Cole Flourishes on Liberty’s Track Team
During the 2015-2016 track & field season, Natalee Cole, who was Bowling Green State University’s only 800-meter runner, often felt alone during practice, especially after she found out that she was suffering from low iron and anemia. As if these were not enough stressors, Cole felt the frustration of being poorly coached and having to stand alone morally in a secular environment.
Two years later, as an 800-meter runner for the Liberty University Flames track and field team, Cole is flourishing as a redshirt sophomore. But her path to success has not always been one of clarity. As a young girl at Worthington Christian Academy in Ohio, Cole did not have any interest in track and field but instead chose to play soccer.
“I actually started running track in seventh grade,” Cole said. “It was actually based off of this deal that I made with my friend.”
Cole agreed that if her friend played soccer with her that she would run track with her friend. After one season, Cole’s friend decided to quit soccer. On the contrary, Cole discovered that she enjoyed running.
“As I got into high school I got better,” Cole said. “They made me more of a 400 (meter) runner. My sophomore year I started to do a lot better and I started to break school records. We broke the relay record and the 100-meter dash record. And then I had the 200-meter dash record too.”
Following her sophomore season success, Cole decided that it was time to begin taking track more seriously. In the offseason before her junior year of high school, Cole attended speed training to improve her form.
Cole’s speed showed on and off the track as she proved to be a talented basketball player as well as a track star. But as time progressed it became apparent to Cole, and to those who watched her run, that track was in her collegiate future.
Cole’s athleticism led to her being able to have her choice of where to attend college. Having attended a Christian school for all of her life, Cole decided that it was time to venture out into the world.
“I wanted to go to a school that wasn’t a Christian school because I had been going to a Christian School all of my life,” Cole said. “I wanted to experience something different and be a light to the team.”
Ironically, Cole was offered a scholarship by the Flames track and field team but turned the offer down to attend Bowling Green State.
But after Cole’s freshman year of college she began to notice the emptiness of the secular school culture as well as the poor coaching that she was receiving.
“I feel like my coach didn’t really know what he was doing,” Cole said. “He was more of a sprinters coach.”
Cole decided to transfer to Ohio State for her sophomore year but elected to take the year off from the sport that she had become so accustomed to playing.
As Cole’s first semester at Ohio State was concluding, she received a phone call from a friend who was currently playing for the Lady Flames soccer team. After hanging up the phone, Cole decided to transfer one final time. To Liberty.
Now Cole is having the best year of her collegiate career to date. As of April 8, she has posted top times of 59.84 in the 400, and 2:18.45 in 800.
The school that the 5-foot-11-inch track star at one time had no interest in attending has now become a place that she has embraced as home. Cole is focused on the present but is also excited to see what the future has for her.