Track & Field Announces 11 Signees for 2015 Season
By Jacob Most
Feb. 26, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky track and field teams announced that 11 newcomers have signed National Letters of Intent to attend UK and compete as Wildcats as part of the 2014 signing class, on Wednesday.
The incoming class of 11 is highlighted by two high-school national championships (one runner, Ariah Graham, won both), in addition to four prep National Championship qualifiers.
Six women and five men compose the signing class.
The group is also made up of seven state champions who combined to win a total of 20 state titles. Eight states are represented within the incoming class (Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia).
Two of the current crop of signees (Adriana Brown and Ariah Graham), have produced marks/times which either lead the nation currently or finished a previous season ranked No. 1 in America among high-school competitors. The signees have combined to post eight marks/times, which rank in the top-10 in the nation amongst preps.
"The staff and I are excited about this talented Class of 2018's ability," second-year head coach Edrick Floréal said. "We are looking forward to welcoming these newcomers into the Big Blue Nation, and seeing what they will contribute to our already established group of young stars. This is the type of group that helps us climb to the next plateau and take the team to new heights."
Floréal has enjoyed strong improvement in all aspects of the program since being named head coach before the 2012-13 season. His first full women's recruiting class as head coach was ranked as the nation's fifth-best in the January edition of "Track and Field News," the highest such rating in school-history.
"We continue to grow toward our targets, but we know there's still plenty of work to do," Floréal said. "As such, we are eager to begin developing these athletes both on the track and in the classroom. I'm proud of the work our staff has done in putting this class together, and I am also excited about welcoming more newcomers to our program during this signing period, as we still have a ways to go before reaching our ultimate plans."
Logan Bryer - Throws - Genoa High School - Genoa, Ohio
Personal Bests - SP: 62'3" | WT: 76'6" | DT: 189'10"
An elite high school thrower, Bryer will look to continue developing while at UK. Bryer finished second in the state in the discus as a sophomore, and now owns the nation's third-best prep weight throw this 2014 season (76'6"), a mark which leads the state of Ohio. He also has the No. 8 shot put amongst high school competitors this season (62'3"). His best of 189'10" in the discus is a school record and the leading mark for an American high school sophomore in 2012. A high school teammate of UK All-American Brad Szypka, Bryer has won 11 events just in the 2014 season to go along with six titles combined both indoors and outdoors in 2013.
Seth Fouts - Warsaw Community High School - Warsaw, Ind.
Personal Bests - SP: 55'8.25"
A strong throws prospect, he finished his junior season with a shot put personal-best toss of 57'8.5". He finished in sixth place at the 2013 IHSAA State Championships in Bloomington. Fouts was a shot put conference champion, sectional champion and regional champion during his junior season in 2013. Fouts' performance at last year's state championship meet helped lead Warsaw to its best-ever finish at the IHSAA state finals, finishing fifth-place overall. A football and track and field standout, he was honorable mention All-Northern Lakes Conference in football as a junior and all-conference for the Tigers' football squad as a senior, where he played defensive end, and he earned all-area awards both years. Fouts has earned an 8.8 grade-point-average (12-point scale, B+).
Adriana Brown - Throws - Lawrence Central - Indianapolis, Ind.
Personal Bests - DT: 168'6" | SP 48'8.5" | WT: 43'3.5"
A high-potential thrower who has shown tremendous growth in a short time as she won the Indiana State Discus Title in 2013 with a throw that improved on her best from the same meet a season before by more than 30 feet. In 2013 she posted the nation's No. 6 prep discus throw - she is the top-ranked discus thrower amongst the those graduating in 2014 - and is the No. 4 shot putter with a 48'8.5" toss. Her discus state-title-winning heave of 168`6" broke a 14-year old state record by more than three feet. She won the USATF Region 7 Junior Olympics discus and shot put in 2012 amongst many titles, including 13 last season as a junior.
Michelle McKinney - Middle Distance - Eaton High School - Eaton, Ohio
Personal Bests - 800m: 2:11.80 | Cross Country 5k: 18:43.73
McKinney will join the Wildcats looking to add depth to the UK middle distance ranks. She posted the third-best half-mile in Ohio during the 2013 season, 2:11.33, a time which was 20th best by class of 2014 members. Her top 800m time won her the 2013 Ohio Division II State Championship and she also competed at New Balance Outdoor Nationals last season. Over the past two seasons she has won 12 track and cross country races.
Katherine "Katy" Kunc - Distance - Lake Braddock High School -- Burke, Va.
Personal Bests - 1,600m: 5:07.72 | 3,200m: 10:57.42 | Cross Country 5k: 17:16.0
Kunc is another newcomer who comes to UK having competed at multiple elite levels in high school including a 19th-place finish at the prestigious Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals. She is one of the elite distance runners from Virginia, having posted the No. 3 cross country time in the state last season of 17:16.0. This season she owns the 39th-fastest 3,200m time in the country amongst preps, which ranks No. 7 in the state. Her 1,600m personal best of 5:07.72 helped her finish 2013 inside the national top 100 and the Virginia top 20.
Whitney O'Bryan - Distance - Daviess County - Owensboro, Ky.
Personal Bests -Mile: 5:05.77 | 3,200m: 11:02.37 | Cross Country 5k: 17:49.0
O'Bryan joins UK as one of the most decorated distance runners to come out of the state in recent years. She was named Kentucky Gatorade Cross Country Runner of Year, having won the Class 3A individual state championship last year with a time of 18:09, leading her team to a third-place team finish. O'Bryan currently boasts the nation's No. 34 two-mile time, after finishing 2013 ranked No. 81 amongst American preps in the event. A 2013 first team all-state selection, O'Bryan earned 22nd place at the Foot Locker South Regional Championships, crossing the line in 17:49. Having maintained a 3.91 GPA in high school, she is active with the National Honor Society, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Beta Club and the Spanish Club. She has also volunteered locally as a peer tutor.
Jacklyn Howell - Sprints/Hurdles - Southeast Raleigh High School -- Raleigh, N.C.
Personal Bests - 55m: 7.15 | 300: 40.28m | 55H: 7.95 | 60H: 8.68 | 100H: 13.79 | 300H 42.94 | 400H: 1:01.07
Howell will join UK as one of the top incoming sprinters/hurdlers in the country as she has posted an American prep top-5 time, two top 15s and four top 40s already this season. Her personal-best 55m hurdles time of 7.95, ranks No. 2 in the country this season, while she posted the nation's No. 14 100H time last season of 13.79 into a -0.9 wind to win the USATF National Junior Olympics. Her 400m personal-best time of 1:01.07, was the 25th best by a U.S. high school competitor in 2013.
Timothy Duckworth - Multi Events/Vertical Jumps - Arcadia High School - Phoenix, Az.
Personal Bests - HJ: 6'9" | PV: 16'2" | Decathlon: 6582
Timothy Duckworth joins UK as an accomplished prep decathlete, particularly excelling in vertical jumps. Duckworth was 2013 Arizona State Decathlon Champion, an event in which he boasts a personal best score of 6582, which was ninth best among high school boys in the U.S. during 2013. He has cleared 16'2" in the pole vault and 6'9" in the high jump.
Kevin Johnson - Hurdles - Appling County High School - Baxley, Ga.
Personal Bests - 110H: 14.46 | 300H: 38.28
Johnson will look to solidify the UK men's team's hurdles ranks as he was the 2013 300m hurdles Georgia Olympics Champion. He was also 2013 Georgia 3A 110H and 300H Champion and 2012 State 2A 300H Champion. He owns a 300H best of 38.28. During the 2013 outdoor season he won seven of the nine races he entered, and in 2012 he won seven of eight.
Naija Omari - Sprints - St. Benedict's Prep - Newark, N.J.
Personal Bests: 300m: 34.64 | 400m: 48.12
A 400m specialist, he was the 2013 world youth trials third-place finisher. He currently owns the 20th-fastest U.S. prep 300m time of 34.64 and the No. 54-ranked indoor 400m performance. He is one of the best sprint prospects to come out of New Jersey this season, as he has the No. 3 state 300m time and ranks No. 8 in the state at 400m. He was the New Jersey indoor 400m champion in 2013.
Ariah Graham - Sprints - Wakefield High School - Raleigh N.C.
Personal Bests - 200m: 24.68 | 400m: 53.57
Graham comes to UK having experienced a good deal of success at the previous stops in her career. Graham's personal best 400m time of 53.57, came in the prelims at the 2013 USA Junior Championships. She was the 2012 New Balance National 400m champion and an 11-time North Carolina State Champion. A member of the high school national champion 4x200m and 4x400m relays, and individual national champion in the 400m at the 2012 New Balance Indoor Nationals. She was then named MVP at the 2012 New Balance Indoor Nationals. She won six individual and 11 total (including relays) state championships at Wakefield HS, and owns the 300m and 400m high school indoor records in the state of North Carolina. As a senior in high school, she ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 500m. She finished first in the 400m at the 2012 NCHSAA 4A State Championships. Additionally she finished fourth at the 2012 state championships with a long jump mark of 18'1.5". Her brother, T.J., played football and ran track at NC State, and is now an NFL wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, and her father, Trevor, was a 1988 Olympic silver medalist for Jamaica in the 4x400m relay, and her mother, Ann, was an All-American track athlete at St. Augustine's College.