Moxley found her place at Ohio State

Entering Ohio State in the fall of 2011, Maplewood graduate Jordan Moxley thought she knew her athletic career path.

A state champion in the 50 freestyle as a swimmer in high school, Moxley elected to go to Ohio State on a swimming scholarship. Things changed after one season, though, as she struggled to make an impact in the pool, and Moxley started to second guess herself.

“I was really excited when I committed (to Ohio State) to swim,” she said. “I really believed that was going to be my path of success. When everything started to go downhill, I just figured that maybe I’m not supposed to be a college athlete.”

That second guessing ended once track and field coaches Karen Dennis and Rosalind Joseph came calling.

To go along with her state title in high school swimming, the Maplewood graduate won three consecutive state titles in the high jump, and was recruited for track and field as well as for swimming in high school.

So, when the coaches met with Moxley to discuss her joining the team, she jumped at the opportunity.

“It’s not that she really had to say anything – she gave me a chance,” Moxley said. “That meant a lot to me. Another thing that really helped was the first week of practice, I came in obviously behind, but I still got positive feedback no matter what. That was one of the things in swimming that I desperately needed but didn’t receive.”

In the darkest times toward the end of swimming career and changing to track and field, Moxley received a lot of support from her father, Chuck.

Coming from a small town in southeastern Ohio called Barnesville, Chuck Moxley walked onto the OSU wrestling team in the early 1980s. He understood the difficulty of being a college athlete, and his advice helped Jordan make the transition.

“I was not highly recruited,” Chuck said. “That meant I had to show up everyday, pack a lunch and go to work. Most of the problems you’ll encounter in your life, and certainly the ones (Jordan) encountered at Ohio State, all you have to do is outwork them. If you have a certain amount of talent, you can outwork your problems, and that’s what she did.”

Over the past year, that’s exactly what the sophomore has done, training for a new event: the heptathlon.

The event combines the high jump, long jump, shot put, javelin, 100 hurdles, 200 and 800, and the competitior with the highest point total wins.

Based on her skills and build (she’s 6 foot), Joseph said that from the first day she wanted to train Jordan for the event.

“Coming out of high school as a hurdler and a jumper, that is the best combination for a possible heptathlon,” Joseph said. “With her athleticism, with her build, it was a natural step, and it’s something she thought that she could be good at.”

For Jordan, she and Chuck had discussed the possibility of going into the heptathlon when she was still in high school, and she’s positive that she will be successful in the event.

“I’ve never been so confident in any of my athletics as I am in this event and the potential that I have in it,” Jordan said. “I have a skill set that allows me to pursue this different event and better myself in them to a point that I can level of success that I really want.”

After showing up in the fall well ahead of what Joseph expected, Jordan has shown what a year of training can do, making big strides during the indoor season. She finished 11th in the indoor pentathlon at the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships in Geneva last Saturday. She didn’t participate the meet her freshman year.

She’s hoping this is a sign of things to come.

“This year, it’s just been a light year’s difference,” Jordan said. “I really want to come up on some people indoor. Outdoor I won’t be as sneaky, but by then, I can definitely be making some noise.”