Walker Adds Nine in 2014 Recruiting Class
Feb. 10, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State women's soccer team has picked up nine members for its 2014 recruiting class, head coach Lori Walker announced Monday.
Five of the recruits come from Ohio (Nya Cason, Sydney Dudley, Sammy Edwards, Caitlyn Patton and Brynn Schlemitz), two are from California (Kennedy Kraft and Emma Wangsness) and one each from Arizona (Nikki Walts) and North Carolina (Gracin Palmer). The class balances three midfielders, two defenders, two defenders/forwards and two forwards.
"These nine players join our Buckeye family with great ambition to succeed," Walker said. "Our staff worked tirelessly to find the right players who can win conference titles and national championships. Our recruiting coordinator, Jason Goodson, added strong ties from west coast clubs that understand competition at the highest level. The class blends youth national team experience as well as multiple national championships.
The Ohio State University has deep traditions of excellence and there's no room for average in this program. What I love about this class from top to bottom is their relentless willingness to work their tails off to find a way to help their teams win. We were young this past fall starting eight freshmen and sophomores by the end of season, but I am confident starters will emerge from this freshmen class. As our conference expands, it is critical we have depth and experience at every position. We are going to hit the ground running with our first four matches of the season being against four ACC Teams (Wake Forest, North Carolina, Duke and Virginia Tech). That alone speaks volumes to the belief we have in this class and in our team, not only for next season but beyond."
The newest version of Buckeyes had many reasons to come to Ohio State. For Kennedy Kraft, the combination of excellence in academics and athletics made Ohio State an easy choice.
"Picking the right college is one of the biggest decisions a teenager can make," Kraft said. "By choosing The Ohio State University, I have dedicated my next four years to hard work on the field and in the classroom, and to the legacy that many have laid before me in the traditions of the school and athletic programs. Making the decision to go to Ohio State may have been one of the biggest decisions in my life, but it was also one of the easiest."
For Sammy Edwards, the decision also was an easy one but because of the face Ohio State always been in her blood.
"A big reason I started looking at Ohio State was because my mother, father, and sister graduated from there which has made me a buckeye fan since the day I could walk," Edwards said. "As excited as my family is that I am going to Ohio State, they also did not pressure me into this decision. They wanted me to make this decision on my own which I very much did. Ohio State is a huge school so I knew there would be amazing opportunities there for me and my academic career, so that was not a problem at all. It was pretty clear what I wanted. When walking around campus it feels normal and my fit. I am more than excited to attend next year."
In the case of Sydney Dudley, the people around the program stood out and made her feel Ohio State was the perfect fit.
"I chose to attend The Ohio State University because I love the campus, team and coaches," Dudley said. "I always wanted to play in the Big Ten because it is a competitive conference. I also like that Ohio State is a big school and has a lot of majors because I still don't know what I want to major in. I chose Ohio State because I feel comfortable on campus and I felt at home every time I came to visit."
Nikki Walts echoed Dudley's sentiments.
"Once I first stepped onto the Ohio State campus, I had a feeling that's where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life," Walts added. "Not only was the campus beautiful, but the environment was welcoming. When I sat down with Coach Walker and Coach Goodson and heard what they had to offer me as a player, I knew right there and then I wanted to be Buckeye. Listening to Coach Walker's knowledge of the game and her philosophy made me excited to know I found a coach with the same mentality I have. I believe as a player my skills and understanding of the game will grow, not only because of the coaches, but because of the types of players representing the soccer team."
A look at the Buckeyes who will be stepping foot on campus for the 2014 season:
Nya Cason - Defender/Forward - Worthington, Ohio
Coach Lori Walker: "Nya is an in-state product of the highly-successful Ohio Premier Soccer Club. She is a player blessed with unrivaled speed and has a goal-scorers nose for the net. Nya will find herself competing and playing alongside one of the most athletic and dangerous front lines in the conference next season. Given her amazing athletic attributes, Nya also is versatile enough to contribute in next year's backline."
Sydney Dudley - Defender - Loveland, Ohio
Coach Lori Walker: "Sydney is the kind of soccer junkie that I love to coach! She is willing to play anywhere on the field if her abilities can help her team win. She comes to us from Ohio Elite, where she orchestrates play from out wide and in the middle. Sydney has both the technical ability and tactical insight needed to influence the outcome of any match. She should challenge for a contributing role right from the start as she's a player that has the entire staff excited for next season."
Sammy Edwards - Forward - Dublin, Ohio
Coach Lori Walker: "Sammy adds to our Buckeye family another championship pedigree as a member of the Ohio Premier U-18 national championship team. Sammy has the determination and courage to compete on the grandest of stages. A player with the pace and technical ability to exploit the best of defenders, Sammy will add yet another dimension to an already established front line."
Kennedy Kraft - Defender - Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
Coach Lori Walker: "Kennedy is a remarkable attacking fullback with the ability to get up and down the line. She brings national champion accolades with her from the Slammers Football Club. Kennedy has all the tools necessary to compete at the highest of levels. She brings a level of tenacity, size and fighting spirit to our team that will undoubtedly allow her to compete from day one."
Gracin Palmer - Forward - Clinton, N.C.
Coach Lori Walker: "Gracin strikes a ball as hard as any female collegiate player in the country. The foundations that have been instilled from the CASL program out of North Carolina will no doubt help set her apart in the Big Ten. She has the ability to play in multiple positions and that should allow her to make an immediate impact upon our team and within in the conference."
Caitlyn Patton - Defender - Canton, Ohio
Coach Lori Walker: "Caitlyn comes to us from northern Ohio, where she's experienced a great deal of success with the Internationals. She is arguably one of the top central defenders in the state. A player with unflappable nerves, Caitlyn will immediately find herself in contention for a spot on next year's back line."
Brynn Schlemitz - Midfielder - Dublin, Ohio
Coach Lori Walker: "Brynn joins us from the storied Ohio Premier Soccer Club, where she's established herself as an effective midfielder, capable of influencing both sides of the ball. Brynn joins her sister (Kenzie) here at OSU and brings a level of consistency and depth to our roster that we need to win in the Big Ten."
Nikki Walts - Midfielder - Scottsdale, Ariz.
Coach Lori Walker: "Nikki also joins us with a championship pedigree, as she earned a national championship with the Slammers Football Club. Living in Arizona and training with Les Armstrong from SC Del Sol, Nikki has spent the last four seasons traveling with and competing for the Slammers based in Southern California. Nikki has a championship training ethic and will make an immediate impact upon our program as one of the top midfielders in the conference. A true soccer junkie, Nikki is a free-kick artist who will immediately endear herself to teammates and fans alike."
Emma Wangsness - Defender/Forward - Redwood City, Calif.
Coach Lori Walker: "Emma comes from the much-heralded MVLA Soccer Club out of northern California, where she's been an unbelievable talisman for her team. Emma's main ingredients are her work rate, and no-nonsense approach to defending which should allow her to compete from the moment she steps on campus. Emma will contribute to the depth of our front line and will be groomed to become an attacking wide back."