June 19, 2012
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego State track and field team has released its 2012 recruiting class, head coach Shelia Burrell announced today.
The 24-member class is a versatile group and addresses all disciplines. In all, the class includes six mid-distance runners, five distance runners, four throwers, four pole vaulters, three multi-event athletes, three hurdlers, two sprinters and a jumper. Seven of the 24 athletes already have collegiate experience and should add immediate depth to the Aztecs, who tied the program's best-ever finish (also 1985) at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships earlier this month by tying for ninth with Tennessee.
"This is our best and deepest recruiting class since I've been at SDSU," Burrell said. "With this group of young women, our cross country and track and field program will become stronger and better in multiple events with the ability to compete both on a conference and national level.
"I'm most pleased with our distance class. With the addition of Michael Dunne as our cross country/distance coach, we have made a deliberate effort to recruit and further develop our distance events. This year's distance class has to be one of our best in recent history."
Brittany Bozeman (Moreno Valley, Calif./Univ. of Mississippi) comes to The Mesa after starring for Mississippi of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), where she competed mainly in the multi events, javelin and long jump. A Rancho Verde High School graduate, Bozeman twice participated in the NCAA East Regional (2010-11 in the long jump, 2011 in the javelin) and also competed in the heptathlon at the 2010 USA Junior National Championships. Bozeman, who will have two years of outdoor eligibility and one year of indoor eligibility left, owns personal-best marks of 20 feet, 10 inches in the long jump (would rank second all-time at SDSU) and 5,290 points in the heptathlon (would rank eighth all-time at SDSU)
"I am very excited about Brittany Bozeman coming to SDSU and contributing in the heptathlon and long jump," Burrell said. "She is an athlete that I believe has major upswing and will excel in our training environment. I remember Brittany from (Rancho Verde HS). She has a lot of untapped potential."
Kristen Brown (Owings Mills, Md./Virginia Tech) is another college transfer who will add to San Diego State's dominance in the pole vault. Brown, who will have three years of outdoor eligibility and two years of indoor eligibility left after transferring from Virginia Tech, owns pole vault personal-best marks of 13-05.75 in indoor (would be No. 5 all-time at SDSU) and 12-09.50 in outdoor (would be No. 10 all-time at SDSU). Her best time in the indoor 60-meter hurdles of 8.38 would rank third in school history. Brown also was a 2009 USA Outdoor World Youth Trials finalist in the 100 hurdles and runner-up in the event at the 2008 USATF Youth Championships and the 2006 USATF Junior Championships.
"Kristen (Brown) is another young lady that has the potential to contribute to the team on both a conference and national level," Burrell said. "Kristen is unique because she is a 4-meter pole vaulter as well as a 13-second 100-meter hurdler. She'll be a standout in both events, adding depth in the pole vault and helping establish our sprint/hurdles presence."
Eva Davidova (Prague, Czech Republic/Prague International School) will compete in both the multi-events and hurdles at San Diego State. With personal-best marks of 26.74 in the 200, 59.54 in the 400, 15.26 in the 100 hurdles and 1:03.83 in the 400 hurdles, Davidova will add depth to the Aztec sprinters and hurdlers.
"Eva (Davidova) is a developmental multi-event athlete," Burrell said. "She chose SDSU because she wanted to fulfill the opportunity to train in San Diego with me to pursue the heptathlon. At 6 feet, 1 inch and full of athleticism, Eva is going to surprise a few people over the next couple of years as she develops."
Lauren Graham (Lancaster, Calif./Univ. of Colorado Springs) brings her talents in the pole vault to the Aztecs after spending two years at Division II power University of Colorado Springs. While with the Mountain Lions, Graham was a three-time participant at the NCAA Championships, including a runner-up finisher at the 2011 indoor meet. A three-time conference pole vault champion, who redshirted the entire 2011-12 campaign, Graham owns personal-best marks of 13-06.75 in the indoor pole vault (would be No. 5 all-time at SDSU) and 13-03.50 in the outdoor event (would be tied for No. 6 all-time at SDSU). Graham also took eighth in the pole vault at the 2012 USA Junior National Championships with a mark of 12-01.50.
"A D-II national runner-up in the pole vault, Lauren (Graham) is a fantastic addition for the team," Burrell said. "She'll up the level of expectation and competitiveness in the pole vault squad, and help our team at all levels."
Makayla Howden (San Diego/Coffeyville CC) comes back home to San Diego after competing for two years at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. With a personal best of 52-02 in the weight throw, Howden will compete in the shot put, discus throw, weight throw and hammer throw at San Diego State with two years of eligibility remaining. A four-time competitor at the NJCAA Championships, Howden twice earned top-seven finishes at the championship meet, including sixth at the 2011 indoor meet in the weight throw (49-04.25) and seventh at the 2012 outdoor meet in the hammer (151-10).
"We welcome Mikayla (Howden) back home to San Diego," Burrell said. "She was a junior college All-American at Coffeeville in both the weight throw and hammer throw. We welcome the opportunity to have strong local San Diego talent wear SDSU colors."
LaQuisha Jackson (Chattanooga, Tenn./Howard School of Academics and Technology) comes to the Aztecs as one of the most decorated recruits in program history. A nine-time Tennessee state champion (individual and team) and the Tennessee State Gatorade Athlete of the Year, Jackson finished 2011 as the No. 2 sprinter in the nation. The 2011 AAU national runner-up in the 100 meters, Jackson has never lost an individual sprint race in her career. Jackson, who chose SDSU over Texas A&M, Florida and Tennessee, owns personal-best times of 11.46 in the 100 (would be No. 4 all-time at SDSU), 23.61 in the 200 (would be No. 8 all-time at SDSU) and 53.23 in the 400 (would be No. 8 all-time at SDSU).
"LaQuisha (Jackson) looks to be an immediate threat on the national and conference level in the sprints," Burrell said. "She'll be the backbone of our sprints for many years to come."
Chelsea Kruthers (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./San Juan Hills HS) looks to continue San Diego State's improvement in the mid-distance and distance programs when she joins the program this fall. Kruthers is coming off a fourth-place finish in the 800 meters at the California state meet. Kruthers, who picked the Aztecs over Arizona State, owns personal-best times of 2:09.29 in the 800 and 4:59.33 in the 1,600. Additionally, Kruthers has cross-country bests of 13:57.00 in the two-mile run and 19:06.50 over three miles.
"What a great kid and talented athlete," Burrell said. "Chelsea (Kruthers) is one of the top California 800-meter runners after finishing fourth at the 2012 state meet. I look forward to seeing big things from Chelsea over the next year as she develops. Our distance coach Michael Dunne will be great for Chelsea."
Ariel Oliver (McMinnville, Ore./McMinnville HS) brings her athleticism to The Mesa from McMinnville High School in Oregon where she was a two-time state champion in the discus throw. Oliver won the 2011 title with a mark of 146-06 and bettered that in her 2012 crown with a personal-best throw of 154-05.00. A 2012 All-Valley Girls Basketball Player of the Year and 2012 All-Valley Track & Field Athlete of the Year, Oliver also took second in the shot put at this year's state meet, helping McMinnville HS to a runner-up finish. Oliver, who PR'd in the shot put (41-03.50) in her runner-up state finish, picked SDSU over Oregon and Tennessee.
"Ariel (Oliver) is a discus specialist who is a great all-around athlete," Burrell said. "She was the conference player of the year in basketball and a two-time Oregon state champion in the discus. I am a big believer in pushing the throwing events and Ariel fits the profile of an athlete that will thrive here at SDSU. She'll be a great addition to our throwers and will bring a great deal of intensity and competitiveness."
Nicole Oudenaarden (St. Albert, Alberta, Canada/Paul Kane HS) will be a great addition to San Diego State with a background in the multi-events and javelin. A competitor in the heptathlon at the World Youth Championships, Oudenaarden boasts impressive personal bests of 4,870 points in the heptathlon and 161-07 in the javelin. Both marks are already just outside the all-time top-10 Aztec bests and would have placed second at this year's Mountain West Championships. The 161-07 in the javelin is a Canadian junior record.
"Niki (Oudenaarden) just broke the Canadian junior record in the javelin with a 49-meter throw," Burrell said. "With the addition of Niki in the heptathlon and javelin, we will be even better in the multi-events on a national level and will be competitive in the throws. She is excited to come to SDSU and we are thrilled to have her."
Karen Snapper (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison HS) is another pole vaulter that could score right away for San Diego State. Snapper won five times in the pole vault this past spring, including a personal-best mark of 12-00.00 on March 22 in a dual meet. Snapper cleared 11-00 in 10 of the 13 meets she competed in. Over her three outdoor seasons, Snapper improved from 10-09.00 in 2010 to 11-03.00 in 2011 to 12-00.00 this past year. Snapper also owns a PR of 5-02.00 in the high jump.
Karsen Sper (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks HS) will join the Aztecs in the fall, competing in the multi-events. Last spring, Sper won 17 individual events across six different disciplines and was a member of two more winning relays. Sper finished her career at Thousand Oaks High School with back-to-back Marmonte League titles in the 100 hurdles. Sper owns personal bests of 12.59 in the 100, 26.93 in the 200, 14.45 in the 100 hurdles, 5-03.75 in the high jump, 17-00.25 in the long jump and 37-04.00 in the triple jump.
Meritzer Williams (Charlestown, Saint Kitts and Nevis/New Mexico Junior College) is another transfer, starring at New Mexico Junior College the past two years. Last season, Williams finished fifth in the 100 (11.66) and was a part of the winning 4x100 at the NJCAA Outdoor Championships, while taking seventh in the 60 (7.60) at the NCJAA Indoor Championships. With two years of eligibility remaining, Williams owns personal bests of 11.43 in the 100 (would be No. 3 all-time at SDSU) and 22.96 in the 200 (would be No. 2 all-time at SDSU). Williams also has international experience as a 2008 Olympic participant in the 200 (38th, 23.83) and a 2009 World Championships competitor in the 200 (35th, 23.72). A St. Kitts and Nevis Junior National Champion in both the 100 and 200, Williams picked San Diego State over Texas A&M and Alabama.
"Meritzer (Williams) brings world class talent and experience to SDSU," Burrell said. "She has the potential to be a national scorer indoor and outdoor this upcoming season."
This year's cross country/distance class includes 11 athletes that will cover distances from the 800 to the 5,000 on the track and will all compete during the cross country season. In addition to Kruthers, the other incoming athletes include Megan Geyer (Dana Point, Calif./Dana Hills HS), Chelsea Hanson (Poughquag, N.Y./Iona College), Kimmy Kaloroumakis (East Setauket, N.Y./Ward Melville HS), Lily Mayko (Portland, Ore./Southridge HS), Jessica McCall (Saugus, Calif./Saugus HS), Kristen Rivera (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona Del Mary HS), Rachel Roesgen (Cota de Caza, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic HS), Hannah Sawatzki (San Diego/Westview HS), Katy Smith (San Clemente, Calif./Cal State East Bay) and Laura Vazquez (San Jose, Calif./Presentation HS).
Other recruits in the 2012 class include pole vaulter Thresa Vinson (Aptos, Calif./Aptos HS) and thrower Rachel Alesi (El Cajon, Calif./Christian HS).
Additional recruits could be announced at a later date.