MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State track and field has signed 18 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent (NLI), head coach Cliff Rovelto announced on Monday. Including the five NLIs the Wildcats received in the early signing period, K-State has now signed 23 student-athletes for the 2008 season.
“Two things we wanted to do with this recruiting class was to fill holes in our roster and to put quality people into those positions, and I feel we did that in a lot of places. Both of our teams will be more complete and stronger with this class,” said Rovelto about the incoming student-athletes.
The new additions to the 2008 women’s squad are: Chelsie Bonds, Anais Galan, Meriel Harwood, LeKeisha Herring, Nina Kokot, Nancy Piazza, Ali Pistora, Annika Schonebeck, Abby Shanahan, Chrissy Stettnichs and Ti’Ara Walpool.
Bonds joins the Wildcats from Wichita Southeast and is a two-time state runner-up in the discus. She holds a career-best in the discus of 138-09 and in the shot put of 38-07.
Galan is a distance runner from Puerto Rico and attends Abelardo Martinez Otero High School in Arecibo. She has registered personal-bests of 2:14.07 in the 800-meter run and 4:43.2 in the 1,500-meter run. Galan will become the third Puerto Rican to join the K-State women’s track and cross country rosters, joining sophomore Liliani Mendez (Dorado, Puerto Rico) and freshman Beverly Ramos (Trujillo, Puerto Rico).
Harwood competes in the pole vault for Palatine High in Palatine, Ill. She has carded a personal-best and school-record height of 11-06 in the event and was a 2006 Illinois State High School championship finalist. In 2007, she finished second during the indoor season in the Mid-Suburban League. She was also a 2006 state finalist in gymnastics in the balance beam and was a member of two state title teams in 2005 and 2007.
Herring is a native of College Station, Texas and attends A&M Consolidated High. She is four-time letterwinner for the Tigers and was a 2005 state medalist as part of the 4x100-meter relay team. As a member of the 4x100-meter relay team this year, Herring has helped the squad to the number one time in the state of Texas and the third-fastest high school time in the nation at 46.17.
Herring holds personal-bests in the triple jump of 39-04.00 and the long jump of 18-01.00. During the 2003 season, she was the district long and triple jump champion, and in 2007 she was a district runner-up in the triple jump.
Kokot is a native of Velenje, Slovenia and competes in the horizontal jumps. She holds a personal-best in the indoor long jump of 20-05.00 and in the outdoor long jump of 20-10.50.
Piazza joins the Wildcats after a very successful stint at Paradise Valley Community College in Peoria, Ariz. The product of Centennial High in Peoria, Ariz., is a three-time National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national champion in the pole vault. Piazza holds a personal-best clearance of 12-01.00 in the event.
During her high school career, Piazza won the 2005 state title in the pole vault and helped the team to a state title in 2001 with a runner-up finish.
Pistora, a product of Tonganoxie, entered the 2007 outdoor season ranked third in the nation in the women’s javelin by Track and Field News. She finished the season with her second straight runner-up finish at the Kansas High School State track meet. She also carded a second-place effort at the Kansas Relays.
In 2006, Pistora entered the season ranked eighth by Track and Field News and registered a Tonganoxie school record and the best distance in the state with a toss of 154-06.
Schonebeck will bolster the women’s team in the combined events. The product of Bayern, Germany, holds career-bests of 3,728 points in the pentathlon and 4,936 points in the heptathlon. She has also tallied personal-bests of 56.98 in the 400-meter dash and 2:16.27 in the 800-meter run.
In 2006, Schonebeck finished eighth at the German Championships in the heptathlon and from 2005-2007, she earned eight titles at the Bavarian Championships in a number of events.
Shanahan is an all-state pole vaulter from Wyoming, Mich., who joins K-State from East Kentwood High. This is the same high school that produced three-time All-American, 2006 Big 12 outdoor pole vault champion and K-State school indoor and outdoor pole vault record holder, Breanna Eveland. Shanahan holds the state indoor pole vault record of 12-01.00 and is also a member of the all-state 4x400-meter relay team.
Stettnichs is an accomplished athlete who joins the Wildcats from Spirit Lake High in Spirit Lake, Iowa. She is a 12-time Iowa state championship qualifier, a three-time Drake Relays qualifier and holds the school record for most points scored in a career and season on the track. Stettnichs has registered a third and fourth place finish in the state 400-meter hurdles and a fourth-place effort in the 100-meter hurdles. Stettnichs is also a three-time All-Lakes Conference volleyball player and a two-time All-Lakes Conference basketball player.
Walpool is the second student-athlete in this class to sign from the state of Texas and is a product of Plano East High. The native of Richardson, Texas, holds school records in the 200- (24.25) and the 400-meter dashes (55.74) and was a member of the school record-setting 4x200- and 4x400-meter relay teams. Walpool also has a personal-best of 40-04.00 in the triple jump and was ranked No. 2 in the state in the triple jump during her junior season.
Joining the men’s squad for 2008 are: Thomas Brown, Moritz Cleve, Rok Derzanic, Andrew Jorgenson, Clinton MacDonald, Nelson Onyegbu and Mike Sickafoose. Brown is a product of Fulton High in Fulton, Mo., and is a seven-time North Central Missouri Conference champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, as well as a member of the conference champion 4x100- and 4x200-meter relays teams. He is a five-time all-state performer and has personal bests in the 100 of 10.63 and 200 of 21.94.
Cleve will be a freshman, arriving from Bochum, Germany. He has produced a career-high of 7,389 points using junior implements in the decathlon.
Derzanic is another combined event athlete joining the team as a freshman from Artice, Slovenia. Derzanic has scored career-highs of 7,364 points using junior implements in the decathlon and 5,583 points in the indoor heptathlon.
Jorgenson joins the men’s program after a successful turn at Pratt Community College. The graduate of Hutchinson High was a 2006 NJCAA All-American in cross country.
MacDonald is a four-time performer in cross country and a three-time state qualifier in track from Southeast of Salina. He owns personal bests in the 400-meter dash of 52.74, the 800-meter run of 1:58.00, the mile of 4:31.00 and the 3200-meter run of 10:18.00. On the cross country course, MacDonald has clocked a personal-best of 16:09 at 5,000-meters.
Onyegbu is a sprinter from Lewisville, Texas. He has registered personal-bests of 10.52 in the 100-meter dash and 21.46 in the 200-meter dash. He also was a state qualifier on the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relays.
Sickafoose joins the K-State distance program from Pinecreek High School in Colorado. He captured the 4A state title in the 1,600-meter run in 2006 with a time of 4:20.65. He was also the state runner-up in the 3,200-meter run in 2006 with a clocking of 9:35.20.
In November, K-State signed five student-athletes to NLIs. The student-athletes that signed early were: Aiga Grabuste, Michael Healey, Boaz Lalang, Lauren Lucas and Sydney Messick.
– k-statesports.com –