K-State Adds Five to 2014 Recruiting Class

March 20, 2014K-State AthleticsMANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State Track and Field signed five additional student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the 2015 season, head coach Cliff Rovelto announced Thursday. The latest group of Wildcats joins a 2014 recruiting class that now totals 16 athletes.

The newest additions will look to bolster the jumps, throws and sprints categories for K-State. For the men, K-State added Jamaica-native high jumper Christoff Bryan, as well Brady Grunder, a transfer from Iowa Central Community College, in the throws. On the women’s side, Jamaica-native Shardia Lawrence and Omaha, Texas, native Chadnee Knox both join the Wildcats with notable success in the horizontal jumps, while Keiteyana Parks, of Lincoln, Neb., brings solid high school experience in the sprints.

With the 2014 recruiting class officially set, K-State has an added an impressive array of talent from both the states and internationally. In total, each of the five international recruits has previous IAAF international competition experience, including the three Jamaican athletes all holding national titles in their respective events. In addition to international experience, the Wildcats have six athletes from the U.S. that are ranked No. 1 in their respective events of their states, including the top-ranked sprinter, high jumper, long jumper and triple jumper in the state of Texas, with six of the eleven American athletes having won one or more state titles.

Rovelto said this recruiting class is one that, as a whole, will benefit the Wildcats in almost every area of competition.

“The quality is extremely high,” Rovelto said. “The quality and depth that we’re going to have in a number of event areas is going to be as good as just about anyone in the country.”

For Rovelto, the women’s team, in particular, is adding perhaps one of the better classes he has seen in his tenure at K-State.

“I definitely think, for sure, on the women’s side that this class on paper can be as good as any class that we have brought in the 26 years I’ve been here at Kansas State, I don’t think there’s any question about that,” Rovelto said. “I think if you look at what we return on the women’s side, we don’t lose that much in terms of point scorers at the conference meet, that team really has the potential to be special once they all get here and everyone is healthy.”

Rovelto said despite the large disparity between the women added, 10, and men added, six, the quality of athletes in the men’s class is impressive.

“On the men’s side, it’s pretty good,” Rovelto said. “We don’t have the numbers there obviously like we do with the women, but the quality is very good. Whether or not they’re major factors immediately remains to be seen, but I’m very confident in saying there are athletes that two years from now will be significant contributors.

“So, in my mind, both classes are very, very good. I think from a national perspective, in terms of other people looking at it right now, they’re probably extremely impressed with the women’s group. But for the men, from a national perspective, anytime you add a couple guys that look to be factors competing in the national meet as freshman that’s really good too.”

In addition to the information provided below on the last five of the recruiting class, information on the initial 11 can be found by visiting the K-State Track and Field page on www.k-statesports.com, or by clicking this link to the recruiting release here.

For the women…

Knox GraphicLawrence GraphicKeiteyana Graphic

Chadnee Knox | Jumps | Paul Pewitt High School | Omaha, Texas

Chadnee Knox joins the Wildcats as one of the top jumps recruits in the country. A native of Omaha, Texas, Knox has enjoyed considerable success at Paul Pewitt High School where she is a two-time UIL Class 2A state champion in the long jump. In 2013, she was the No. 1 ranked long jumper in the state of Texas and enters this season as the No. 8 ranked returner in the U.S. Knox is currently the back-to-back state champion in the long jump and will look to make it three-in-a-row in May. She holds a career best mark in the event of 5.96m/19-06.75.

What Rovelto says…

“Chadnee is someone who has great marks. We got in with her late in the game and she had some opportunities to go other places, but made the decision she wanted to be at K-State. With her as well as the returners and athletes who had committed, that horizontal jumps group is going to be one that is very strong because they are all young. When you look at in terms of the conference meet, we think each one of them is capable of scoring.”

Shardia Lawrence | Jumps | Hydel Preparatory School | Jamaica

One of two Jamaican natives, the other being Kimberly Williamson, in this year’s recruiting class for the Wildcat women, Shardia Lawrence signs on with K-State as the 2013 CARIFTA Games U-20 champion in the triple jump. Before transferring to Hydel Prep this year, Lawrence won the triple jump title at the ISSA/Grace Kennedy Athletics Boys and Girls Championships (Champs) in 2013 with Vere Technical High School. Now a member of Hydel, the reigning Prep School Champions, Lawrence is primed to help the school score its first ever points in the long jump. She currently holds a personal best of 12.99m/42-08.00 in the triple jump and 5.87m/19-03.25 in the long jump.

What Rovelto says…

“Shardia is an extremely-gifted horizontal jumper. She’ll definitely be a factor at the conference meet and probably the national level right away. She is that kind of an athlete and also could be someone that could help us in the short relay outdoors.”

Keiteyana Parks | Sprints | Lincoln High School | Lincoln, Neb.

Hailing from Lincoln, Neb., Keiteyana Parks joins the Wildcats with a solid résumé in the sprints events. She is coming off a strong junior year, which saw her finish second in the 100 meter and third in the 200 meter at the NSAA Track and Field Championships. Parks also comes to K-State with family ties, as she is the sister of current Wildcat sprinter Jay-J Parks, who was a state champion in the 400 meter in his time at Lincoln. Keiteyana currently holds personal bests of 12.20 seconds in the 100 meter and 25.11 in the 200 meter.

What Rovelto says…

“Keiteyana is one of the better sprinters in the state of Nebraska. The times she has run out of Nebraska, with the short season and so forth, are very respectable. One of the things we needed to do was add some depth in the women’s sprints, particularly with people who can run on the short relays. She adds that, but she is also probably far better than where her times indicate because of the season up there.”

For the men…

Bryan GraphicGrunder Graphic

Christoff Bryan | Jumps | Wolmer’s Boys High School | Jamaica

Christoff Bryan completes an impressive set of high jump recruits for the Wildcats this year. A native of Jamaica, Bryan is a highly decorated high jumper out Wolmer’s Boys High School. He won a U-18 gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean (C.A.C.) Junior Championships in 2012 and is the Jamaica ISSA/Grace Kennedy Athletics Boys and Girls Championships record holder in the high jump with a mark of 2.19m/7-02.25. In addition to his gold medal, Bryan won both a bronze at the IAAF World Youth Championships and a silver medal at the Pan-American Junior Championships in 2013.

Regarded as one of the most promising jumpers in Jamaica since former national record holder and Olympic silver medalist Germaine Mason, Bryan is also a four-time “Champs” Champion, three-time Caribbean Free Trade Agreement Games (CARIFTA) champion and the C.A.C. high jump record holder. Bryan currently holds a personal best jump of 2.20m/7-02.50.

What Rovelto says…

“Christoff is probably the biggest impact guy. He’s a really talented athlete and he’s going to have a significant impact immediately both conference-wise and nationally. With NaTron [Gipson] and the guys we got returning [in the high jump], it’s going to be a really good group.”

Brady Grunder | Throws | Iowa Central Community College | Iowa

The last of three community college transfers in this year’s recruiting class, Brady Grunder brings experience to a men’s throws group that will be losing its top-two throwers after this season. Grunder, who competed for Durant in high school, finished the 2014 indoor season with the top weight throw and No. 8 ranked shot put in the NJCAA. In championship competition this year, Grunder won the Region XI weight throw title and was the runner-up at the NJCAA Indoor Championships. Along with success on the NJCAA level, Grunder was a IASHAA 2A Regional Champion in the discus throw and state runner-up in the shot put at Durant. He currently holds personal bests of 18.12m/59-05.50 in the weight throw, 52.75m/173-01.00 in the hammer throw and 16.00m/52-06.00 in the shot put.

What Rovelto says…

“Brady is a guy that coach [Greg] Watson saw and was impressed with, projecting him down the road as a significant contributor in the weight and hammer throws. Our perception is that his upside is high and it may very well be that he doesn’t compete his first year for us because given a year working with coach Watson, he could be a real high-caliber guy in a couple years.”