Ellie Weltha to play third collegiate sport

Senior athlete Ellie Weltha has played three collegiate sports. Weltha said she enjoys being able to meet more people. Photos by Oliver Malone

Truman State University senior Ellie Weltha has competed in at least two sports each year she has been at the University. She played basketball all four years, softball for three years and now competes as a thrower on the track and field team.  

Weltha, a power forward on the basketball court, transferred from Illinois State University after her freshman season. 

“I didn’t like being a single-sport athlete at Illinois State,” Weltha said. “I kind of like the craziness of being a two-sport athlete. It allows you to do a whole bunch of things and meet a lot of people.”

Weltha said basketball is her favorite sport to play at Truman. 

Theo Dean, women’s basketball head coach, said Weltha’s dedication to multiple sports has been remarkable over her time at Truman. He said it takes a unique individual to split their time between multiple collegiate sports. 

For her first three years at Truman, Weltha played softball and basketball, which she was able to do because the softball season begins at the end of basketball season. 

Dean said she would split time between basketball and softball during the fall during preseason practices. 

Weltha, listed as a “utility player” for softball – meaning she could play many different positions – played two full seasons for the softball team. During both seasons, she had stellar statistics, batting .289 for her career. 

This year, Weltha felt it was time for a change. 

“I wasn’t really loving [softball] anymore,” Weltha said. “With the coaches switching, it just felt like a good time to step away.” 

The Truman softball team hired Ron Ferrill as its permanent head coach last summer. 

During the fall, Weltha approached track and field head coach Leslie Hardesty about competing as a thrower on the track and field team. Weltha said she had competed in multiple throwing events in high school. 

Hardesty said yes almost immediately. 

“I was 100% onboard,” Hardesty said. “She was an excellent thrower in high school. The main thing will be dusting off the cobwebs after several years away from the sport.” 

Weltha said she is excited to face the challenge of competing in a new sport this spring at the collegiate level. At her first meet at Missouri S&T March 24, she finished first in both the shot put and discus throws. 

Hardesty said her transition to track and field is going well, though she needs a bit more time to find her rhythm. Hardesty said she thinks Weltha will be able to compete at a higher level as she gets used to the sport. 

Off the court and off the field, Dean and Hardesty describe Weltha as a dedicated player and teammate. 

“She does whatever it takes to win,” Dean said. “She does everything she can to be the best version of herself every single year. Even when she may not have 100%, she always gives you everything she has.” 

Hardesty said Weltha has had no problem fitting in with the track and field team this season. 

Weltha said what she will remember most about her time competing for Truman sports is being a part of a team. 

“I’ll remember playing with my friends,” Weltha said. “This year particularly, we had a lot of fun on the basketball team. It was a really fun group.” 

Weltha finished her basketball career as the all-time leader in field goal percentage for Truman and ranks fourth on the all-time leaderboard in rebounds. She also earned All-GLVC first-team honors twice. 

Dean said Weltha has shown consistency throughout her career, propelling her to achieve those records. 

“For someone to be talented enough to play three different collegiate sports and excel and be elite in all three, I think that’s really amazing,” Dean said.