UK Track and Field Announces Initial Fall 2016 Signings
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Eight talented student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to attend the University of Kentucky and compete on the track and field team during the initial signing period.
The initial portion of the signing class is highlighted by a U.S. Olympian who holds the world U18 and U20 records in the 400m hurdles and the U.S. indoor high-school record in the 400m, in addition to having won 17 national titles at different levels in multiple events - all before her senior year in high school.
In all the class has combined to earn three USATF non-senior titles, two AAU National Titles, eight high-school national championships, three junior college national championships and 23 high-school state titles.
The initial group of signings represent four countries: the United States (five), Ghana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
Abubakar, Clarke and Riggins will arrive on campus in January 2017.
The eight signings are listed below with brief biographies alphabetically by last name.
Personal Bests: LJ: 25’3.25” | TJ: 50’4.75”
Mohammed Abubakar was 2016 National Junior College Silver Medalist in the long
jump. He won the indoor NJCAAA Region VI title in the event, and was third at
indoor nationals. He placed fifth in the triple jump at Junior College
Nationals a year ago.
Personal Bests: LJ: 25’5.75” | TJ: 49'
Saahir Bethea was a top-10 finisher in the outdoor long jump and triple jump at
the 2016 National Junior College Championships. In high school he won the 2015
Pennsylvania State Championship indoors and outdoors in the long jump. Placed
third at New Balance Nationals in the long jump that season. Also Pennsylvania
Bronze Medalist in the triple jump indoors and out in 2015.
Personal Best: 100m: 11.43 | 200m: 23.16
Kayelle Clarke is an accomplished sprinter at the junior college level,
having won the National JuCo Title in the 200m outdoors in 2016 and indoors
in 2015. She has won five NJCAA medals in the last three seasons. She
competed for Trinidad and Tobago at the 2014 IAAF World Junior (U20)
Championships in 2014 in Eugene, Oregon, in the 200m, reaching the semifinal
round and missing the final by just one spot. She has also competed at
T&T nationals, having earned the Bronze Medal in the 200m in 2014.
Personal Best: HJ: 5’9”
was USATF National Junior Olympic Champion in the high jump in 2016. She was West
Virginia State Champion in the high jump in 2016. Jumped a PR 5’9” at the
USATF Region Five Championships in July. She Placed second in the UK High
School Invitational in 2016, after placing fourth in 2015 and 2014.
Personal Best: PV: 16’8.5”
Matt Peare was Ohio State Pole Vault Champion in 2015. He placed seventh
at indoor New Balance Nationals in 2016. Also a quality hurdler, he placed
third in the state 60m hurdles championships in 2016, after placing fourth
the year prior. His sister Ally was multiple-times All-America and All-SEC as
a middle distance runner.
Riggins is a four-time National Champion – twice at the junior college level
and twice at the AAU level – in addition to being a five-time state champion
as a prep. She was Wisconsin Indoor Champion in the 55m hurdles in 2013 and
2014. She went on to win the Junior College national title in the 60m hurdles
in 2016 after taking silver in 2015. She won the Junior College title in the
100m hurdles in 2016, and won AAU Junior Olympics in the event in 2014 after winning
the state title in both 2013 and 2014. She won the AAU Junior Olympic Title
in the 200m in 2014, as well as the state title in that event.Her excellence extends to the 300m
hurdles in which she was State Bronze Medalist in 2013, as well as the 400m
dash where she was NJCAA Silver Medalist in 2015.
Personal Bests: 100H: 13.34 | 400H: 54.15 | 400m: 51.84
Sydney McLaughlin will arrive at UK as one of the most decorated teenage
athletes in history. She was 2016 USATF and Track & Field News Youth
Athlete of the Year. McLaughlin set World U18 and U20 records in the
400-meter hurdles to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, finishing third
in 54.15. McLaughlin initially broke the 32-year-old world junior record with
her victory at the New Balance Nationals in June, crossing in 54.46.
McLaughlin is undefeated in high school races since June 14, 2014. McLaughlin
placed fifth in her opening round heat in 56.32 in the 400m hurdles at the Olympic
Games in Rio to advance into the semifinal round. In the semis, she placed
fifth in 56.22. McLaughlin was named Gatorade National Track & Field
Athlete of the Year and went on to become only the second female non-senior
to win Gatorade National Athlete of the Year. She has won the 2015 IAAF World
U18 400m hurdles title, a USATF U18 championship and a USATF U20 title, and
eight high-school national titles.
Personal Bests: 200m: 23.66 | 400m :
Christine Moss is an accomplished 200m and 400m sprinter. She earned the Bronze
Medal in the 400m at the 2016 Junior College National Championships. She has
also placed highly at collegiate meets hosted by NCAA Division I schools,
including winning the New Mexico Classic 400m in 2016. She placed fifth in
the NJCAA 200m Outdoor Final in 2016.