The Baker Orange

German athlete adjusts to life at BU

Story by Megan Henry

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New faces. New school. New country. Same sport – Track.

Freshman Jana Koegel is an international student from Stuttgart, Germany, and a member of the Baker University track and field team.

“I like it because there’s not much, so you get to know more people,” Koegel said. “Everybody is very friendly and open over here.”

Koegel came to Baker on her own, and due to the time differences, only talks to her family and friends in Germany three times a week via Skype. Leaving her friends, family and boyfriend behind was the hardest part for Koegel.

“They really support me, and my parents wanted me to go here,” Koegel said.

Track-wise, Koegel will compete in the heptathlon, which is a competition composed of seven different events including running, jumping and throwing. Teammate Kayla Hannam competes in the multi events as well, and she believes Koegel’s athleticism will add to the Wildcats’ roster.

“I think she can bring a lot of great qualities to the team this year, because she is an all-around great athlete at such a young age, and I feel like we can learn a lot from her and she can learn a lot from us and grow as a team,” Hannam said.

Track was one aspect of Koegel’s life she didn’t have a hard time adjusting to once she arrived in the United States. Since the sport is international, she was able to compete in events throughout high school and place in competitions in Germany.

“I had different scholarship opportunities from different universities, and then I chose Baker mostly because of the track team,” Koegel said.

After persevering through two different knee injuries, one of Koegel’s goals is to stay healthy. She also wants to beat her personal record and qualify for nationals. Junior Diamond Griffith has befriended Koegel and sees the progress she has already made since arriving in August.

“I think she’s adapting to it well, but it’s a huge transition for her,” Griffith said. “It’s not like she’s coming from one state to another, but a whole different country, so I think it’s tough for her. However, she’s hanging in there and making friends.”