COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M signed a class of 27 new Aggies in track and field Wednesday, with 15 men and 12 women set to join the program in the fall of 2011. Twenty members of the Aggie signing class are from Texas with the other seven hailing from California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland and Nebraska.
“This class has some very talented people in it,” Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry said. “We have a strong senior class that we have to replace. That is always our goal, to have a great class of seniors that we need to replace. The goal is to recruit great people and bring them into the program. I think this signing class is reflective of that.
“The staff has worked very hard with Dan Waters, who serves as our recruiting coordinator. Signing this many people at one time is always a difficult task. However, it’s come through very well today.”
On Wednesday evening Texas A&M 12th Man Foundation hosts a reception in the Zone Club that celebrates the recruiting classes for football, soccer and track and field featuring each Aggie head coach in those respective sports.
“It’s a great function and a great time to do it,” noted Henry. “This is the third year track and field has shared this February signing date with football and soccer. Also, we hope we aren’t too far away from talking about the same guy doing the same thing, both football and track, at Texas A&M.”
Amid a mixture of sprinters, hurdlers, distance runners, jumpers and throwers are a collection of State champions, record holders and a couple of athletes who have already excelled on the international stage.
“There are some U.S. leaders in the group we signed today and we also have some State champions,” Henry stated. “There is a cross section of talent in a variety of events. That’s always the goal, the development of a team and not focus on just one area. This class covers just about everything.”
Devin Bogert, who is home schooled in Tomball, Texas, is a nationally ranked javelin thrower joining the Texas A&M program. A silver medalist in the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympics, held in Singapore last August, Bogert set an American age group record with the 700 gram high school javelin as his toss measured 252 feet, 2 inches.
Bogert, who won the 2010 Great Southwest javelin title in Albuquerque, New Mexico last summer, also has a best of 221-8 with the high school 800g javelin. Bogert ranks No. 2 nationally among returning high school throwers in 2011.
Another thrower in this A&M signing class is discus thrower Dalton Rowan (Conroe Oak Ridge), who claimed the State 5A title last spring and sports a best of 184-10.
Louisiana sprinter Kamaria Brown (Baton Rouge) set a national record of 52.99 seconds in the Young women 400 during the 2010 USATF Junior Olympics and is a two-time Louisiana State outdoor champion in the 200 and 400. Brown has a career best of 23.53 in the 200, where she ranks No. 3 national among returning seniors in 2011. In the 400, Brown ranks No. 2 among returning seniors.
Another female quarter-miler signing with Texas A&M is Olivia Ekpone (Germantown, Maryland), who won Maryland State titles in the 100, 200 and 400 in 2010 and sports personal bests of 11.58, 23.75 and 53.60 in those three events.
Ekpone, who ranks No. 7 among returning seniors for 2011, also represented the United States during the 2010 Youth Olympics, where she earned a bronze medal in the 200 with her career best of 23.75.
Sprinting prowess for the Aggie men arrives in the form of Ameer Webb (Tustin, California) from Cerritos Community College in California along with Ricky Babineaux (Breaux Bridge, Louisiana) from Hind Community College in Mississippi.
Webb won the California JC 200 title last season and finished second in the 100. His best marks include a 10.37 in the 100, where he also has a windy 10.26, along with a 20.70 in the 200. Babineaux has split 46.1 on the 4 x 400 relay for Hinds, who qualified in both the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays at the NJCAA Championships in 2010. Babineaux was the 2009 Louisiana State champion in the 300 hurdles and triple jump.
Hurdle depth is supplied by the crew that includes Kenneth Minkah (Glenn Heights, Texas – DeSoto HS), Gregory Coleman (San Antonio, Texas – Warren HS) and Aiken Graham (Round Rock Westwood HS).
Minkah, who is in Osaka, Japan this week for a meet involving the USA, Germany and Japan, won the 2010 State 5A 110 hurdles and was runner-up at the Texas Relays. Minkah sports a best of 13.62 in the 110 hurdles with a windy best of 13.45 and also has clocked 36.83 in the 300 hurdles. He is the No. 1 returning 300 hurdler in the nation and ranks No. 2 in the 110 hurdles.
Coleman claimed the State 5A title in the 300 hurdles last season, where his 36.86 ranks No. 3 in the nation among returning hurdlers. Graham, who has run 52.99 in the 400 hurdles and ranks No. 6 in the nation, is the son of Winthrop Graham, a former Longhorn who earned an Olympic silver medal for Jamaica in the 400 hurdles.
Jena Hemann (Breese, Illinois) and LaQue Moen-Davis (Omaha, Nebraska) will enter the A&M program as a talented pair of out-of-state athletes who prosper in various events. A pair of Texas athlete with the same multi-talents are Brea Garrett (Arlington, Texas – Martin HS) and Jean Deason (Floresville, Texas – St. Anthony).
Moen-Davis became the first female jumper to surpass 20 feet in the long jump in the state of Nebraska with a leap of 20-2 ¾. She has also established state records in the 100 hurdles (13.99) and triple jump (42-4w) competing for Central HS. On a national level, Moen-Davis claimed gold in the 2010 USATF Junior Olympic long jump and was a silver medalist in the triple jump.
Hemann captured four State titles as a junior at Central Community HS in the high jump, long jump, triple jump and 100 meters. She is a three time Illinois State champion in the high jump, where she has a best of 5-9. Hemenn recently earned Player of the Year honors in volleyball for Class 1A-2A by the Belleville News-Democrat.
Garrett claimed the State 5A shot put title in 2010 while also placing fourth in the long jump and fifth in the 100 hurdles. She sports a best of 43-8 ¼ in the shot put while having bests of 19-1 ½ in the long jump, and 13.87w in the 100 hurdles.
Deason placed second in the shot put at the TAPPS State meet as well as the long jump while placing third in the pole vault.
The jumps and vault additions for the Aggies include Jonathan Turner (Corpus Christi, Texas – Carroll HS), Dylan Richards (Groves, Texas – Port Neches-Groves HS) and Clifton Harlin (Fort Worth, Texas – Country Day).
Turner was the 2009 State 5A long jump runner-up, who placed fourth in 2010. He has a wind-aided best of 24-0 ¾. Turner also is a two-time defending 100 meter champion in District 27-5A. Richards placed second in the State 4A high jump in 2010 and has a best of 6-10. He has claimed the Region III-4A title the past two seasons. Harlin is a two-time Southwest Preparatory Conference champion in the pole vault.
Additional depth in the sprints comes from Nolan Mayhew (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Joshua McKinney (Pflugerville, Texas – Hendrickson HS).
Mayhew won the 400 at the 2010 Great Southwest meet in Albuquerque, New Mexico and was a bronze medalist for Cheyenne Mountain HS in both the 400 and 800 at the Colorado 3A State meet. McKinney qualified for the State 4A meet in the 400 after placing second in Region IV-4A and was a member of the Hendrickson 4 x 400 relay which finished fifth in the State meet.
A third of the signing class will bring middle distance and distance runners to the A&M program. This group includes Travis Barclay (Boerne, Texas – Champion HS), Raul Ramirez (Eagle Pass, Texas – CC Winn HS) and Jake Roberts (Argyle, Texas) for the Aggie men.
Joining the Aggie women will be Jillian Anderson (Humble, Texas – Atascocita HS), Johanna Galloway (Decatur, Texas), Kelsey Hermes (Lindsay, Texas), Margo Lyons (The Woodlands, Texas), Kelsey Miller (Katy, Texas – Cinco Ranch) and Hillary Montgomery (Spring, Texas – Klein HS).
Barclay finished third in the State 4A cross country meet this past fall and last year he was part of the Boerne Champion squad that won the Nike national team title. Ramirez finished fourth in the 800 at the 2010 State 5A meet. Roberts claimed the State 3A cross country title this past fall and has finished third in the 1,600 at the State 3A meet the past two years.
Montgomery finished fourth in the 2010 State 5A cross country meet and placed 15th at the Foot Locker South Regional. Galloway placed third in the State 3A cross country race. Lyons was a member of the The Woodlands team that placed second at the Nike South meet to qualify for the Nike team nationals in cross country.
In the 2010 State 1A meet Hermes finished third in the 1,600 and fourth in 3,200. Miller runs the 800 where she placed fifth in the 2010 State 5A meet. Anderson, who runs the 400 and 800, placed fourth in the 400 at the Region III-5A meet.
Ricky Babineaux Breaux Bridge, Louisiana (Hinds CC) Sprints
Travis Barclay Boerne, Texas (Boerne) Distance
Devin Bogert Tomball, Texas (Home school) Javelin
Gregory Coleman San Antonio, Texas (Warren) Hurdles
Aiken Graham Austin, Texas (Round Rock Westwood) Hurdles
Clifton Harlin Dallas, Texas (Country Day) Pole Vault
Nolan Mayhew Colorado Springs, Colorado (Cheyenne Mountain) Sprints
Joshua McKinney Pflugerville, Texas (Hendrickson) Sprints
Kenneth Minkah Glenn Heights, Texas (DeSoto) Hurdles
Raul Ramirez Eagle Pass, Texas (CC Winn) Middle Distance
Dylan Richards Groves, Texas (Port Neches-Groves) High Jump
Jake Roberts Argyle, Texas (Argyle) Distance
Dalton Rowan Spring, Texas (Oak Ridge) Throws
Jonathan Turner Corpus Christi, Texas (Carroll) Jumps
Ameer Webb Tustin, California (Cerritos JC) Sprints
Jillian Anderson Humble, Texas (Atascocita) Middle Distance
Kamaria Brown Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Magnet) Sprints
Jean Deason Floresville, Texas (St. Anthony) Multi-event
Olivia Ekpone Germantown, Maryland (Northwest) Sprints
Johanna Galloway Decatur, Texas (Decatur) Distance
Brea Garrett Arlington, Texas (Martin) Throws/Multi
Jena Hemann Breese, Illinois (Central Community) Multi-event
Kelsey Hermes Lindsay, Texas (Lindsay) Distance
Margo Lyons The Woodlands, Texas (The Woodlands) Distance
Kelsey Miller Katy, Texas (Cinco Ranch) Middle Distance
LaQue Moen-Davis Omaha, Nebraska (Central) Jumps
Hillary Montgomery Spring, Texas (Klein) Distance