Feb. 10, 2012
WACO, Texas- Baylor's track and field head coach Todd Harbour announced the signing of 11 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. The group will join the team for the 2012-13 academic year.
"As a coaching staff, we are really proud of this recruiting class and feel like we did a great job of addressing our needs," head coach Todd Harbour said. "We have some great seniors graduating this spring that will leave big holes to fill, but this class has a ton of talent. Many of these newcomers are ranked among the top competitors in the country in their events and will make an immediate impact for us next year."
Baylor's signing class now includes six men and five women, and provides the program with a wealth of incoming talent. Addressing a variety of event areas on the men's side, Baylor added Houston speedster Alex Reece and quartermilers Isaiah Duke (Edmond, Okla.) and Richard Gary (Duncanville, Texas) to provide depth to its sprint crew. Duke ranks as the top 400-meter runner in Oklahoma, while Gary ranks second in the state of Texas.
The Bears also added 50-foot triple jump Felix Obi from El Paso, Texas, standout mile Chris McElroy from Kingsport, Tenn, and Central Texas distance runner Silvester Harrison from Killeen. Obi currently ranks No. 1 in the nation in the indoor triple jump with his recent mark of 49-11.25 and enters his senior season as the defending district long jump and triple jump champion. Tennessee defending state mile champ McElroy brings a pedigree of success to the distance crew.
On the women's side, the Lady Bears will welcome two middle distance runners in Olicia Williams from New York and Meredith Jackson from Indiana. BU also added two of Texas' top competitors with the No. 1-ranked hurdler in the state, Taije Jordan (Lancaster), and No. 2-ranked triple jumper in Brianna Richardson (Rockwall-Heath). Rounding out the women's class is Hubbard (Texas) discus thrower Kristin Smithey.
The Baylor men's distance crew will also welcome three Texas natives in Plano's Michael Bain, Cypress' Colin Stoeber and Austin's John Hardy. Bain and Stoeber each earned TXrunning 5A all-state honors this fall in cross country, while Hardy claimed two 3,200-meter victories during the 2011 track season. On the women's side, district champion hurdler and Missouri City (Texas) native Ruth Amaku will join the team this fall as well.
Full List of National Letter of Intent Signees
Isaiah Duke - Edmond, Okla. (Edmond Memorial HS) - Sprints
Currently ranked No. 1 in Oklahoma and No. 3 nationally in indoor 400 meters for Edmond (Okla.) Memorial High School... Won Oklahoma state 400m title and placed second in long jump in 2011... Also won regional titles in both 400m and long jump... Ranked No. 1 in Oklahoma in 400m during all four years of high school... Took home OKTCA 400m titles at outdoor Meet of Champions in 2011 and at indoor championships in 2010... Helped team win sprint medley relay at Texas Relays in 2011... Won national 400m titles at 2009 USATF National Junior Olympics and at 2009 AAU Junior Olympics... In 2011, ranked No. 1 in Oklahoma and No. 20 in U.S. in 400m with personal best of 47.23... Also ranked No. 1 in Oklahoma in 200 meters in 2011.
Richard Gary - Duncanville, Texas (Duncanville HS) - Middle Distance
Currently ranks No. 2 in United States in indoor 400 meters for Duncanville (Texas) High School... Placed second in district and region, and third in Texas 5A state meet in 400 meters as junior... Won district 800m and 4x400-meter titles as junior, helping team to second-place finish overall... Won 400 meters at regionals and placed second in district at sophomore... Ranked No. 2 in Texas and No. 7 nationally in outdoor 400m in 2011... Also played for DHS football team that had 7-4 record in 2011... Personal bests of 46.79 at 400m and 1:54.36 at 800m.
Silvester Harrison - Killeen, Texas (Ellison HS) - Distance
Currently ranks No. 15 in state of Texas in indoor mile for Ellison High School in Killeen, Texas... Won 12-5A district title in cross country as junior after placing second as sophomore... Finished fourth at district meet and 10th at regional meet in 1,600 meters as junior... Personal bests of 4:22.96 at 1,600 meters, 9:35.55 at 3,200 meters and 15:15.00 in cross country 5,000 meters.
Chris McElroy - Kingsport, Tenn (Dobyns-Bennett HS) - Distance
Won 3A state title in mile in 2011 for Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, Tenn.... Won sectional title in both 800m and mile, then placed seventh at state in 800m as junior... Ranked No. 1 in Tennessee in mile and No. 8 in 800m... Placed second in section in 800m and 4x800m relay as sophomore... Standout cross country runner, won conference and regional titles as junior... Placed 10th at 3A state meet as junior... Ranked No. 12 in Tennessee in cross country 5,000 meters in 2011... Personal bests of 1:57.55 at 800m and 4:15.75.
Felix Obi - El Paso, Texas (Franklin HS) - Triple Jump
Won district titles in long jump and triple jump as junior for Franklin High School in El Paso, Texas... Currently ranked No. 1 in nation in indoor triple jump...Won long jump and triple at USATF Border Association Junior Olympics, broke 50 feet in triple jump... Won district title and placed fifth in regional as sophomore in 2010...Placed sixth in triple jump at national-level USATF Junior Olympics... Personal best of 50 feet, 0.25 inches.
Alex Reece - Houston, Texas (Klein Forest HS) - Sprints
Helped 4x100-meter relay to title, placed second in 4x200-meter relay and third in 100 meters at region meet as junior for Klein Forest High School in Houston, Texas... Finished third at state meet in 4x200m relay in 2011... Served as team captain as junior... Finished sixth in both 100m and 200m at 2011 USATF Junior Olympics... Competed for Klein Collins High School in Houston as freshman and sophomore, helped team to 4x100m relay regional title as sophomore... Personal bests of 10.58 at 100m and 21.17 at 200m.
Meredith Jackson - Indianapolis, Ind. (Franklin Central HS) - Middle Distance
Won conference, sectional and regional title in 800 meters as junior for Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind.... Placed eighth at Indiana state meet in 800 meters as junior and seventh as sophomore... Ranked 10th in entire state in 800 meters in 2011 with personal best of 2:15.89... Ranked in top 20 in Indiana in 1,600 meters with personal best of 5:22.00... Also competed in cross country, placing third at regional meet and 33rd at state.
Taije Jordan - Lancaster, Texas (Lancaster HS) - Hurdles
Currently ranks No. 1 in Texas and No. 5 in United States in indoor 60 hurdles... Won 100 hurdles at Texas state 4A meet for Lancaster (Texas) High School as junior, while placing fourth in 300 hurdles and eighth in 4x400-meter relay... Won district and regional titles in 100H, 300H and 4x400-meter relay as junior... Placed seventh at New Balance Outdoor National Championships in 2011... Finished second in 100H and third in 300H at state meet as sophomore... Earned regional second-place finish in 300H and third place finish in 100H as freshman... Personal bests of 13.78 in 100 hurdles and 42.59 in 300 hurdles... Ranked in top-five in Texas and top 30 nationally in 100H, 300H and 400H.
Brianna Richardson - Heath, Texas (Rockwall-Heath HS) - Jumps
Won Texas 4A state title in triple jump and placed second in long jump as junior in 2011 for Rockwall-Heath High School in Heath, Texas... Won triple jump at both districts and regionals, won long jump at district and placed second in long jump at regional... Also ran on team's district fifth-place 4x200-meter relay and sixth-place 4x100m relay as junior... Won triple jump at 2011 Texas Relays... Won both district and region, and placed second in state triple jump as sophomore... Placed second in district triple jump as freshman... In 2011, ranked No. 2 in Texas and No. 15 nationally in triple jump with leap of 40 feet, 10.5 inches, and No. 14 in Texas in long jump at 18-6... Also competes on RHHS basketball team.
Kristin Smithey - Hubbard, Texas (Hubbard HS) - Throws
Won district title in discus as junior in 2011 for Hubbard (Texas) High School... Earned third-place finish at Texas 1A state meet in discus... Finished second in region discus as junior... Won discus event at Axtell Longhorn Relays meet... Personal best of 121 feet, 6.75 inches in discus.
Olicia Williams - Melville, N.Y. (St. Anthony's HS) - Middle Distance
Currently ranked No. 4 in New York and No. 12 nationally in indoor 800 meters, and No. 5 in New York and No. 7 in U.S. in 600 meters for St. Anthony's High School in Melville, N.Y.... Two-time NSCHSAA indoor 600-meter and two-time outdoor 800-meter champion... Also won indoor 1,000 meters and outdoor 400 meters at NSCHSAA Championships as junior... Finished third in 800m at New Balance Indoor Nationals in 2011... Helped 4x400-meter relay and 4x800-meter relay to NSCHSAA titles... Anchored 4x400 that placed third and 4x800 relay that finished fourth at New York state championship... In 2011, ranked No. 3 nationally indoors and No. 10 nationally outdoors in 800 meters... Also ranked in top five in state in outdoor 400m, indoor 600m and indoor 1,000m... Personal bests of 54.27 in 400m and 2:07.80 in 800 meters.