Duck Add Eight Top Track and Field Signees


EUGENE – The University of Oregon track and field program announced the addition of eight more national caliber signees Tuesday from the recent signing period that add to one of the nation’s top recruiting classes.

The Men of Oregon welcome two transfers - sophomore hurdler/jumper David Klech (San Ramon, Calif.) and javelin thrower Mike Simmons (Clackamas, Ore.) - and two talented freshmen from the West Coast - jumper Elvis Akpla (Portland, Ore.) and hurdler Eric Hersey (Los Altos, Calif.).

The Duck women signed four incoming freshmen that will also make an immediate impact at the championship level – pole vaulter Jordan Roskelley (Spokane, Wash.), heptathlete Brianne Theisen (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) and sprinters Amy Skofstad (Gladstone, Ore.) and  Mandy White (Lakeridge, Ore.).

Klech competed for UCLA last season as a freshman after one of the most prolific prep careers in California state history. The 2006 Gatorade National Boys Athlete of the Year and 2005 and ’06 Gatorade California State Athlete of the Year competed for California High School, and was a four-time national champion, 12-time All-American, 400m hurdles state record holder, and Nike Team Nationals indoor pentathlon champion and meet record holder. He won the 400m hurdles bronze medal in the 2005 World Youth Championships, the same event that he won the 2006 Junior Olympic title and placed third in the 2006 USA Outdoor Junior Championships (50.86). His prolific list of prep bests and national season rankings follow: 400m – 47.64 (2006), 110m hurdles - 13.69m (fifth, 2006), 300m hurdles – 35.54a (first, 2006), 400m hurdles – 50.35 (first, 2006), high jump – 7-0 3/4 (fourth, 2005), long jump – 24-7 3/4w (2005), pentathlon – 3,980 (first, 2006).

Akpla was the 2007 Oregon high school state leader for Lincoln High School as a senior in the long jump (23-11) and triple jump (47-8) and the 6A state champion in both events (23-1 1/4; 47-8w, w:2.7). He was also a state meet qualifier as a junior (long jump, 16th).

Hersey was one of the nation’s top prep hurdlers, and ran a 110m hurdles personal best for Los Altos High School in the 2007 California state meet (fifth, 13.84) and also placed in the 300m hurdles (eighth, 37.98) with a time that was just off his personal best (37.67) from the CIF CCS final.  He also was a state qualifier as a sophomore (110m hurdles, ninth, 14.50).

Simmons ranked 41st in the U.S. in the javelin in 2007 for Clackamas Community College (224-0), and was an area junior college All-American and NWAACC conference champion in 2006 and ‘07. As a prep, he was the Oregon 4A state runner-up as a senior for Clackamas High School (213-0), and that prep best ranked him second in the state that year and seventh nationally among preps. He also competed in the state meet as a junior (sixth, 187-1)

Warren showed impressive potential in his short high jump career as a senior. In May, the Grant High School two-sport star and starting shortstop cleared a personal best that won the 6A state title (6-10) and ranked second overall in the state season rankings. He began competing in the event as a senior and high jumped in five meets with only one practice as he focused on his baseball career for the state playoff qualifiers.

Roskelley was the Washington 3A state champion in 2007 for Mt. Spokane High School with a meet record, and cleared 12-8 during the season – more than two feet better than her preseason best of 10-6. She was a Pasco Invitational champion during the season and an honor student in the classroom.

As a senior, Skofstad was the 4A state champion for Gladstone High School in the long jump (19-2 1/2) and the state runner-up in the 100m (12.59) and 200m (25.68), to go along with won four 3A state titles as a junior (200m; long jump), sophomore (200m) and freshman (400m). She also placed top 12 in the 4A state meet as a senior (4x100m, fifth) and in the 3A state meet as a junior (100m, fourth), sophomore (400m, second; 4x100m, ninth) and freshman (200m, third; 4x400m, 11th). In 2007, she was the long jump state leader (19-5) and only five inches off the Oregon state record and other owned personal bests in the 200m and 400m of 25.42a (2006) and 56.48 (2004), respectively.

In July, Theisen posted an impressive victory in the 2007 Pan American Junior Championships heptathlon (5,413 points) thanks to wins in the high jump, javelin and 800m and a runner-up long jump finish. She also saw action for the Canadian National Team in the 2006 World Junior Championships (11th, 5,149) and 2005 World Youth Championships (fourth, 4,805). A 2006 and ‘07 Canadian junior national heptathlon champion, she owns the following personal bests - 100m hurdles (14.29), high jump (5-9 1/4), long jump (19-9), 200m (25.02), shot put (35-5 1/4), javelin (132-3) and 800m (2:21.93). She was also named Saskatchewan's 2007 Female Athlete of the Year.

White led Oregon prep sprinters in 2007 as a Lakeridge High School senior with personal bests in the 100m (11.90) and 200m (24.31). She also had a long jump personal best as a senior of 17-8 3/4. At the state meet, she won a pair of 6A state titles as a senior (100m, 11.90; 200m, 24.31) and also was a top-10 state placer in other events as a senior (long jump, fourth), junior (100m, ninth; long jump, 10th), sophomore (100m, fifth; 4x100m, eighth) and freshman (100m, fifth).

The group of newcomers joins eight signees that signed letters of intent for the fall of 2007 and included three men and five women. The Men of Oregon added distance transfer Jordan McNamara (Auburn, Wash.) and a pair of incoming freshmen - distance runner Matt Centrowitz (Arnold, Md.) and hammer thrower Jordan Stray (Centralia, Wash.).  The Oregon women’s squad welcomed distance runners Elizabeth Bies (Yankton, S.D.), Alexandra Kosinski (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) and Claire Michel (Clackamas, Ore.), triple jumper and hurdler Jamesha Youngblood (Hercules, Calif.) and pole vaulter Melissa Gergel (Chicago Heights, Ill.).