JOHN KOVACH | Colleges Logan runs, jumps and throws to Thiel milestone
GREENVILLE, Pa. -- Nakisha Logan can run fast and jump high, and she learns quickly.
Those abilities have made her the most versatile women's track and field athlete ever at Thiel College, the top performer in the Presidents' Athletic Conference this season and a national contender.
"I was always a fast runner," said Logan, a junior who graduated from The Rayen School.
The beginning: She said she first discovered her speed "probably in junior high when I first started in track."
And basketball and volleyball brought out her jumping skills.
"In basketball, I first noticed that I had a high vertical jump, and basketball helped me to increase that, and volleyball did, too," said Logan, who was a three-sport performer at Rayen.
And as Logan believes, speed and jumping ability can be "a pretty effective combination," which she demonstrated this past April by enjoying the most productive month of her career.
Although only in her first season of competition in the heptathlon and three of its seven component events -- the 100-meter high hurdles, javelin and shot put -- Logan has established herself as the best at Thiel.
School record: In her first try ever at the heptathlon, which also consists of the 200 and 800, long jump and high jump, Logan broke the school record at the Northwest Pennsylvania Multi's Competition held April 23-24 at Edinboro University. She placed third with 3,559 points to break Jen Cebula's mark of 3,373, set in 1995.
Logan's record-breaking performance qualified her for the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships May 17-18 at Springfield (Mass.) College.
She also advanced in four individual events -- 100 high hurdles, long jump, 100 and 200 -- during other meets held this season.
Logan figures she will need about 4,000 points in the heptathlon at the ECAC to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championships.
Striking distance: "I'm [hundreds of] points short but this can be made up doing better in each event," said Logan. "I have a lot of potential [in each event] and I just hope to make up the difference to make it to the national in the heptathlon."
She said she began competing in shot put and javelin just so she could take part in the hepathlon. But she admitted she has a lot to learn in those two throwing events.
"The shot, I'm still working on that. I don't have much experience in that. I only practiced two or three or times," said Logan. "I'm just practicing the technique."
MVP in PAC: Logan capped her special April two weekends ago by being named the Most Valuable Performer in the PAC Championships.
She won four events -- the high jump (4-11), 100 high hurdles (16.3), 100 (12.8) and 200 (27.0) -- qualifying for the ECAC in the 100 and 200.
Logan said she got her start in track as a member of the Youngstown Striders and Emmanon Jaguars, and then continued to compete at Hayes Junior High and Rayen.
She credited Clyde Morgan, an assistant track coach at Thiel from Chaney High, for some of her development this year.
"He helped me with my hurdles," said Logan of Morgan, a Thiel graduate who was a hurdler for the Tomcats. He also played defensive back on the Tomcats' football team, and now is an assistant football coach.
Stayed out year: Logan bypassed track last season because she wanted "to concentrate on my classes and get my grades up. I wanted to concentrate on academics instead of sports for a year, and also I was working off campus," she explained.
She expects to have a 3.0 grade-point average this year as a double major in psychology and sociology, and plans to graduate next year and perhaps attend graduate school.
The daughter of Mary Jeannette Logan, Nakisha has 10 siblings.
One of her Thiel teammates is Lakeisha Teagues, a sophomore middle distance runner also from Rayen.