Michelle Chewens began her tenure as the head women's cross country coach and assistant track & field coach in 2016-17 after being hired by John Hayes upon his arrival to Wake Forest. Chewens will also assist the men's cross country team in her role.
Chewens has seen great success during her time as both a cross country and track & field coach. Since beginning her coaching career in 2012, Chewens has helped coach a combined seven All-Americans in track and field and cross country, one outdoor All-America Honorable Mention student-athlete, 22 NCAA East Preliminary qualifiers and five combined All-ACC student-athletes.
Chewens made an immediate impact in her first season with the Demon Deacons. The women’s cross country team finished sixth at the ACC Championships, a large improvement from the 12th place finish in 2015. The success continued as the women’s program improved from 12th to 5th place at the Southeast Cross Country Regional, just 23 points shy of an NCAA auto-bid. At the end of the season, two members in Ellie Abrahamson and Mimi Smith earned All-ACC Academic Team honors for their performances both inside and out of the of the classroom.
During the indoor track and field season, Chewens coached two Indoor All-ACC performers in Ellie Abrahamson (3,000m run) and Kathryn Lazarchick (mile). Both athletes would earn All-ACC Academic honors at the end of the season.
In the outdoor season, Abrahamson would go on to finish second in both the 5,000m run and 3,000m steeplechase at the ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships while both Abrahamson and Lazarchick represented Wake Forest at the NCAA East Preliminary. Abrahamson, under the guidance of Chewens, capped her senior season with a school-record performance at the NCAA Championships, where she finished seventh in the 3,000m steeplechase with a time of 9:56, earning All-American honors.
By the end of the season, both Abrahamson, aside from her school-record performance, and Lazarchick cracked the top five all-time performance list at Wake Forest. Abrahamson took the third-place spot in the 5k with a time of 16:01 while Lazarchick landed fifth in the 1500m with a time of 4:20. Abrahamson also earned All-ACC Academic Team honors.
In her second cross country season with the Deacons, the team took fifth at the ACC Championships, the best finish since 2003. Samantha Halvorsen had a breakout sophomore season under Chewens that culminated in All-ACC honors after finishing 14th overall. The team went on to take sixth at the NCAA Southeast Regional in a field that included five national ranked teams. Halvorsen earned All-Region honors after finishing 20th. Chewens also had three women named to the All-ACC Academic Team at the end of the season while the team was named a USTFCCCA All-Academic Team.
Halvorsen’s success under Chewens’ coaching continued into the outdoor season as she became Wake Forest’s first female NCAA qualifier in the 10,000m since 2005. Halvorsen finished 16th at the National Championships to earn Second Team All-America honors. From the beginning of the season to the NCAA finals, Chewens helped Halvorsen shave nearly a minute off her 10k time to finish the season fourth on the Wake Forest all-time list.
Chewens’ influence can be seen in other distance runners, as three of her student-athletes qualified for the 2018 East Preliminary. Also under Chewens in 2018, Mimi Smith earned Second Team All-ACC honors in the 5,000m at the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Prior to Wake Forest, Chewens spent the past two seasons at Columbia where she served as an assistant track & field and cross country coach. While at Columbia, Chewens coached a pair of student-athletes to All-Ivy League Honors at the Ivy League Championships in both 2014 and 2015. In 2015, Chewens coached Natalie Tanner to All-Northeast Region Honors as she finished 14th at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships and earned a spot on the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team. In two years with the Columbia track team, Chewens saw eight individuals advance to NCAA East Preliminaries in outdoor track, with Natalie Tanner earning Second-Team All-American Honors with a 15th-place finish in the 5k in 2016. The 2016 squad also had its best showing at the Ivy League Championships, scoring the most points since 2010, and matching the program record for points at the conference meet. During a pair indoor track seasons, Chewens saw three student-athletes garner All-Ivy League honors during the 2014-15 season, with Sarah Hardie claiming the title in the 1,000 in 2014-15 before repeating in 2015-16. The 2014-15 team would go on to finish second overall at the Ivy League Indoor Championships.
Before joining the Lions staff, Chewens served as an assistant coach at the University of Toledo. During the 2013-14 season, Chewens aided in the coaching of one NCAA Outdoor Track All-American honorable mention, as well as three NCAA Outdoor East-Prelim qualifiers.
Prior to her time at Toledo, Chewens spent time at UNC Greensboro as a cross country and track & field assistant coach. From the spring of 2012 until July 2013, UNCG saw three All-Americans on the track, one in cross country and six qualifiers in the NCAA Outdoor East-Prelims.
As a student-athlete, Chewens was a four-time letterwinner in both cross country and track, earning Academic All-SoCon honors all four years, and was a part of UNCG's first SoCon Championship in 2011. Chewens graduated from UNCG in August 2011 with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and a concentration in sports medicine. A native of Cornwall-On-Hudson, N.Y., she is the daughter of Robert and Lucy Chewens, and has one sister, Nicole.