By Christina Easter
Last August, former Triceratops’ sprinter Christine Pendleton was hired as the first female coach of Cuyahoga Community College’s (Tri-C) Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country team. During her time as a competitive track and field athlete, Pendleton went to indoor and outdoor nationals each season and set records. Last year she joined the coaching staff as an assistant but after the departure of two of the former coaches, Pendleton was an obvious choice to lead the team.
“I am glad she’s part of the program, especially since she was a student-athlete here,” said Anthony Franklin, manager of Athletics, Wellness, and Community Recreation at the Metro campus. “She holds a record here and to have a Black female running our track team after someone else held that position for over 30 years is a blessing. Also, I think it’s something the school needs and I’m going to do everything I can to help her succeed.”
Anthony Cipollone, executive director of Athletics, Wellness, and Recreation says the department is lucky to have Pendleton who can take the reins after being an outstanding athlete for Tri-C. “It’ll be a little bumpy because she’s not been a coach for a very long time,” Cippolone said. “There’s going to be a learning curve for her, but there’s a learning curve for everybody here.”
Pendleton attended Tri-C from 2008 – 2010 and set the record for the 100 meters and 200 meters. Her record for the 100 meters still sits atop the record books at Tri-C. Pendleton was aware that she made Tri-C history again when she accepted the head coaching position.
“I actually thought it was really cool to have a woman in charge of a women’s sport who understands the younger generation of women and the problems they go through,” she said. “Hopefully, I can help them along their journey to womanhood.”
Although Pendleton’s experience, so far, has been “an up and down roller coaster,” she is focused on getting girls to stay on the team and having everyone work together to get the job done. She is relying on the athletes to make sure they have the grades they need to stay on the team and assistant coaches Lauren Siggers and Jim Farroni to play their role.
Franklin doesn’t think there’s going to be too much of a transition for Pendleton. “I think once she gets her footing on the recruiting aspect, she will take off,” Franklin said. “ If you don’t have talent, you can’t compete no matter how good of a coach you are. So, recruiting is going to be her biggest challenge because she has to find quality student-athletes who are strong in the classroom and strong in the competition.”
Franklin was a big proponent of Pendleton filling the head coaching vacancy because of her strong ties to the track and field community in Northeast Ohio. Before coaching at Tri-C, she coached at East Tech, and Central Catholic, and did individual coaching.
Franklin said he is looking forward to Pendleton using her experience to dip into the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, showing student-athletes what Tri-C has to offer, and establishing a pipeline to the College.
Pendleton is excited about her new position, has confidence in her coaching staff, and is focused on achieving continued success for the Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country team.
“My goal for the season is to get the girl’s times down to where they can make it to outdoor nationals,” Pendleton said. “I will not try to do everything myself and will utilize my coaching staff. I will learn along with the girls as Lauren coaches hurdles and Jim coaches pole vault, high jump, and the long jump.”
Pendleton will make her coaching debut in late January when the indoor season for track and field begins. Check out the teams’ roster, schedule, and news.