Clayton Bowie wins individual title on the men's side
Katie Borchers earns the second All-America award of her career
Buckeyes set for second NCAA appearance in school history
19th-ranked Buckeyes set to make second appearance at nationals in school history
Buckeyes equal best finish in school history; Borchers earns All-Big Ten honors
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Sara Vergote is in her fifth season as assistant distance/cross country coach at Ohio State. Vergote has helped transform the Ohio State women’s cross country team into a contender at the national level and developed the Buckeyes’ distance runners into consistent point scorers on the track.
Last fall, Vergote led a young women’s cross country team to the verge of clinching a berth to the NCAA Championships. Boasting a roster littered with talented underclassmen and great senior leadership, Ohio State registered a sixth-place showing at the Great Lakes Regional, falling just short of a bid to the Big Dance. Six of Ohio State’s seven runners who competed at the Great Lakes Regional will be donning the Scarlet and Gray in the fall of 2017.
During the 2016 season, an underclassmen was Ohio State’s top finisher at all seven meets. A sophomore transfer via NC State, Sarah Kanney found her groove in her first season as a Buckeye. The Coldwater, Ohio native was the Scarlet and Gray’s best runner at four of the seven meets, including the final three meets of the year. With a 13th-place showing at the Big Ten Championships, Kanney became only the eighth Buckeye runner in program history to earn All-Big Ten honors; she was named to the second team.
In 2015, Vergote coached the women’s cross country team to an eighth-place showing at the Great Lakes Regional in Madison Wis. Led all season by the Minagawa twins, Minori and Sakiko paced the Scarlet and Gray during their final season on campus. At the final two races of the year, the Big Ten Championships and Great Lakes meet, Sakiko and Minori were the best finishers for the Buckeyes at those two meets.
In the fall of 2014, Ohio State’s women’s cross country team made its second-ever appearance at the NCAA Championships, finishing 26th overall, and earned a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships, equaling the best team finish at the conference championships in school history. The team cracked the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Top 20 for the first time, peaking at No. 19 in the rankings.
OSU featured a close-knit, veteran group in 2014, led by seniors Katie Borchers and Michelle Thomas. Borchers became the first two-time All-American, All-Great Lakes region and All-Big Ten performer in school history, while Thomas collected the third All-Region award of her career.
Under Vergote’s guidance, Borchers further cemented her status as the top female distance runner in Ohio State history during the track and field season, earning All-America honors in the 800m run and gold medals in the 800m run at both the Big Ten indoor and outdoor championships, all while setting nine school records throughout the season (four individual, five relay). The distance team was an important contributor to Ohio State’s 2015 Big Ten women’s indoor title, scoring 20 of the Buckeyes’ 84 team points at the conference meet.
In 2013, her first season with the Buckeyes, Vergote led the cross country team to a fifth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships, Ohio State's highest finish at the conference meet in 29 years. Thomas and Borchers finished fourth and sixth, respectively, earning First Team All-Big Ten honors and joining Maureen Cogan (1984) and Kathryn Monard (1986) as the only first-team selections in school history. The duo also captured All-Great Lakes region honors, with Borchers advancing as an individual to the NCAA Championships, where she earned All-America recognition with a 40th-place finish. Borchers would go on to win the 800m run title at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships on her way to Honorable Mention All-America honors during the outdoor track season.
A former Mid-American Conference (MAC) champion at the University of Toledo, Vergote spent the 2013 season as an assistant track coach at Iowa State. In her lone season with the Cyclones, ISU placed ninth at the NCAA indoor championships and 13th at the outdoor national meet, while All-American Betsy Saina captured a national title in the 10,000-meter run.
Prior to Iowa State, Vergote was the associate head coach for cross country and track and field at her alma mater from 2008-2012. During her time on staff the Rockets won a pair of MAC cross country championships and qualified for the NCAA championships twice. Vergote was also a distance assistant at Manhattan College for three seasons.
Vergote was a member of three nationally ranked Toledo cross country teams from 2000-2002. The Rockets won the Mid-American Conference Championship in 2001 and 2002 with Vergote finishing as MAC runner-up in 2002. Vergote was a two-time NCAA Qualifier and MAC 10K champion in 2003. She is a member of the University of Toledo Athletic Hall of Fame.
Vergote graduated in 2003 from the University of Toledo with a bachelor's of science in education and biology. She also has a master's degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts and served as an intern in the compliance office at Ohio University for one year prior to coaching at Manhattan.
Vergote Coaching Career
2013-Present: Assistant Coach/Cross Country Coach, Ohio State
2012-13: Assistant Coach, Iowa State
2008-12: Associate Head Coach, Toledo
2005-08: Assistant Coach/Cross Country Coach, Manhattan