SFA Track & Field Inks 10 Athletes
May 4, 2007
NACOGDOCHES - The Stephen F. Austin men's and women's track and field team signed 10 prep athletes to National Letters of Intent announced head coach Phil Olson Friday morning. Megan Harlan (Waco, Texas), Sam Hulse (Sugar Land, Texas), Alicia Jackson (Richmond, Texas), Jacques Neyrey (Sanger, Texas), Miles O'Neill (Lufkin, Texas), Mitchel Ownbey (Yukon, Okla.), Andrew Plentl (Marble Falls, Texas), Donavon Sammons (Tatum, Texas), Logan Smart (Needville, Texas) and Arteria Sternes (Houston, Texas) have announced their intentions to continue their education at SFA.
"We are thrilled by our recent signing class, as it reflects some areas in which we needed to cover for next year," said Olson. "We have quite a few seniors graduating this year, and the quality and depth of this year's class will put us in good shape for next season. We are not finished yet with the recruiting process, but we expect to have the final touches on this class by the beginning of June."
The 2007 spring class is loaded with athletes that excel is multiple events. SFA added four distance runners, two sprinters, two hurdlers and three athletes that compete in both the jumps and hurdles. The class promotes Olson's mission of maintaining a balanced level of talent in all event areas.
The Lumberjacks filled a huge need in the men's distance events with the addition of four high school standouts, which includes local East Texas product Miles O'Neill from Lufkin's Hudson High School.
"With the addition of Dennis Yeats in the fall, this is a talent-laden class of distance athletes," said distance coach Lou Snelling. "I believe that this class could prove to be one of the best classes in school history. This group has the potential to rival our current class of seniors that have combined for 26 All-SLC honors, seven SLC individual titles and five SLC cross country titles."
The lone non-Texan in the group, Ownbey comes to Nacogdoches after a standout high school career for head coach Matt Parent at Yukon High. One of the state's top distance runners, Ownbey finished 14th overall at the Foot Locker South Regional Championships this past season posting a time of 15:25. He has posted back-to-back runner-up finishes at the state cross country meet. Ownbey just missed winning the Oklahoma 6A State title in the 3,200 meters posting a time of 9:29.37 last season.
O'Neill will add strength to the 'Jacks' middle distances. He won the 3A state title in the 800 meters with a time of 1:56.37. A versatile athlete, O'Neill also helped guide Hudson to a state runner-up finish in cross country, placing 12th overall (16:37).
Former competitors at the 3A level, O'Neill will now be a collegiate teammate of Smart. One of the state's top distance runners for the past three seasons, Smart recorded three top-15 finishes at the state cross country meet for coach C.J. Mazac. Smart finished as high as third at the state cross country meet, and sixth in the 3,200 meters as a junior.
Hulse is a three-time district champion winning the district cross country title (15:58.75) as a senior and the district 1,600- and 3,200-meter championship last season. At the regional cross country championships this past season, Hulse knocked off nearly 20 seconds from the district meet. He finished fifth overall with a time of 15:39.35. Hulse capped his senior season by running a 1:55.35 in the 800 meters at the Region 3 - 5A meet, just missing qualifying for the state meet.
Assistant coach Ta' Frias added a couple of sprinters that will help both the Lumberjack and Ladyjack squads. Sternes is a 200-meter (23.92) specialist that could also compete on the Ladyjacks' relays, while Sammons comes to SFA after a standout high school career in the 400 meters (48.84).
"Arteria is a powerful sprinter with a plethora of talent and speed," said Frias. "She we'll make an immediate impact in the open dashes as well as the relays.
"Donovan was fourth at the state meet last year in the 400 and is looking to better his position this year as well as compete on the 4 x 200 relay. He recently won the 400 meters at the regional meet helping his Tatum HS win a team regional title. He will bring depth to our sprint group and will be another addition to our relays," added Frias.
Jackson has one of the stronger résumés among the 2007 class. She will have the opportunity to come in and compete in four different event areas. Jackson has recorded personal bests of 18-8.00 in the long jump, cleared a height of 5-6.00 in the high jump, recorded a time of 14.29 in the 100 hurdles and 44.78 in the 300 hurdles.
"Alicia qualified for the state meet in the long jump, 100-meter hurdles and the 300 hurdles," said Frias. "We are very excited about the athleticism and versatility that she brings to the program."
Neyrey makes his way to Nacogdoches after being one of the top high jumpers in the state of Louisiana over the past few seasons. A 2004 AAU 3-A Club National Champion in the high jump, Neyrey also won the state indoor high jump title in 2004. He also excelled in the 300 hurdles and triple jump at Sanger High School. Neyrey turned in a dominating performance at the regional championships this season taking home the individual title in the high jump, triple jump and 300 hurdles. He has recorded a personal best of 6-8 in the high jump, clocked a 38.5 in the 300 hurdles and recorded a mark of 45-2.00 in the triple jump.
Plentl is another athlete who could come in and compete for SFA in several different event areas. He has posted personal records of 7-1.25 in the high jump, 23-3.00 in the long jump, 45-2 in the triple jump, 13.75 in the 110 hurdles and 38.11 in the 300 hurdles. He will be competing in four events in the state championships for the second consecutive season.
Harlan comes to SFA expected to compete in the multi events. She has competed in three events at the regional championships each of the past two seasons after posting personal records of 5-6 in the high jump, 15.48 in the 100 hurdles and the 45.49 in the 300 hurdles.
"I am extremely pleased with the talent and demeanor Jacques, Andrew and Megan will bring to our team," said McCown. "All three are great athletes and great people. SFA will benefit immediately from the talent they bring to our program."