Head Coach Curt Kraft
GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina head coach Curt Kraft, the reigning Conference USA Women’s Coach of the Year, and his staff welcomed 17 student-athletes to compete in track and field and attend East Carolina University for the 2014-15 academic year.
The signing class is made up of 10 men and seven women, two of which are transfers and one that is an international student. The Pirates add 14 freshmen, two sophomores and one junior to the roster for the 2014-15 season.
Tyler Banks, Freshman, Jumps, Auburn, Va., Stone Bridge High School
Banks is an incoming freshman out of Stone Bridge High School where he recorded a personal best mark of 6’ 9” in the high jump. He also competed in the 300-meter hurdles at the 2014 Virginia 5A/6A State Championships where he earned a second-place finish.
Kraft on Banks:
“Tyler Banks is one of the top jumpers in Virginia in 2014. With the addition of Tyler, the high jump for the Pirates should undoubtedly continue success in the conference and national levels.”
Kraft on Brown:
“Xavier Brown is a talent that should serve as a balance to our program. He is both explosive and strong. Upon developing within our strength and conditioning program, we feel that Xavier can compete at a national level in any of the sprint or hurdle events. Our immediate focus will be toward grooming him to be a force in the intermediate hurdles. We are fortunate to have such an athlete within our camp.”
Joe DeVries, Freshman, Pole Vault, Apex, N.C., Apex High School
DeVries will compete in the pole vault at East Carolina after being named the 2014 North Carolina 4A Indoor State Champion while at Apex High School. He turned in career-best mark of 15’ 6” to win the event which bettered his previous personal best by 14’ 0”.
Kraft on DeVries:
“Joe was a late bloomer that hopped onto the scene by winning the 2014 Indoor State Championships with a jump of 15’ 6”. This was a big accomplishment because his previous personal record in the meet was only 14’ 0”. Joe showed a good overall level of athletic ability by qualifying for regionals in the 110-meter hurdles as well as being able to high jump and long jump. It is stats like these that show he could improve fast and make an immediate impact at the college level.”
Desmond Dowling, Freshman, Sprints, Richmond, Va., Varina High School
Dowling comes to East Carolina after a successful campaign at Varina High School where he won the 2013 Virginia Central Regional Outdoor Championships in the 400-meter dash. As a senior, he came back and placed second in the 400-meter dash at the 2014 Virginia Group 6A South Regional Outdoor Championships. He owns a personal best time of 47.92 in the 400-meter dash and 21.88 in the 200-meter dash.
Kraft on Dowling:
“Desmond Dowling is a very strong long sprinter. He has a constant gear that would deem him as a ‘work horse’ in our eyes. He should add the type of competitiveness in our long sprint sessions that is necessary to strengthen our competitiveness in this area. The addition of Desmond particularly excites us as we have been in search of mental toughness for the long sprints group for some time and we believe that we have found such toughness in him.”
Nick Giannone, Freshman, Pole Vault, Basking Ridge, N.J., Ridge High School
Giannone signed with the Pirates out of Ridge High School and will compete in the pole vault. During his prep career, Giannone placed second in the pole vault at the New Jersey Group 4 Championships. He owns a career-best mark of 15’ 0” in the event.
Kraft on Giannone:
“Nick came into his own at the end of his senior year of high school. He is a tall athlete with solid technique that has worked hard over the past year to improve from jumping only 13’ 6” as a junior to 15’ 0” by the end of his senior year. It is this strong work ethic and drive to be better that will make Nick a valuable member of our team.”
Jordan Martin, Freshman, Sprints, Raleigh, N.C., Millbrook High School
Martin will join East Carolina on the track in the fall as a sprinter. He comes from Millbrook High School in Raleigh where he owns a personal record of 10.65 in the 100-meter dash, 21.49 in the 200-meter dash and 48.82 in the 400-meter dash.
Kraft on Martin:
“Jordan Martin is a very motivated individual. He is definitely a late bloomer as he has achieved great marks over this summer’s sprint campaign. He has lead off relays with 47-low 400-meter splits on the 4x400-meter relay and he has also been a leg on one of the strongest 4x100-meter relays in the nation this summer as well. It is expected that Jordan will become one of the fastest 400-meter runners in ECU’s recent history. His zeal is refreshing and infectious. We cannot wait to work with this young man. Jordan is a great addition to the Pirate family.”
Dakota Schaub, Distance, Freshman, Fayetteville, N.C., Pine Forest High School
Schaub comes to ECU after winning the 2014 North Carolina 4A Outdoor State Championship in the 800-meter run. He also placed third in the 1,000-meter run in the 4A Indoor State Championships. Schaub owns personal best times of 1:52.89 in the 800-meter run and 2:32.43 in the 1,000-meter run.
Kraft on Schaub:
“Dakota is a very raw talent with tremendous upside. He was the North Carolina 4A State Champion in the 800-meter and he also has a ton of leg speed (4x400-meter relay split of 47.5). He should be a regular player in the relay pool. He has also shown good middle-distance endurance potential with a third-place finish in the North Carolina Indoor Track and Field State meet 1,000-meter. I believe he will blend in well with the training group we have here and he will really surprise people in the coming years with what he will be able to achieve.”
Pol Solanelles, Sophomore, Distance, Barcelona, Spain
Solanelles traveled to Greenville all the way from Barcelona, Spain where he was a nationally ranked middle distance runner. His personal best time of 1:50.79 in the 800-meter run would have ranked him 15th among United States high school runners last season. He placed third in the 800-meter at the 2013 Spanish Indoor Junior Championships.
Kraft on Solanelles:
“Pol has only been running track and field competitively for three years and is a nationally ranked 800-meter runner in his native country of Spain. He has a strong overall athletic background and should also improve greatly in the 1,500-meter down the road. He should make an immediate impact in The American and will help push our other returning middle-distance runners to new heights. Hopefully he will be another cornerstone to the squad that we take to the Penn Relays.”
Jay Stone, Freshman, Hurdles, York, Pa., Central York High School
Stone comes to East Carolina after making three appearances in the 2013 Pennsylvania State Championships. He earned a pair of second place finishes in the 60-meter hurdles (8.04) and 110-meter hurdles (14.54) and placed third in the 300-meter hurdles (37.63).
Kraft on Stone:
“Jay Stone was one of the strongest intermediate hurdlers in the nation coming out of his junior season. Due to an unfortunate injury in the fall of 2013 he was incapable of participating in track and field during his senior year. He instead focused his energy on rehabbing his injury and will now be bringing and extremely welcomed gritty determination to our long sprints and hurdles group. Jay is the type of athlete that will stop at nothing to be great. We can’t wait to work with him.”
D’Ante Yarborough, Freshman, Hurdles, Ashburn, Va., Stone Bridge High School
Yarborough enters ECU after having a successful prep campaign at Stone Bridge High School. He was the 2014 Virginia 5A/6A State Champion in the 110-meter hurdles, while placing second in the 300-meter hurdles. He earned a third-place finish at the 2014 New Balance Indoor Nationals in the 60-meter hurdles.
Kraft on Yarborough:
“D’Ante is a very accomplished hurdler. He has an awareness in competition that is beyond his years and we are excited about the opportunity to help him strengthen his gift. The hopes of what can be attained with a full base of fall training and an entire year of indoor and outdoor track are significantly high in regards to this young man.”
Mohogany Baker, Freshman, Throws, Charlotte, N.C., Phillip O. Berry High School
Baker comes to East Carolina after placing second in the shot put at the 2014 North Carolina 4A State Championships. Her personal best in the event is a 44’ 5”. Last season, she also came in third in the weight throw at the 2014 New Balance Indoor Nationals. Her career best mark in the weight throw is 59’ 9.5”. Baker also owns personal records of 137’ 10” in the discus and 153’ 5” in the hammer throw.
Kraft on Baker:
“Mohogany Baker will be a great addition to an already talented weight throw and hammer throw group for the Pirates. Baker is a very strong athlete with long levers and who will contribute in the shot put as well.”
Brittany Bryant, Junior, Jumps, New Windsor, N.Y., Cornwall High School (American International)
Bryant is a junior transfer from American International College where she recorded a personal best of 19’ 11.5” in the long jump. She also owns a career best of 37’ 10” in the triple jump and a high jump clearance of 5’ 5”.
Kraft on Bryant:
“Brittany Bryant has excelled as a triple jumper, high jumper and hurdler. Her skills should add additional strength to the women’s team in the jumping and hurdling events.”
Galissa Cause, Freshman, Throws, Haymarket, Va., Battlefield High School
Cause is a four-time Virginia State Champion in the in the discus and shot put. She captured the 2013 Virginia Group AAA Indoor State Championship in the shot put, then went on to win the 2014 Virginia 6A Indoor State Championship in the shot put as well as the 2014 Virginia 5A/6A Outdoor State Championship in the same event. She also claimed the 2014 Virginia 5A/6A Outdoor State Championship in the discus throw. Her personal best mark in the discus is 142’ 11” while her career best in the shot put is 46’ 7.25”.
Kraft on Cause:
“Galissa Cause is a super quick athlete who won the Virginia State Championships in the shot put. Cause is also a very talented discus thrower. She will bring a tenacious attitude to the team.”
Jada Cunningham, Freshman, Jumps, Midlothian, Va., Clover Hill High School
Cunningham comes to East Carolina from Clover Hill High School where she placed second in the triple jump and third in the long jump at the 2014 Virginia 5A/6A State Championships. She owns a personal best mark of 18’ 5” in the long jump and a personal record mark of 39’ 7” in the triple jump.
Kraft on Cunningham:
“Jada Cunningham has had great success as a jumper. She has a personal best of 39’ 7” in the triple jump and 18’ 5” in the long jump. She should be an impact person as the Pirate women’s team seeks to earn additional conference championships.”
Kourtney Edwards-Campbell, Freshman, Throws, Staten Island, N.Y., Susan E. Wagner High School
Edwards-Campbell is a thrower out of Susan E. Wagner High School who finished third in the shot put at the 2014 New York State Championships. She has a personal best mark of 43’ 11.75” in the shot put as well as a mark of 118’ 4” in the discus.
Kraft on Edwards-Campbell:
“Kourtney Edwards-Campbell is a very raw and developmental thrower with tons of potential. Edwards-Campbell possesses long levers with quick feet and an eagerness to work and learn new techniques to become successful.”
Carolina Reiser, Sophomore, Distance, Annapolis, Md., St. Mary’s High School (FIU)
Reiser transferred to ECU from FIU where she was a distance runner. She owns personal best times of 4:54.30 in the 1,500-meter, 10:18.86 in the 3,000-meter, 17:16.00 in the 5,000-meter and 36:12.64 in the 10,000-meter runs.
Kraft on Reiser:
“Carolina is a transfer student-athlete we recruited two years ago and we’re very glad to have on the team this year. She is a runner with a lot of upside potential that we got to view first hand last year in Conference USA. Carolina improved steadily all three seasons, last year and capped off her freshman year with a third-place finish in the 10,000m. I look to her to make an immediate impact in The American and to help raise the level of training in our women’s distance group.”
Amanda Salami, Freshman, Sprints, South Riding, Va., Freedom High School
Salami rounds out the signing class as she will join the Pirates after competing at Freedom High School. Salami earned a third place finish in the 200-meter dash at the 2014 Virginia Group 5A North Regional Outdoor Championships. She also has posted career best times of 12.20 in the 100-meter dash and 24.99 in the 200-meter dash.
Kraft on Salami:
“Amanda Salami would be considered a developmental sprinter in most programs, however, we see her as an immediate difference maker. She has the one quality that cannot be coached. Amanda has length in her inseam that allows her to cover a considerable amount of ground. In addition to her length, there is great sprinting posture and a recently developed desire to win that has caused a sudden shift in her competitiveness. Once she hits the weight room she will appear to have come out of nowhere. She has the frame and the inward mechanisms that are inherent in great sprinters.”