Madisen Gladieux: State gymnast turns her focus to Ohio Northern track

J. Patrick Eaken

Clay senior Madisen Gladieux is another athlete who did not join the Clay track program until she had a few years of high school under her belt. She started at Whitmer before transferring to Clay her junior year.
Clay track coach Brent Combs said he was receiving emails from several schools about his athletes, including ONU, , and was relaying information back when they became interested in Gladieux.
Gladieux’s brother, Jacob, is a Whitmer graduate and college athlete, playing football and running track at Trine University. Combs says Madisen has already proven her athleticism by placing at the state gymnastics meet.
In gymnastics, Gladieux won top honors at the Three Rivers Athletic Conference meet and was named the league’s Gymnast of the Year.
Gladieux also qualified as an individual for every event, including the all-around, at the state meet, which was held Feb. 28-29 at Hilliard Bradley High School in suburban Columbus.
During the regular season, Gladieux won every meet except one, in which she finished second, and was also a district champion.
At the state meet, placed in a tie for 19th in the vault with a score of 9.3, in a tie for 26th in the floor exercise (8.975), 31st in the balance beam (8.6), 34th in the uneven parallel bars (8.125), and 25th overall (35 accumulated points).
“I’ve been doing gymnastics since I was 6,” Gladieux said. “I was always wanted to do college gymnastics — that was always my thing. Track was never really in the picture until one day. I made it to level 10 in gymnastics for club and that kind of took a toll on my body, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m done with this.’”
“I ran track in seventh and eighth grade — didn’t run freshman year or sophomore year, but then I ran my junior year, and it was like I just wanted to do something to stay active in college. I reached out to Ohio Northern and that is how that happened.”
After running hurdles as a junior, she began training this year to also run the 800 under Clay assistant coach Dave Hess, who is also the head cross country coach. When the coronavirus pandemic ended the season, her tutelage under Hess did not end.
“Actually, as soon as we found out that we couldn’t have contact with our coaches, my teammate Megan (Hughes), who also runs mid-distance, and I reached out to coach Hess and we were like, ‘Hey, we are still going to be running every single day at the park and wherever we can find places to run,’ so he sent us out some workouts that we could do and we did a lot of those and we came up with a lot of stuff on our own,” Gladieux said.
“Ever since track has been canceled, we’ve been running every single day, even now, knowing that we don’t have a season. We still have stuff that we have to work on down the road for college, and for her (Hughes), being a sophomore, she has two more years.”
She says she has always been impressed by life in the small village of Ada in Hardin County and the campus of ONU.
“I love the whole atmosphere. It was just a big family. The coaches were super nice, and I bonded with (assistant) coach (Molly) Amidon really well,” Gladieux said.
“As of right now, Ohio Northern has reached out to us and told us that they are still looking to start on time because a lot of colleges might not be starting on time. We actually had a Zoom meeting with our future teammates and coach Amidon, and she’s sending us workouts that are going to start on May 18 to keep us in shape. I am super excited for this, my first year in college.”

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