Associate Head Coach, Throws
Position: Assistant Head Coach Track & Field
Alma Mater: Rice, 2001
Years at EIU: 1st
Eastern Illinois director of men’s and women’s track and field Tom Akers has announced the hiring of Jessica Sommerfeld to complete the Panthers track and field coaching staff.
Sommerfeld will take over as the assistant head coach for men’s and women’s track and field while also coaching the Panthers throwing events. She replaces Mary Wallace who moved into an administration role at EIU this summer.
She recently completed her third season at South Dakota State University where she coached throwing events for the Jackrabbits. Sommerfeld coached several Independent champions in throwing events as SDSU made the transition from the NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I level. The team competed as a member of the Summit League in 2008 finishing second in both the indoor and outdoor championships.
A former Western Athletic Conference champion in the shot put, Sommerfeld competed at Rice University winning the school’s Joyce Pounds Hardy Award for top student-athlete in 2001. She swept the indoor and outdoor shot put titles in 2000 and 2001 while also scoring points in the javelin and discus.
Sommerfeld also coached at Texas Christian for two seasons helping the Horned Frogs win the 2003 Conference USA men’s outdoor title and 2004 C-USA women’s indoor crown. She also coached former high school standout Zelma Ward to a qualifying mark for the Junior National Meet held in College Station, Texas.
A native of Lisbon, N.D., she earned her undergraduate degree at Rice before transferring to work on her masters’ degree at Arkansas. While at Arkansas she set the school record in the javelin to qualifying for the USA Championships. She also placed second in the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships in the shot put.