Bowling Green, Ky. - Western Kentucky University head track and field coach Erik Jenkins announced the signing of eight new athletes to join the Hilltopper and Lady Topper programs in the fall.
Three of the signees will join a men's program that just completed the first triple crown in Sun Belt Conference history - winning the league's cross country, indoor and outdoor track titles during the 2011-12 season. The five women's signees become part of program that won 18 consecutive conference titles in the three sports from 2006 through the 2011 cross country championships.
"I'm very excited about our talented recruiting classes for the upcoming season," said Jenkins. "Recruiting is the backbone of any program and I understand that. In order to be successful we must have the right athletes in our program. These individuals provide us an opportunity to continue the success we have had here at WKU. The staff has worked very hard and it's illuminated today.
Junior College All American Elvyonn Bailey highlights the men's class. The Riverside, Calif., native holds the Arkansas Baptist College school record in both the 100 and 200 meters. This past season, he earned All-America honors in both the 4x400 meters and the 200 meters, and was a 2011 All American in the 4x100, the 4x400 and the 200 meters. In two seasons at Arkansas Baptist, he qualified for the Junior College National Championship seven times - making it in the 4x100 in 2011, and the 4x400, 100 meters and 200 meters in both 2011 and 2012.
Local product Donovan Halsel will stay close to home for his collegiate career. The Bowling Green native was a three-time state champion in the high jump at Warren Central High School, setting a personal best of 6-feet, 10-inches. He also placed third in the event in the World Youth Trials.
Birmingham, Ala., native Jakaryus Redwine makes his way to the Hill after ranking fourth in the state in both the 200 and 400-meters. The Oak Mountain High School graduate also placed seventh in the 400 at the New Balance Outdoor National Championships. He holds personal bests of 10.83 seconds in the 100-meters, 21.67 in the 200 and 47.48 in the 400.
On the women's side, Fredrika Jordan will join the Lady Toppers after winning multiple Alabama state championships. The Anniston, Ala., product was a two-time state champion for Anniston High School in both the 100 meters and 200 meters, holding personal-best times of 11.93 in the 100 and 24.59 in the 200.
Monti Willis (Smyrna, Ga., Campbell HS) comes to WKU after a runner-up finish in the long jump at the Georgia high school state meet. She also ranked fifth in the state in the 300 hurdles and sixth in the 100 hurdles, and placed seventh in the heptathlon at the New Balance Outdoors.
A pair of in-state products - Katie Lever (Elizabethtown, Ky., John Hardin HS) and Lindsey Hinken (Erlanger, Ky., St. Henry District HS) will also make their way to Bowling Green. Lever was a 2011 Class AAA all-state selection by the Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association. She holds personal bests of 11:19.60 in the 2-mile run and 19:24 in the 5K.
Hinken was also named the 2011 Northern Kentucky Female Cross Country Runner of the Year, and was state champion in the 4x800. In 2012, she won her fourth consecutive Class A 3000-meter championship at the Mason Dixon Classic. She also helped St. Henry to a 2012 Kentucky State Track Class "A" team title, and was named the 2012 St. Henry Female "Crusader of the Year".
Edmonton, Alberta, product Taylor Carlin rounds out the signing class. Carlin ranks sixth in the indoor 1,500 meters, holding a personal-best time of 4:45.16. She has also turned in a top time of 2:15.68 in the 800 meters.
"With this class, there is a variety of talent in several events," added Jenkins. "Our goal will always be to have a well-rounded team, and not just focus on one area. This class continues to exemplify that."
- WKU -