Kim Pemberton, University of Louisville Athletics
Jenna Wrieden has been named assistant cross country and track and field coach at the University of Louisville, head coach Dale Cowper announced Monday afternoon.
“Jenna is a proven recruiter and coach with an outstanding sports science background,” said Cowper. “She has been mentored by some of the top distance coaches in the NCAA and her presence will make a big impact on our program.”
Wrieden spent the last six at High Point University and the last four seasons as the head women’s cross country coach. She was named the Big South Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2014 and 2015. She led the Panthers to three Big South cross country titles (2011, 2014, 2015) while mentoring 13 all-Big South cross country runners during her tenure.
“I am thrilled to be welcomed into the University of Louisville family,” said Wrieden. “I intend to make the best of the opportunity coach Cowper, coach Walker and Christine Herring have presented me. I have been very encouraged by the sense of community Louisville presents within its track and field staff and athletics program. Coach Cowper’s vision for the track and field program is one of excellence and balance across event groups in order to compete at a high level in the ACC and NCAA. It’s an environment that I am familiar with and thrive in. I am looking forward to the pursuit.”
Under Wrieden’s tutelage, the Panthers won back-to-back Big South cross country titles (2014, 2015) and garnered six all-conference nominations during that span.
She helped carry the momentum into track and field season, as Natalia Ocasio won her first Big South individual title in the 3000m steeplechase in 2015. Ocasio repeated in 2016, becoming the only runner in league history to win back-to-back steeplechase titles. She also qualified for the 2016 NCAA East Preliminary Round in the steeplechase. In addition, Cozette Collin won the 1500m run in a meet record time while also garnering all-conference honors in the 5000m run.
Prior to her time at High Point, Wrieden was an assistant coach at Queens University of Charlotte where she helped guide the women’s cross country team to its first-ever Div. II NCAA Championship appearance and the men’s cross country team to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championship in 2009. She contributed to the coaching of 10 All-American performances, including NCAA champions Tanya Zeferjahn (10,000-meter) Michael Crouch (5,000-meter). Wrieden also had recruiting responsibilities and coached multiple event groups.
Wrieden spent a year as graduate assistant coach at her alma mater, Arizona State. One of the top track & field programs in the country, Arizona State’s men’s and women’s teams both placed fifth at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championship and the women placed third and the men placed eighth at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championship. Wrieden worked with individual student-athletes, developed strength training drills and routines and provided nutritional education. She also assisted in organizational and administrative areas.
As a student-athlete, Wrieden competed for a Sun Devils cross country squad that placed 14th at the NCAA Championship in 2003. Arizona State was runner-up at the Pac-10 Championship all four years that Wrieden was there. In track & field, Wrieden competed three seasons and ran in the Pac-10 Championship twice. She earned six Pac-10 academic awards.
Wrieden attended graduate school at Appalachian State, competing for the Mountaineers during the 2006-07 season before serving as assistant coach in 2007-08. In cross country, Wrieden posted an All-Region finish at the NCAA Southeast Regional in 2006 at Tom Sawyer Park and was runner-up at the Southern Conference Championship. She posted times that ranked in the top-five all-time in the indoor 3,000 and 5,000-meter and the outdoor 5,000-meter and steeplechase at Appalachian State.
Wrieden was assistant coach of the highly-successful men’s and women’s programs at Appalachian State in 2007-08. She also interned with the elite training program ZAP Fitness in 2006 and 2007.
Wrieden earned her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Arizona State in 2006 and earned her master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Appalachian State in 2008. She also has her strength and conditioning certification from the Track and Field Academy.