Feb. 6, 2003

Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s soccer program and head coach Lori Walker announced the commitment of five student-athletes to join the Buckeye program for the upcoming 2003 campaign. Featured along with the incoming freshmen class is University of Kentucky transfer forward Kathy Fulk, a member of the 2001 Soccer Buzz Great Lakes Region All-Freshmen team and a 2000 Parade Magazine All-American.

The five-member class, consists of goalkeeper Staci Sinkway of Mission Viejo, Calif., defender Emily Francis of Paris, Ohio, forward Jackie Lafond of Milton, Mass., midfielder Katie Linehan of Columbus and midfielder K.C. Rosenfeld of Medina, Ohio. The group aspires to contribute to an Ohio State squad that is poised for another promising season in 2003, after capping the 2002 campaign with a dramatic run to a Big Ten Tournament title and the program’s first berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Walker considers the 2007 class, which combines a total of four high school state championships, 11 club team championships, 10 collective club and state all-first team performers and one All-American, as one of the best of her tenure at Ohio State and expects great accomplishments from the group.

“This class adds athleticism with proven success at the youth and Olympic Development Program (ODP) levels,” Walker said. “I fully expect these individuals to make an immediate impact upon the program and help Ohio State continue its rise through the Big Ten and the national rankings.”

Sinkway, a product of the So Cal Blues youth system and the Region IV ODP team, brings a vast and impressive resume to Ohio State as she has led the Blues to California State Cup Championships in three of the last four seasons (2002, 2001, and 1999) and a regional championship in 2000, while also minding goal for the ODP Region IV team, which recently advanced to the ODP National Championships. Sinkway, 5-9, also was honored as a member of the Greater Los Angeles First Team and was an attendee of the 2002 ESP/Olympic Development National training camp held in Wilmington, N.C.

Also aspiring to contribute to the Buckeye defense, is Francis, who hopes to carry the success that earned her honors as team Most Valuable Player in each of the 2000, 2001 and 2002 seasons at Marlington high school to the field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Francis was recognized as a nominee for the 2002 High School Heisman Trophy award, while gaining a berth on the 2002 Ohio All-State First Team. She also has added past selections to the ODP Region II team and is a six-time Ohio North State Regional team selection.

The leading scorer in Milton high school (Milton, Mass.) annals and two-time team MVP, Lafond’s accomplishments include being named to four-consecutive Bay State League All-Star squads, while also earning selection to the Massachusetts State Olympic Development Team.

A pair of midfielders from Ohio round out the 2003 recruiting class for the Buckeyes as Columbus-native Katie Linehan and Medina product K.C. Rosenfeld will join Ohio State in the Fall. Linehan, a Bishop Watterson grad-to-be and Ohio Premier club team member, has helped the Ohio Premier team to four state championships. Linehan shares that her greatest sports thrill-to-date is playing in the first-ever women’s soccer game at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, against the Buckeyes, while with Ohio Premier in the fall of 2001.

Rosenfeld, whose brother is currently the starting 133-pound wrestler for the No. 4-ranked Ohio State wrestling team, looks to contribute at midfield, but possesses the versatility to play any position. A team MVP her senior year at Medina high school, Rosenfeld was garnered with Cleveland Plain Dealer All-Star Team honors. Rosenfeld also has been selected to the Region II ODP pool and has led her Cleveland Futbol Club team to the Ohio North State Championship for three consecutive seasons.

In addition to the incoming first-year players, Walker and her staff have added highly-touted University of Kentucky-transfer forward Kathy Fulk, who hails from Columbus, Ohio and Dublin Scioto high school. Fulk was the second leading scorer on the Wildcat 2001 team as a freshman as she was named to the 2001 Soccer Buzz Great Lakes Region All-Freshman team. Among her high school accolades include selection to the 2000 Parade Magazine All-American team and recognition on the Super 12 Team in 1997, ’98, ’99 and 2000. Fulk was also a member of the Region II ODP team.

Added to the stellar class of 2007 are Ohio State redshirt freshman Melissa Miller and Kelsey Thornton. Miller and Thornton will look to contribute to the bright Buckeye future as they return from injuries sustained in the summer of 2002 before enrolling at Ohio State.

Miller joins the Buckeyes a year removed from Colerain High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and will strengthen the Ohio State defense with her tremendous speed and athleticism. The two-sport standout not only had a stellar high school soccer career, but also was an all-state performer in track and field as she was named The Cincinnati Enquirer Performer of the Year in 1999. Miller teamed with current Buckeye midfielder Danielle Dietrich (So., Cincinnati, Ohio) to lead the Kolping BenGals to five state championships, a Midwest Regional championship and a third-place finish at the 2001 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship.

Thornton is a four-time All-Dayton selection, two-time Dayton Player of the Year, and a 2000 and 2001 all-state selection. She was voted among the Top 5 players in the state for the 2001 high school season.

“To add Melissa Miller, Kelsey Thornton and Kathy Fulk to an already strong incoming Freshmen class is very special for this program,” Walker added. ” We are excited to get the 2003 Fall schedule started.”

###Go Bucks###