.

To finish out her career with the Bluebirds, she came in first in the 800m and the 400m at the 2021 Outdoor Tri Meet.  

“Maggie will join one of the strongest distance squads that NKU has ever had, we look forward to her contributing to our depth in Cross Country and Track & Field," Kruse said.  

The programs also added Chloe Boa, of Oldham Co.; Joi Bradley, of Gahanna, Oh.; Hope Erbach, of Waynesville, Oh.; Emily Tinelli of Mt. Washington, Ky.; and Julia Pohl, of Winchester, Ky.

-Staff report