Barnesville Native Helps to Shape Olympic Success

Bubba Kapral Executive Sports Editor

BARNESVILLE — Nicole Detling is one of the finest athletes in Barnesville history. Now, some 25 years later, Dr. Detling is helping elite athletes excel at the highest of levels.

Detling was a track and basketball star for the Shamrocks before taking her vast athletic and academic talents to Ohio Wesleyan. She is now training Olympic athletes, including 44 in the recently concluded Winter Games in South Korea.

After graduating Ohio Wesleyan, Detling earned her master’s degree from Ithaca College and her doctorate from the University of Utah. Soon after, she helped to form a consulting firm, HeadStrong Consulting LLC, based in South Jordan, Utah. The firm bids to enhance athletic performance via mental skills training.

During her doctoral work in the Beehive State, the 2002 Winter Olympics were being staged in Salt Lake City. Shortly after those games concluded, Detling was hired by U.S. Speedskating to counsel its athletes. She worked with that group until 2013.

That affiliation helped to spawn a blissful marriage with Amercian Olympians.

Detling was a staff member with the U.S. Short Track team at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. All 10 members of that team returned with at least one medal.

Four years later, Detling was again a member with the U.S. team in the Sochi, Russia Winter Games, this time cast in the role of psychology consultant with our nation’s Freestyle Aerials Ski Team.

In the recently concluded Olympics, Detling worked with the U.S. Freestyle Aerials Team, U.S. Ski Jumping Team, U.S. Slopestyle Snowboard Team, U.S. Nordic Combined Team and handful of other competitors.

Her contingent of clients pocketed nine medals in South Korea, encompassing 12 athletes (as one was a relay team.) They panned 3 gold medals, 3 silver and 3 bronze.

“Not much,” Detling said when asked how much contact she had with her athletes during the actual Olympic competition. “Most of my work is done in preparation for the Games — all four years leading up to the Games. If I have done my job well, they shouldn’t need to contact me much during the actual Olympics.”

What is it like dealing with such high-profile athletes? It is a task that Detling truly relishes.

“I don’t think it’s difficult. I find it incredibly rewarding to help people achieve their dreams,” Detling said. “The most difficult part is the hours involved. I am pretty much on-call 24/7/365. It is not your typical 9-5, Monday through Friday job,” Detling said. “I work all the time. It also involves quite a bit of travel. In some ways, that sounds wonderful, but the reality is that I see a lot of hotel rooms, airports and competition sites.

“I don’t get to be a tourist very much when I travel with teams, and it takes me away from my family. So, it’s not the talented athletes who are difficult, it’s more the logistics. I can’t think of any profession for myself that would be more rewarding than the one I have.”

Detling’s expertise is not limited to just Headstrong Consulting. She also provides her sports psychology services to the University of Utah Athletics Department, aiding the school’s athletes.

Amazingly, Detling, despite her taxing schedule, has found time to co-author a book. It is titled, “Don’t Leave Your Mind Behind.”

So what does the future hold for the 42-year-old who sits at the top of her professsion?

“I truly feel that I am living the dream — and I plan to continue to do so. So, what’s next? Well, we will see what opportunities come my way. I am already working with many Olympians, a professional team (Real Salt Lake — a Major League Soccer team), a Power 5 conference school (University of Utah), and a professional ballet company (Ballet West),” Detling said. “I do a lot of public speaking for many different organizations and I just wrote a book. Life is good.”

Nicole is the daughter of Rev. Tom and Bonnie Detling. They reside in Senecaville.


∫ Mike Flannery has taken on additional head coaching duties at River. The Pilots’ head football coach and head boys’ track coach is now assuming the head girls’ track duties, as well. He replaces Bob Cicogna who molded the Pilot girls into a successful program. Cicogna is now the top assistant at West Liberty University.

∫ Speaking of track, Bryan Mays who enjoyed tremendous success as Cadiz High’s head track coach, is returning to the sport as assistant to Luke Turner at Harrison Central. Mays’ prized pupil at Cadiz was Denver Williams, helping guide him to six state gold medals (two 100 meters and four 200 meters). Mays is also a grid assistant with the Huskies.

∫ Cambridge has named Josh Lowrey as its new head football coach, replacing Kevin Gunn who resigned last month after six years at the helm. Lowrey served as a Bobcat grid assistant and head baseball coach. He is a former star quarterback at Cambridge. The Muskingum University grad subsequently stepped down as the Bobcat baseball coach. He is being replaced on the diamond by his brother, Jamaal.

∫ Chris Stephens has enjoyed a successful season in his first year at the helm of the Winfield High’s boys’ hoop team. Winfield ended the regular season with a fine 16-6 mark. The Generals opened sectional play with a 77-71 win over Sissonville. Chris is the son of Wheeling Central head coach Mel Stephens.

∫ Kudos to Dan Monteroso for being selected first-team all-Mountain East Conference. I thought, however, the former St. Clairsville High and current West Liberty hoop star should also have been named MEC player-of-the-year.

∫ Congratulations to Wheeling Park’s Ryan Young, Wheeling Central’s Penn Kurtz and Magnolia’s Meredith Pilant for leading their respective teams to the West Virginia Girls’ State Basketball Tournament. Young has done a masterful job of returning the Lady Patriots to being a Class AAA force while Kurtz continues to annually crank out state title contenders. Pilant, meanwhile, has the Blue Eagles in their first state tourney since 2007.

∫ The Kirtland girls basketball team saw a dream season come to a sad ending Wednesday, losing to Lutheran West in the D-III district tournament at North Ridgeville. It was the Hornets’ first loss in 23 games. Kirtland is coached by Bob Bell, a Clarington native and former River athlete.

∫ The University of Albany women’s basketball team entered the American East Conference tournament with a sparkling 23-6 mark. The Great Danes are coached by Weirton Madonna product Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. Albany finished in second place in the American East Conference regular season.