Quaker Valley 3-sport standout Nora Johns picks Ohio Wesleyan

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Sunday, June 18, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Quaker Valley’s loss is Ohio Wesleyan’s gain.

QV graduate Nora Johns has opted to continue her athletic and academic careers at Ohio Wesleyan, where she will compete on the women’s basketball team and in the track and field program.

Johns, a three-sport standout in soccer, basketball and track in high school, did not rush into her decision.

After a deliberate, well thought-out recruiting process, she opted for Ohio Wesleyan for a myriad of reasons.

“I chose Ohio Wesleyan because I liked the size of it, and it had everything I was looking for in a school,” Johns said. “They have a beautiful campus in a good location. It’s a great town, not too far from home, and it’s an overall great atmosphere.

“The (OWU) coaches were extremely kind and offered an amazing opportunity to continue my two favorite sports.”

Johns, 18, loves sports and loves to compete; a key for her was being able to participate in both basketball and track.

She manned the point guard position in basketball for the Quakers and specialized in the 300-meter hurdles — winning three WPIAL and two PIAA championships — in track.

Johns narrowed her final four choices to Ohio Wesleyan, Butler, William & Mary and Ohio University. She graduated from QV with a magnificent 4.36 GPA and plans to major in communications and business in college.

Johns received valuable guidance and assistant from her parents while on the recruiting trail. Her dad, Ken, coaches the girls basketball team at QV. Her mom, Christina, works in the front office at the high school with the title of administrative assistant, athletics and activities.

“I would say we were more guiderails during the process than heavy influencers,” Ken Johns said. “We talked about picking the school for the school and letting the sports then happen based on that.

“We want her to be in a place that she’s set up for success as best as possible on the academic side and then on the sports side. OWU, we think, gives her both. She did a good job of defining what she wanted and sticking to it through the process.”

More than anything, Nora’s parents are ecstatic and gratified by the well-deserved success enjoyed by their teenage daughter.

“We’re really proud of Nora,” Ken Johns said. “More than that, though, we are happy for her. She has put in a ton of work on the academics and on the sports.

“It was not always easy for her. I think a lot of kids go through it, but when you get home from a game, win or lose, and have four hours of homework, it can be a grind. To see how she handled all of that, took it day by day and then to come through it the way she has and handle the attention she’s received makes us proud because she’s grown a lot and stayed true to herself.”

Ohio Wesleyan is a private liberal arts college located in Delaware, Ohio — 27 miles north of Columbus.

Ohio Wesleyan participates in the NCAA Division III North Coast Athletic Conference with the nickname of the Battling Bishops, who compete in 25 varsity men’s and women’s sports.

Division III schools are not permitted to offer athletic scholarships; instead, Johns received several academic awards.

Stacey Ungashick Lobdell has coached the women’s basketball team at Ohio Wesleyan for 12 years. Kris Boey has been in charge of the women’s track and field program for 21 seasons.

“We talked a lot about what Nora wanted in a college experience,” Ken Johns said, “and OWU really met all of those things. She has had great conversations and visits with coach Lobdell and coach Boey.

“The coaches have been wonderful through the process and have a plan for her, which was really comforting to see and understand. It made us feel even better about the programs she’s stepping into and the approach they have spelled out for her.

“The track program is really strong with a number of conference championships in recent years, and the basketball team won the NCAC last year and played in the NCAA tournament. The transition to college is tough enough, but when you add multiple sports, it’s good to know Nora’s stepping into good programs with coaches who have great reputations and care about the athletes.”

How tough is it going to be to coach the QV girls basketball team in 2023-24 without Nora in the gym?

“Wow, yeah, that’s going to be a tough one,” Ken Johns said. “Not just from a team perspective, but I just like coaching her. It’s been a lot of fun for me.

“We’ve already been in the gym some, and so it has been a little strange without her and the other seniors there, but we’ve got some great kids coming back and freshmen coming in. I will miss her in the gym, for sure, but I’m really excited about the kids we have. They are great to be around, work hard, and I’m just really looking forward to seeing what’s next for us.”

Nora Johns was not your typical high school athlete, competing in three sports at an elevated level for four years. She was, however, a quintessential high school student.

“In my free time, l like to hang out with my friends, travel, shop and just relax,” she said.

Johns attended her school’s prom this spring with another prominent QV athlete, Alex MacDonald, a throwing specialist who is continuing his career at Amherst.

Oh, and by the way, the last B Nora received on a report card was in an honors course, precalculus.

“Math isn’t my strong suite,” she said.

But being humble is.

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