Team addresses major needs with 2007-08 early commitment class
LEXINGTON, Va. -- The VMI Track and Field/Cross Country staff is off to a great start in its recruiting efforts for the 2007-08 season, announcing the commitment of eight student-athletes for next year's freshman class. The class, being one of the largest early commitment totals in the program's history, is comprised of four men and four women who should all make an immediate impact for VMI track & field and cross country teams.
-Chad Lawson (Richmond, Va/Mills Godwin HS) - Throws
The addition of Lawson marks the second consecutive year that a thrower will join the Keydets as one of the top recruits. Lawson was the 2006 Central Regional Champion in the discus, and followed that up with a fourth place finish (48.54m) at the 2006 Nike Outdoor National meet in Greensboro, N.C. He set a personal record at the Milestat.com Elite Track gala in the discus, taking 1st place with a throw of 176' 10".
-Erik Kuster (Bedford, VA/Liberty HS) - Throws
Kuster is the second early commitment lined up for Assistant Coach Zack Scott's throwing unit. Kuster posted his best throw in the discus at the 2006 AAU Junior Olympics with a throw of 47.95m (157' 4"), finishing fourth overall. Kuster also pulled in a fifth place finish at the 2006 AA Virginia State Meet in the discus, recording a throw of 148' 9". Kuster will look to compete in the discus, shot put, hammer, and weight throw at VMI.
-Andrew Duty (Midlothian, VA/Manchester HS) - Cross Country, Mid-Distance & Distance
Duty is a versatile athlete who will be an immediate contributor in a host of events for the Keydets. Duty had a 2nd place finish at the 2006 Dominion District 5k Cross Country Championships in Chesterfield, VA, crossing the tape at 16:13. He also ran to a 6th place finish at the 2006 Central Regional Championship Meet (16:14), and managed to do so despite a double stress fracture. Duty competed so that he "wouldn't let the team down." Duty's personal records are 1:54-relay split 4x800, 2:36-1000m, 4:31.64-1600m, 15:40-3 mile and 1:57.05-800m.
- Felix Kipchumba (Eldoret, Kenya/Digital Advisory and Learning Centre) - Long Sprints
Kipchumba becomes the third Kenyan recruit for the Keydets in past few years. This youngster not only has an impressive resume, but an equally impressive family gene pool that includes a three-time Olympic performer in the 400m (Father-David) and a 400m Olympic Bronze medalist (Uncle-Samson). Kipchumba was a member of the 2006 Kenyan National Jr. Trials in the 400m, and holds school records in the 400m and 800m. Holds personal bests in the 400m (47.8), and 800m (1:52), and will look to compete in the 400m, 800m, 4x400m, and the 4x800m at VMI.
- Katie Wright (Virginia Beach, VA/Princess Anne HS) - Pole Vault
Wright will come to VMI and look to immediately fill in the team's need for a vaulter. She won the 2006 Virginia AAU State Meet by clearing a height of 10' in the pole vault. Wright also finished first at the 2006 Atlantic Coast Invite, clearing a personal best 10' 9-¾". Look for her to continue to improve in her senior year, and have an impact next year at both the Big South Conference and ECAC Championships.
- Alisha Jenkins (Staunton, VA/Buffalo Gap) - Jumps & Discuss
Jenkins comes to VMI to compete in the long jump, triple jump, high jump, discus, and multi events. She has scored multiple times in different events at the Virginia A State Track and Field Championships. She posted a pair of top-six finish at the prestigious Dogwood Invitational in 2006, finishing fifth in the long jump (17' 11-½") and sixth in the triple jump (36' 7-½"). Jenkins holds personal bests of 5' in the high jump and 110' 1" in the discus.
- Hannah Granger (Randor, PA/Home Schooled) - Cross Country/Distance
Granger finished eighth this fall at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) District 1 Cross Country Championships, with a time of 18:37 in the 5k. She also holds a personal best for the 3-mile of 17:47. In track, Granger posted a sixth place finish at the Pennsylvania State 1A2A Track and Field Championships in the 3200m (11:29.99). During the 2005-06 season, she also set a personal best of 5:13.61 in the 1600m.
- Zipporah McCann (Chesapeake, Va./Greenbrier Christian Academy) - jumps
McCann was the 2006 Virginia Independent School (VIS) State Outdoor Champion in both the long jump (18' 2-¼") and the triple jump (36' 7-¼") at Greenbrier. She also holds a personal record of 5 feet in the high jump. In her high school career, McCann collected three state championships in the long jump, and a pair of state championship titles in the triple jump. In 2006, she was also selected as the State of Virginia Independent School MVP.
McCann was a 2006 graduate of Greenbrier Christian, but isn't attending VMI until next fall after she tore her ACL during the summer transition program (at VMI). She decided to sit out last year, to fully participate in track and field and VMI during her freshman campaign.