K-State Track Inks Nine During Fall Signing Period

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State track and field team signed nine athletes to National Letters of Intent (NLIs) during the fall signing period, head coach Cliff Rovelto announced. 

The fall signing class is made up of two jumpers/sprinters, two multi-event athletes, three throwers and two distance runners. The athletes come from three countries, as well as six different states. 

Making up the signing class are: Jullane Walker (Sprints/Jumps); Wurrie Njadoe (Sprints/Jumps); Ariel Okorie (Multi); Lauren Taubert (Multi); Gabi Lavington (Throws); Shaelyn Ward (Throws); Helene Ingvaldsen (Throws); Erin Lee (Distance); Paityn Howat (Distance).  

Jullane Walker | Calabar High School | 100M & Long Jump

Walker joins the Wildcats from Calabar High School in Kingston, Jamaica, where he competed in the 100M and long jump. He finished as the 2014 and 2015 Jamaican High School National Championships runner-up. Walker’s personal bests include a 10.31 mark in the 100M and a jump of 7.50/24’7.25” in long jump. 

What Rovelto says…
“Jullane is a very talented long jumper and sprinter.  Good teams need quality, versatile athletes like Jullane.  He will have a significant impact in the long jump, short sprints and short relay for us.”

Wurrie Njadoe | Shorecrest High School | 100M, 200M & Long Jump

After a stellar 2015 season which saw her win Washington High School state titles in the 100M, 200M, long jump and high jump, Njadoe looks to make a big impact in sprints and jumps at K-State. She also took the championship at the 2015 USATF Junior Olympics in long jump, and added a 2nd-place and 3rd-place finish in the 100M and 200M, respectively. She has set personal bests in the 100M (11.66), 200M (23.87), long jump (5.87/19’3”) and high jump (1.65/5’5”)

What Rovelto says…
“Wurrie is a very fine long jumper and sprinter.  She will have a significant impact on our program immediately.”
Ariel Okorie | Waynesville High School | Multi
A multi-event athlete from Waynesville High School In Waynesville, Missouri, Okorie joins 2015 National Championship winner Akela Jones competing in multi-events. During the 2015 season, she finished runner-up in long jump and 3rd in the 100H in the Missouri high school championship meet. She also finished 3rd in the USATF Youth Championships Heptathlon in 2015 and won the event in 2014. Her personal best in the heptathlon is 4,643 points, as well as a 43.74 mark in 300H and a leap of 5.82/19’1.25” in long jump.  

Lauren Taubert | Natrona County High School | Multi
Taubert is the second multi-event athlete of the fall signing class, joining Ariel Okorie. A two-time state champion in Wyoming in 300H and high jump, Taubert boasts an impressive mutli-event resume. In 2013, she won the USA Youth Outdoor Championships. Her personal bests include scoring 4,713 points in the heptathlon, a 43.45 mark in the 300H and a 1:03.46 mark in the 400H. She also a personal best in high jump with a jump of 1.73/5’8”.  

What Rovelo says…
“Ariel and Lauren are very talented and versatile young combined event athletes.  In addition to having previous combined event experience in high school they both possess some very strong individual events.  They both will have a significant impact on our team in that they can contribute in a number of events much like many of the more recent heptathletes in our program.”

Gabby Lavington | Cheney High School | Throws
The only in-state signee of the class, Lavington dominated throws at the 3A level in Kansas. During the 2015 season, she won the discus state championship, as well as set the record for the shot put for 3A. Her personal bests include a 13.30/46’11” throw in shot put and a 37.08/121’8” throw in discus. 

Shaelyn Ward | Lincoln Christian High School | Throws
Ward joins the Wildcats from Lincoln Christian High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma and looks to make an impact on an already solid throws group. She holds personal bests in Shot Put (13.13/43’1”), discus (41.64/136’7”) and hammer throw (39.50/129’7”).

What Rovelto says…
“Gabby and Shaelyn are versatile and athletic.  Coach Watson has done a remarkable job of developing these types of athletes.  I am confident these young ladies will contribute significantly in the years to come.”

Helene Ingvaldsen | Bergen, Norway | Throws
The final thrower of the signing class, Ingvaldsen joins Ward and Lavington in what will be a strong throws group. In 2013, she finished in 8th-place at the IAAF World Youth Championships. In the same year, she competed at the IAAF World Junior Competitor. Her personal best in the hammer throw is 58.39/191’6”. 

What Rovelto says…
“Helene is a very capable hammer thrower.  It is difficult to replace an athlete of Sara's ability but Helene may very well end up successfully doing so.”

Erin Lee | York High School | Distance
After a dominant high school career, Lee will look to continue her success with the distance group and the cross country team at K-State. Lee won the Nebraska Class B State championship in the 800M, 1,600M and 3,200M during the 2015 season. She was also a Nebraska State High School Class B Champion in cross country all four years of high school. She has set personal bests in the 800M (2:12.44) and in the 1,600M (5:00.32). 

Paityn Howat | Central High School | Distance
Howat continues the St. Joe pipeline to Kansas State as she will provide another spark to the distance group. She recorded two top-5 finishes in the Missouri High School Class 5 meet in the 800M in 2013 and 2015.  She also took 8th-place in the 1,600M at the 2015 Missouri High School Class 5 meet. She set a personal best with a 2:11.82 mark in the 800M and a 5:02.05 mark in the 1,600M. 

What Rovelto says…
“Erin and Paityn are very fine middle-distance runners who have also experienced success in cross country.  They are valuable additions to our team.”

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