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March 13, 2014

Joiner offered opportunity to compete for NCAA Division I program

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Joiner offered opportunity to compete for NCAA Division I program
Oakland University track and field athlete Meagan Joiner, pictured, was selected as the Horizon League Indoor Field Athlete of the Week in January.

Although this is her first season competing at the NCAA Division I collegiate level, it didn’t take too long for Oakland University junior track and field athlete Meagan Joiner to find success.

Joiner transferred from Spring Arbor University, which competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Despite finding that things have been more competitive at the NCAA Division I level, Joiner was selected as the Horizon League Indoor Field Athlete of the Week Jan. 21, following a competition at the Jack Skoog Open in Mount Pleasant, in which she accounted for 11 of the Golden Grizzlies’ 45 points.

At the Open, Joiner finished first in the 600-meter run and second in the triple jump. She also had a third-place finish in the 800 at the YSU National Invitational Feb. 7-8. While at Spring Arbor, aside from being the school record holder in the 100-meter hurdles, Joiner was All-Conference in the 100m hurdles and triple jump in 2013.

Joiner attended Fraser High before going to Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, where she graduated.

Although this may be the most challenging season Joiner has had as a track and field athlete, due to the level of competition that exists at the Division I level, it doesn’t seem to have stopped her from enjoying her first season at Oakland, and the overall experience of competing at the college level.

“I really like it,” said Joiner, who credited her time at Spring Arbor for helping to prepare her for competition at the Division I level. “It was a huge adjustment, but it’s been great. The coaches and my team have all been wonderful. Everyone is so helpful, so that’s made it all an easy transition. It’s been amazing. Just being able to wake up and do what you love at a really competitive level has been pretty cool.”

“When you have a transfer come in, when they’ve been at another college for a couple years, you get a little more then you might get from a freshman learning the ropes, “ Oakland head coach Paul Rice said. “She came in and actually got into multi events this year for us. She put a lot of time into different events different coaches. Every coach really enjoys working with her. She has a great work ethic — very dedicated. She’s in the weight room a lot. She’s someone what puts in a lot of time to try to make herself better at every event she’s in.”

Rice has expressed optimism about the direction of Oakland’s track and field program, and that is a sentiment that seems to be shared by Joiner.

“I completely agree,” she said. “I think we have a really young team with a lot of potential. I think it’ll continue to grow and improve. It’s really exciting, and it’s amazing to be a part of.”

Although track and field is a largely individual sport, Joiner cited having an impact on teammates and supporting them as a lesson that can apply to athletics and life in general. She also said that the support she has received from her family and coaches has been a big aspect of her life.

“I’m very thankful for all the support I’ve gotten,” she said.

Aside from having one more year of eligibility remaining following this season, Joiner has also thought about the opportunity she may have to put her major in elementary education to use following graduation.

“Trackwise, there’s a lot of room for growing and becoming better,” she said. “I’m pretty optimistic about how I can do and what I can do for the team. And then after school, I’m excited to start my life as a teacher.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.