June 1, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. – After signing nine recruits to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period, Kansas State Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Cliff Rovelto has announced the signing of eight more recruits to what he has already referred to as his best signing class yet at K-State.
“We are excited that these athletes have selected K-State to pursue their academic and athletic goals,” Rovelto said. “These student-athletes are well decorated, very talented and will play a major role in our program’s continued growth in the years to come both at the conference and national levels.”
The eight latest signees have four women and four men set to join the Wildcats this fall for the 2012-13 season. These additional signees also have seen great success in their events that will add to the quality and depth on the roster. Akela Jones, Sonia Gaskin, Mary Francis Donnelly and Ashley Williams have signed with the women’s team while Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye, Darius Fields, Jordan Oakry and Magnus Scott will be with the men’s team.
Jones is one of two women signing with K-State this time around from Barbados. She is the most decorated young athlete in the country. At the CARIFTA Games (Caribbean Free Trade Area), she is a two-time gold medalist and three-time silver medalist in the high jump while also winning two golds and a bronze in the long jump. Jones placed sixth in the World Youth Championships in the long jump and holders the under-17 high jump record at the CARIFTA Games. When she was just 15 years old, she won the high jump at the Penn Relays with a leap of 5-11.00, which still ranks as the second-best ever at the prestigious meet for that age group. Jones will train with Rovelto in the multi-events, joining fellow Barbados native and recent ninth-place finisher in the heptathlon at the Big 12 Championship, Richelle Farley.
Gaskin is another signee from Barbados and will train with the mid-distance group as she recently won the Barbados secondary school championship in the 400, 800 and 1,500 meters while setting personal best marks in each event. She set a championship record winning the 1,500 and 800. Gaskin clocked in at 2:10.83 in the 800 and ran 4:46.73 in the 1,500.
Donnelly comes to K-State from Missouri where she finished fourth at the state 3A championship meet in the 800 meters. She clocked in at 2:17.84. The coaching staff anticipates she will be able to contribute for the Wildcats in cross country as well.
Williams hails from Texas where she has run times that rank nationally among recruits. Her personal best time in the 100 meters is 11.87 seconds and 24.24 in the 200. She also has run 55.64 in the 400. Coming from Round Rock Stony Point High, Williams competes in one of the strongest districts in Texas, where only the top two finishers at district championship meets advance to the state championship.
For the men, Otuonye comes to K-State from Turks and Caicos. He ran for Jamaica Monroe College High School. He saw success on a big stage this season running at the Penn Relays. He was on the Jamaican boys relay teams that took silver in the 4x100 and gold in the 4x400 of the high school boys division. The 4x400 relay team also won gold at the 2012 Jamaican Boys and Girls Championship. Otuonye competed for Turks and Caicos at the CARIFTA Games taking silver in the high jump. He also represented his homeland in the Common Wealth Youth Games taking bronze in the long jump. Otuonye also is the national record holder in the long jump for Turks and Caicos, with a personal best of 23-05.50.
Fields signs with K-State out of Florida where he recently ran the anchor leg of the state champion 4x100 relay team. He helped Apopka High run 40.69 seconds at the state meet and has also lettered in basketball.
Oakry is another sprinter signing from Texas where he qualified for the USA Championship and is an AAU Junior Olympics qualifier. He runs for Timbercreek High in Keller and has a personal best of 10.68 seconds in the 100 and 21.61 in the 200.
Scott is a four-sport athlete from Oklahoma lettering in football, basketball, power lifting and track and field. He has won three state titles in the 100 meters and two in the 200, holding the Oklahoma state championship meet record in both events. He has run personal best times of 10.41 seconds and 21.65 seconds.
“Despite the graduation of some of the best athletes in our school’s history this year, with the continued growth of our returning student-athletes and the addition of this year’s signing class we feel that our teams will be even better,” Rovelto said. “Going into the 2012-13 academic year, my expectations will be very high for both our men’s and women’s programs.”