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Liberty Track Inks 15 for 2013-14 Season
As Liberty's 2013 outdoor track & field season winds down, head coach Brant Tolsma announced on Monday that 15 student-athletes have signed to attend Liberty University for the 2013-14 academic year.
The signees, which include eight future Lady Flames and seven future Flames, hail from 13 different states. They will join a Liberty squad which recently swept the 2013 Big South men's and women's outdoor track & field team titles.
"Once again we are excited about the athletes who have committed to join our incoming class," Tolsma stated. "I believe they all chose Liberty because of our unique mission and their desire to grow in faith as well as academically and athletically.
"On the men's side, we are trying to replace a senior class that scored 112 points at the Big South Outdoor Championship, and we think these athletes will help us do that. They will be arriving at Liberty in a very exciting time of progress. I believe their Liberty experience will be unmatched by any previous class. It is a great time to be a Liberty Flame and we welcome them to our family!"
Profiles of the new signees follow, listed in alphabetical order by gender.
Katie Bouton (Flower Mound, Texas) – Bouton has been a part of some successful team efforts at Lewisville Flower Mound High School. In 2011, she helped the Lady Jaguars finish third at the 2011 Texas UIL Class 5A State Cross Country Championship and become the first girls team in school history to medal at the state meet. This season, Bouton, who has clocked 2:20.20 for 800 meters, was part of Flower Mound's third-place distance medley relay team at the Texas Relays.
Kelsee Derr (Turlock, Calif.) – Derr, of Pitman High School, recently captured her fourth consecutive Central California Conference title in the 100 hurdles and ran a leg on Pitman's 4 x 400 relay school-record effort of 4:01.36. An all-around performer, Derr owns personal-best marks of 15.44 in the 100 hurdles, 45.40 in the 300 hurdles and 16-9 in the long jump. She placed ninth in the pentathlon at the 2009 USA Youth Outdoor Championships.
Read an article about Derr signing with Liberty
Shaneil Fairclough (Bronx, N.Y.) – Fairclough has clocked times of 12.07 seconds for 100 meters and 25.49 seconds for 200 meters while attending Taft High School in the Bronx. As a sophomore, she placed fifth in the 100 final at the PSAL City Championship and helped her team capture the state 4 x 100 relay championship in a time of 46.97.
Oasis Hernandez (Emporia, Kan.) – Hernandez is a three-time Kansas 5A state champion for Emporia High School. She won her first state title in the 200-meter dash as a sophomore, before a most impressive performance at the 2012 state meet. Hernandez was victorious in both the 200 and triple jump, while placing as the state runner-up in the 100 and long jump. Her personal-best marks include 11.97 for the 100, 25.00 for the 200, 18-8.75 in the long jump and 39-3.25 in the triple jump.
Read an article about Hernandez signing with Liberty
Jessica Proehl (Kingston, Ohio) – Proehl has been a regular Ohio Division II state contender in the distance events during her four years at Zane Trace High School. She placed eighth at the 2012 Ohio Division II state cross country meet after finishing 15th as a junior in 2011. Proehl's performance at the 2011 state cross country championship helped Zane Trace place second as a team. Proehl, who has clocked times of 5:16.06 for 1,600 meters, 11:21.84 for 3,200 meters and 18:17.21 in a cross country 5K, came in eighth in the 3,200 at the 2012 Ohio Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championship.
Hannah Scherlacher (Sparta, N.J.) – Scherlacher, of Jefferson Township High School, recently placed second in the 1,600 and third in the 800 at the 2013 NJAC Championships – Small Schools. She has posted times of 2:21.31 in the 800 and 5:15 in the 1,600, while recording indoor school-record efforts in the 600 (1:45.16) and 1,600 (5:25.19).
Brooke Shelton (Winston-Salem, N.C.) – Competing for Ledford High School, Shelton won the 2013 North Carolina 3A state pole vault title after finishing second in 2012. Her career-best clearance of 12-0.5 came inside the Tolsma Indoor Track Center, where Shelton defeated a field of collegiate pole vaulters to win the event.
Read an article about Shelton's state pole vault title
Mary Witmer (Ephrata, Pa.) – Witmer recently helped Ephrata High School win its first-ever Lancaster-Lebanon League championship by finishing first in the 100 hurdles (14.68), 300 hurdles (42.32) and triple jump (37-1) while splitting 56 seconds for the victorious 4 x 400 relay quartet. She then broke the Pennsylvania District 3 Class AAA 300 hurdles record with a personal-best time of 42.11 seconds on Saturday. Last season, Witmer was the Pennsylvania AAA state runner-up in the 300 hurdles and broke the Lancaster-Lebanon League meet record with a 37-11.5 triple jump.
Read a feature article on Witmer's track & field success
Ryan Davis (Pompano Beach, Fla.) – Davis, of Highlands Christian Academy, captured back-to-back Florida 1A state titles in the 300 hurdles as a junior and senior. His winning time in 2012 was a personal-best 37.54 seconds and made Davis the first individual state champion in school history. Davis, who has clocked 14.44 for the 110 hurdles, finished third in the event at the 2012 state meet and fourth this season. He placed second in the 400 hurdles at the 2012 Golden South Classic, racing to a time of 53.75 seconds.
Watch a video of Davis' 2013 state championship race in the 300 hurdles
Zach Davis (Sparta, N.J.) – One of two Sparta, N.J., natives among this year's signing class (also Hannah Scherlacher), Davis attends Sparta High School. He quickly excelled at the high jump during his first year of track & field competition, clearing 6-8.75 to place fifth at the 2012 New Balance Outdoor Nationals. This year, Davis has boosted his personal best to 6-10.25, breaking the 27-year-old Sussex County record. He was the first Sparta athlete ever to win an indoor New Jersey Meet of Champions title and placed fourth in the Penn Relays high jump competition. A versatile athlete, Davis has also long jumped 21-3.5, triple jumped 44-3 and thrown the javelin 169-10.
Read a question-and-answer interview with Davis
Stephen Hayes (Atlanta, Ga.) – Hayes has posted times of 11.12 in the 100 and 22.51 in the 200 while attending Mountain View High School. He placed fourth in both events at the 2013 Georgia Region 7-AAAAAA meet.
Blake Kohring (Pemberville, Ohio) – Kohring is a standout hurdler at Eastwood High School who placed fourth in the 60 hurdles at the 2012 Ohio indoor state meet and finished seventh this season. Kohring, who also plays football for the Eagles, owns personal-best times of 8.27 in the 60 hurdles, 14.83 in the 110 hurdles and 40.64 in the 300 hurdles.
Watch a video highlighting Kohring as the Sentinel-Tribute Athlete of the Week
Stephen Racanelli (Forest, Va.) – Racanelli of Brookville High School already has good memories of the Tolsma Indoor Track Center. It was the site of his Virginia Group AA state titles in the 55-meter dash and 4 x 200 relay in February, as well as his third-place finish in the 300-meter dash. Racanelli's winning time in the 55, 6.50, established a new school record. Also a wide receiver on Brookville's state championship football team this past fall, Racanelli won three events at the recent Seminole District Championship, including the 100 (10.85), 200 (21.74) and 4 x 100 relay (42.85).
Read the Lynchburg News & Advance article about Racanelli signing with Liberty
Colin Schultz (Las Vegas, Nev.) – A Liberty High School senior, Schultz ran a personal-best, meet-record and state-leading 800-meter time of 1:52.77 to win at the 2013 Arcadia Invitational. This past weekend, he captured the Nevada Division I state title at 800 meters, after placing fifth a year ago. Schultz, who has also pole vaulted 13-0 this season, competes in cross country and wrestling as well.
Watch a video of Schultz's 800-meter victory at the Arcadia Invitational
Trevor Van Asselt (South Lyon, Mich.) – Van Asselt has rewritten the school record book at South Lyon High School this season. His shot put mark of 51-0.25 eclipsed a record which had stood for 44 years, while his 167-1 discus toss shattered a 32-year-old mark. As a junior, Van Asselt placed eighth in the discus at the Michigan Lower Peninsula Division I meet.