Worsham to racewalk for RedStorm

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio – University of Rio Grande head track & field coach Bob Willey has announced the signing of Yellow Springs High School's Nichole Worsham for the 2014 season.

The 5-foot-4 Worsham competed in both sprint and distance events during her prep career for head coach Vince Peters' Bulldogs, but was recruited by Willey and his staff as a racewalker.

"I feel so blessed to be able to have the opportunity to sign with Rio," said Worsham. "I've only been racewalking for a little over a year now, so being able to walk at the collegiate level is a huge honor for me."

Worsham took top honors in the 3,000-meter racewalk at the Ohio Junior Olympics state meet last month, finishing in a time of 21:53.46. Just days later, she posted a personal-record time of 19:09.15 and finished fourth in the same event at the USATF Youth Outdoor Track and Field national championship.

Worsham also grabbed third place in the Ohio 1-Hour Racewalk State Champions race in June and established a new PR in the 800-meter racewalk with a first-place finish time of 4:15.70 at the Yellow Springs Bulldog Invitational in May.

"Her numbers would already qualify her for the nationals – both indoor and outdoor – in the racewalk," Willey said. "We're absolutely thrilled to have her. There were three or four other schools in our conference who were also recruiting her. Obviously, we were happy to be the one to come out on top from that standpoint."

Worsham also ran the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dash events, as well as the 800-meter run, during her time at Yellow Springs. She also was a member of the school's cross country squad.

Worsham, who said she was still being actively recruited by Lindsey Wilson (KY) College and Goshen (IN) College until signing with the RedStorm, said she can't wait to get her collegiate career underway.

"I'm looking forward to training with coach Willey. He definitely knows his racewalking stuff," she said. "I also loved Rio's campus. I'm excited to see what the track program will do this year. Hopefully, I'll add some points to the girls' team since I'll be the only racewalker from Rio Grande."

And her ultimate goals during her stay at Rio Grande? They're lofty ones.

"I want to be able to place at nationals and to become an All-American all four years," Worsham said.

Worsham, who plans to major in Secondary Education, is the daughter of Karen and Waring "Bubba" Worsham of Beavercreek, Ohio.