Track & Field, Cross Country Welcome Accomplished Signing Class
May 18, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The NC State men's and women's track and field and cross country teams will welcome 17 newcomers when school begins next fall, long-time head coach Rollie Geiger announced on Friday.
"This is a really strong class of men and women," Geiger said. "What particularly pleases me is that there is a strong group of track athletes coming out of the state of North Carolina this year and many of them are coming here.
"We always want to keep the best athletes in our state here at home and I think we did a great job of that this year."
A total of 13 of the men's and women's newcomers for next year are from North Carolina.
Raleigh's Ariah Graham is one of the top high school girls' sprinters in the nation. The younger sister of former track All-American and All-ACC football selection T.J. Graham won the North Carolina High School Athletics Association 4A indoor championship in the long jump and was the 2012 New Balance national indoor champion in the 400 meters with a time of 53.95 seconds, the fastest time ever posted by a North Carolina high school runner.
"I've known Ariah since she was barely able to walk around the track," Geiger said. "We are looking forward to see her run around it for the next four years."
The class also features a crop of highly accomplished distance runners who will also compete for the Wolfpack's nationally prominent cross country programs. In all, 10 of the 17 newcomers will compete in cross country.
Raleigh's Samantha George, a Raleigh Relays competitor this year as a high school senior, is a multiple high school state champion who was a Foot Locker Cross Country Championships qualifier and the 2011 Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year. Her personal-best time of 4:48.11 in the mile is the best of any runner in the state of North Carolina this year.
Megan Moye of Moseley, Va., is also a Foot Locker Cross Country qualifier, as well as a Millrose Mile qualifier and a multiple state champion. She has posted a time of 2:07.41 in the 800 meters and her 4:47.68 in the 1,600 meters is the fastest by any runner in Virginia this year.
"What is good about several runners in this year's class is that they have great range," said women's head cross country coach and assistant track coach Laurie Henes. "Samantha and Megan have times that would be good enough to qualify for the NCAA [Track and Field] Regionals right now.
"We will look for all our newcomers to expand their range and help both programs."
Durham's Alexis Perry of Jordan High School was the NCHSAA 4A most valuable performer and state champion in both the high jump and 55-meter hurdles. She is a versatile athlete who could also compete in the multi-events.
Multi-event specialist Chelsea Darden of Wilson, N.C., finished in the top eight at the NCHSS 2A state championships in four events: third in the 55 meters, fourth in the 300 meters, sixth in the high jump and eighth in the long jump.
Raleigh's J'den Williams, also of Wakefield High, won the 4A state championhip in the 55 meters. She was Graham's teammate on the indoor national champion 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams and the tandem will look to continue their prep success on the collegiate level.
Also joining the team in the distance and middle distance events , as well as cross country, will be Kaitlyn Kramer of Charlotte, Esther Fisher of Greenville, N.C., and Felicia D'Alonzo of Point Clear, Ala.
"The men's class is balanced and versatile," Geiger said. "We have a group of athletes who will help both our track and field and cross country programs. We also have several newcomers who we believe will compete at a high level in sprints and field events."
Craig Engels of Pfafftown, N.C., is one of the nation's top young middle-distance runners. He won the Penn Relays mile title and was the New Balance Grand Prix High School mile champion and a multiple state championship winner. He has career best times of 1.52.48 in the 800 meters, 4:09.42 in the mile and 8:55.51 in the 3,200 meters.
Raleigh's Jonathan Addison of Enloe High will add to the Wolfpack strong corps of jumpers. He won state 4A titles in the indoor high jump and long jump and the New Balance Championship in the high jump.
Brian Davis of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., brings a strong sprint and relay background to the program and will look to contribute in several events. He won the NCHSAA 4A championship in the 500 meters. His high school teammate Clay Jones will also join the program as a distance and cross country runner.
Sam Parsons of Newark, Del., and Sam Roberson of Raleigh are Nike Cross Country national qualifiers. Parsons has won multiple state championships in Delaware, while Roberson also won the state championship in the 3,200 meters.
Adrian Ross of Waverly, Ohio, and Clay Jones of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., will join the team for distance events and cross country.
"This is a strong overall class," said Geiger, who is in his 33rd season with the Wolfpack. "The staff did an excellent job in filling our needs and complementing our strengths. We're excited about the future of our track and cross country programs."