Track Reveals 2009-10 Signing Class
June 3, 2009
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Calling it arguably the most talented recruiting class in recent memory, East Carolina track and field head coach Curt Kraft announced Tuesday that 22 athletes have signed national letters-of-intent to compete for and attend the university, starting in the fall of 2009.
The men have added seven signees from North Carolina as well as the California State Junior College champion in the shot put and hammer throw while the women boast three high school national champions, four state title holders and seven that have competed in a prep national championship meet.
In all, the class includes 10 distance runners, five throwers, two jumpers, two vaulters, two sprinters and one hurdler.
Tynita Butts, Jumps, Alexandria, Va. (T.C. Williams)
Kraft on Butts: "Tynita is a fantastic, versatile athlete that is national caliber in both the long jump and the high jump. She is an immediate force to be reckoned with at the conference meet and should soon be one at the national level as well."
Tiffany Harris, Sprints/Jumps, Portsmouth, Va. (Churchland)
Kraft on Harris: "Tiffany is the epitome of the caliber of athlete that we are trying to build our program around ones that are rangy and can excel in multiple events. She is also a top long jumper nationally and helps fill a lot of holes for us."
Britney Kott, Middle Distance, Millville, N.J. (Millville)
Kott attends Millville HS in New Jersey and looks to be an immediate impact performer in the middle distance corps. She is a Nike Indoor national qualifier and earned a third-place finish in the 400m at the Eastern States Championships. Kott owns personal-best times of 56.30 and 2:14.66 in the 400m and 800m events, respectively.
Kraft on Britney Kott: "Britney is the type of person who is a jack-of-all-trades competitor, a great student and very involved in community work. We noticed her talent when she was a sophomore at the national championships and have been following her ever since. She will be a definite asset to our program in many areas."
Brooke Kott, Middle Distance, Millville, N.J. (Millville)
Kraft on Brooke Kott: "Brooke is a middle to longer distance runner with outstanding talent and potential. She is a multiple-time state and national qualifier as well as in the top 10 of her graduating class. She represents the type of athlete we are looking for and is an important cog in this wheel."
Laura Gundry, Middle Distance, Doylestown, Pa. (Central Bucks West)
Kraft on Gundry: "Laura is a tenacious competitor with great natural speed. She actually started as a sprinter until her high school coach saw a middle distance talent in her. As we can see, her coach was certainly proven correct. She is going to be an immediate help for us both in the relays and on the cross country course."
Stacey Gonzalez, Distance, Raleigh, N.C. (Sanderson)
Kraft on Gonzales: "Stacey is a late bloomer who has had tremendous development this past year. Her coaches at Sanderson have done an amazing job bringing her from someone that you may not have noticed during the cross country season to capturing state runner-up honors in the 3200m this indoor season. She has a huge upside and should help our squad to the next level."
Ashley Clasen, Throws, Shoreham, N.Y. (Shoreham-Wading River)
Kraft on Clasen: "Ashley is the most versatile freshman thrower coming in this year. She is very strong, has good weight room numbers and can help the team in the shot put, discus, hammer throw and weight throw. She joins a deep and talented hammer throwing group and should learn well from that experience."
Dana Keister, Throws, Absecon, N.J. (Absegami)
Kraft on Keister: "Dana is very young in the sport of track and field, only spending about two months of the year training for it. However, she definitely has the physical attributes to be a very good thrower. As the top scorer on the soccer team and best defensive basketball player in high school, she has the athleticism to develop into a very good thrower."
Jovonne Tyson-King, Sprints, Midlothian, Va. (Clover Hill)
Kraft on Tyson-King: "Jovonne is a young lady that has had some past success in her career and has a lot of potential. She is very athletic and adds great depth to our sprint corps."
Kenneth Rowland, Throws, Jacksonville, N.C. (Northside)
Kraft on Rowland: "Kenny is a phenomenal athlete with tremendous speed and jumping ability. You don't see many athletes that hold the state record in the shot put and throw 171 feet in the discus that can also place fourth in the state in the 55m dash. I do believe he has a hidden javelin talent that he doesn't know about yet."
Dennis Aliotta, Throws, Moorpark, Calif. (Moorpark College)
Kraft on Aliotta: "Dennis is the most experienced new thrower coming in this year. He is explosive, athletic and has great balance in the ring. While attending Moorpark College last year, he was tutored by a fantastic coach in Bob McKay so he certainly comes from a great background. His future looks very bright."
Montrell Morrow, Throws, Burlington, N.C. (Cummings)
Kraft on Morrow: "Montrell is an inexperienced discus thrower, but has a spring-loaded arm for the event. Even with that, he still placed second at regionals, so his improvement potential is through the roof."
Stephen Hodapp, Pole Vault, Charlotte, N.C. (Matthews)
Kraft on Hodapp: "Steven is the 4A indoor state champion in the vault and placed second outdoor. He is fast down the runway and has a very high reach with the pole. The fact that he took some very good attempts at the state record (16'1") at the North Carolina 4A meet shows us his great potential."
Aaron Zakula, Pole Vault, Kernersville, N.C. (East Forsyth)
Kraft on Zakula: "Aaron is another very tall and fast vaulter who overcame some hamstring injuries early in the year to win the 4A outdoor state title. He's another athlete with a lot of potential that took aim at the state record. We see good things in his future."
Tadarrin Phronebarger, Middle Distance, Charlotte, N.C. (West Charlotte)
Kraft on Phronebarger: "Tadarrin is an athlete that we have had our eye on for a few years now. He has a smooth, fluid stride and great speed but does not shy away from putting in the distance work needed to be a top half-miler. He's one of the top middle-distance prospects in North Carolina and has a very bright future ahead of him."
Antonio Palmer, Middle Distance, Gaithersburg, Md. (Gaithersburg)
Kraft on Palmer: "Antonio is the kind of athlete you cannot put in a box. He is rangy and dangerous and serves as the kind of athlete that can help us in the 4x400m and on the cross country course. He won the state championship in the 800m as a junior and should be an immediate impact athlete for us."
Dillon Hawley, Distance, Nashville, N.C. (Nash Central)
Kraft on Hawley: "Dillon is a late-blooming athlete that shows flashes of great ability but has been hampered by some injuries. However, when the gun goes off, he competes hard all the way to the finish line. If he is patient with his training, he could be one of the surprise athletes of this recruiting class."
Matt Poiesz, Middle Distance, Chalfont, Pa. (Central Bucks West)
Kraft on Poiesz: "Matt is a battle tested runner that has competed at the highest level. His 4x800m relay team was one of the fastest in the nation this past year. He is already one of the fastest 800m runners in Pennsylvania and once his endurance catches up with this speed, he is going to be dangerous nationally."
Brian Quintrell, Middle Distance, Lansdale, Pa. (North Penn)
Kraft on Quintrell: "Brian comes to us from the same high school program that gave us current C-USA cross country Freshman-of-the-Year Zach Montijo. He was a part of the Pennsylvania state championship cross country and 4x800m relays team. Brian gives us depth in the relays and is an immediate contributor to our cross country team."
Cory Hampshire, Distance, Shenandoah Junction, W.Va. (Jefferson)
Kraft on Hampshire: "Corey comes to us as one of the top distance runners in West Virginia. He was a Footlocker South Regional harrier qualifier this past year and his experience will be an immediate impact for us in cross country."
Antonial Marshall, Sprints, Charlotte, N.C. (Independence)
Kraft on Marshall: "Antonial is a true competitor. He has that sprinter's confident attitude, good mechanics when he runs and a great build. These are all things that a sprint coach likes to see and that will help take him far in this sport."
Patrick Jones, Hurdles, Piscataway, N.J. (Piscataway)
Kraft on Jones: "Patrick definitely adds immediate depth and quality to our hurdling group. He can run both the sprint and long hurdle races and his confidence will serve him quite well."