Emma Kertesz has her college degree, her identification as an All-American, and her place among the pantheon of great University of Toledo runners.
What Kertesz no longer has is her coach.
When Kevin Hadsell resigned two weeks ago from his post as director of cross country and track and field at the school, the program’s most accomplished athlete made a bold move.
Kertesz, a Central Catholic graduate, is forgoing her senior season of track and field and turning professional.
Unnerved by the instability of the program and content with her collegiate accomplishments, the NCAA All-American in the 10,000 meters recently joined Hansons-Brooks Distance Project of Rochester, Mich.
"I decided after everything that went on at Toledo that it was just the right time for me to move on," Kertesz said. "I’m definitely really proud to run for Toledo as long as I did, and it was a really great experience. But in light of recent events it was just my time to move on."
Kertesz added: "Coach Hadsell played a major role in why I was so good, and he was no longer there."
Hadsell, a five-time Mid-American Conference coach of the year in women’s cross country, resigned Jan. 24 following his admission to violating a university policy. His tutelage helped mold Kertesz, who was never a state place winner in track at Central Catholic, into a runner whose accomplishments include MVP honors at the 2012 indoor and outdoor MAC track and field meets.
“We respect Emma’s decision to pursue a professional running career," Toledo interim coach Jiana Jin said in a statement. "It was a personal decision for her, and we wish her well in the future.”
Kertesz, who is recovering from a bout with plantar fasciitis that excluded her participation in Toledo’s indoor season, will soon turn her attention to track and to road races.
She plans to compete in half marathons and 5,000-meter events. In November, Kertesz helped Team USA to a third-place finish in the International Chiba Ekiden in Japan, a marathon broken up into six stages involving three women and three men from 15 countries.
Kertesz’s new teammates at Hansons-Brooks include a runner-up female finisher at the Boston Marathon and an eight-time NCAA Division II champion.
"I really do think by joining a group where their focus is on much longer distances, the Hansons is the perfect group for her," Hadsell said.