Track/cross country runner honored for perseverance, returning to action

April 7, 2017 | Athletics, News
By Paul Helgren

UT junior Janelle Noe has been named the 2017 recipient of the Chuck Ealey College Undefeated Spirit Award.

Noe becomes the 10th winner and the first track and field/cross country athlete to collect the prestigious award, which was presented at Songfest April 1 in Savage Arena. Noe also was honored at a high school award program with BCSN and Leadership Toledo April 2 in the Driscoll Alumni Center.


Founded in 2007, the Chuck Ealey Foundation presents the award to the student-athlete who best demonstrates the behaviors of living the undefeated spirit in her or his sport, in the classroom and in the community. Award winners are role models for making good choices and living with an Undefeated Spirit in everything that they do.

The award also recognizes that behind every person with an undefeated spirit, there are others around them who have instilled this spirit. Chuck Ealey was one of the greatest football players in UT history. A quarterback, Ealey led the Rockets to a perfect 35-0 record and three Mid-American Conference Championships from 1969 to 1971. His mother, Earline Ealey, is the inspiration behind the award. She lived her life with an undefeated spirit and instilled that attitude in Chuck. Chuck has been working to instill the same spirit into his family and everyone around him.

The foundation uses undefeated as an acronym, standing for undefeated, no negativity, determination/desire, encouragement/endurance, faith/focus/fortitude, equality, attitude/actions, tenacity, education, discipline. 

Noe was a clear choice to receive this year’s award and is the epitome of what the award entails.

On Jan. 15, 2016, Noe suffered second- and third-degree burns on more than 50 percent of her body. After a long and strenuous recovery, Noe returned to competition in fall 2016. On Sept. 2, less than nine months after the incident, Noe competed for the UT women’s cross country team in the Toledo opener. She ran the 5K course in 18:21.4 to finish in 12th place.

Noe also competed in various meets during the Rockets’ indoor track and field season and has her sights set on the upcoming outdoor season.

In the classroom, Noe holds a 3.843 grade point average as an exercise science major.

The Undefeated Spirit Award has been presented annually at UT’s Songfest as a way to bring together student leaders and student-athletes.

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