ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - UCF head track and field coach Jeanette Bolden announced one of the largest classes in program history on Wednesday with 10 student-athletes signing national letters of intent to join the Knights in the fall.
"I am very excited about signing my first class here at UCF because these student-athletes are going to be the building blocks for future excellence in our program," Bolden said. "The class helps us to be represented in all areas of track and field. This balance is my vision for the program."
"My coaching staff has done a phenomenal job in going out and recruiting the best athletes in the country in all different events. Coach Jeff [Chakouian] is a great coach and this recurring class has shown that he is also a tremendous recruiter. Coach Johnny [Gray] has brought his world-class expertise here to UCF and has found some of the top middle- and long-distance athletes in the county."
The class brings in five mid-to-long distance runners and five field athletes to aid the program. The depth that the newcomers provide will help UCF in diversifying the number of events it can compete in during each meet.
2014 UCF Track & Field Signing Class
Hometown (Previous School)
Titusville, Fla. (Astronaut HS)
Cocoa, Fla. (Titusville HS)
Exeter, England (Exeter College)
Orlando, Fla. (Lake Nona HS)
New Windsor, N.Y. (Newburgh Free Academy)
Punta Gorda, Fla. (Charlotte HS)
Okeechobee, Fla. (Okeechobee HS)
Hedge End, England (Winchester College)
McDonald, Pa. (Fort Cherry HS)
Pompano Beach, Fla. (Calvary Christian Academy)
Cocoa, Fla. (Titusville HS)
Holds Titusville's 5K school record
A four-time XC state finalist, finishing a career-best eighth place at the 2013 championships
2013 district champion in 800m and 1600M
2013 XC conference and district champion
Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Finalist
A three-time track and cross country All-Space Coast First Team selection
Named Cross Country's Most Valuable Runner for three-straight years
Selected as Titusville's Best Newcomer in both XC and track as a freshman in 2010-11
Helped the 4x800 relay team break the school record in 2011
Also played soccer for 10 years
Intends to study health sciences, pre-clinical track
"Claire is as talented as her sister, Cody, who I am working with this year. Having the Castillo sisters is going to add depth to our team for years to come. She is a tall runner with long legs, which are a huge upside. The training that I will put her through at the college level will work well for a runner with her stature. I am excited to see what she can do here at UCF."
Three-time conference and two-time district and regional shot put champion
Earned top-10 finishes in the shot put at the FHSSA 2A State Finals as a freshman (9th) and sophomore (6th)
Named all-conference first team in 2013
Notched a personal-record throw of 45-7 at the Golden South Classic for second place
A four-year varsity letterwinner on Titusville's basketball team
Plans to major in physical therapy
"Jhane' is a strong athlete that is really going to help us with the throws. She has a ton of raw talent. We are looking forward to her entering our system, so we can help train, develop and see her excel at the college level. She has a chance to win state this year. Anytime we can get one of the best athletes in Florida, it is a tremendous boost for us."
Ranked sixth in the country for U20s in 800m during the 2012 indoor and outdoor seasons
Won two gold medals and one silver at the regional XC championships
Recorded personal bests as a junior in 2012 in the 400m (57.3), 800m (2:07.33) and 1500m (4:32.11)
Clocked a personal-record in the 5K (17:50) as a sophomore in 2011
A two-time regionals runner-up and one-time bronze medalist in the 800m
Intends to major in exercise science
"Rosie is one of the top mid-distance runners overseas and accomplished a lot in 10th grade prior to an injury. From my own experience, I know what she has gone through and have a lot of faith in her ability to return to form. The times that she has posted rank among the top on our team right now. She can run the 400m all the way up to 5k and her range is really going to challenge our team in practice and competitions. Being able to bring in two top runners from Great Britain in Rosie and Emily [Jenkinson] is really going to help our effectiveness in mid- and long-distance races."
State qualifier in shot put as a junior, placing ninth at the 2013 championships
2013 regional runner-up in the shot put
Claimed bronze in shot put and silver in discus at the 2013 district championships
Holds Lake Nona's shot put school record
Served as team captain of Lake Nona's basketball team and was a member of the bowling team
A member of the National Honor Society
Intends to major in computer science
"Gabby is a strong kid that is going to become a great shot putter, hammer and weight thrower at the college level. She has worked really hard and done well with minimal resources. She is a strong kid and has quick feet from playing basketball. I am looking for her to come in and develop in our training system."
Owns Newburgh Free Academy records in the 2000m steeplechase at 7:06.10 and one mile steeplechase at 5:43.29
Ran a 17:42 three-mile run as a sophomore
Registered an indoor 3000m mark of 10:22.15
Best 1000m run came as a junior at 3:25.54 in an indoor competition
"Kalleigh is a true distance runner that will strengthen our cross country and track team, especially in the steeplechase, her specialty. She has trained a lot indoors because of the weather in New York, so it will be nice for her to be down here and have the ability to train outside year round. She has family in Florida, so the transition will be a smooth one. She is another tall runner that is going to help our team tremendously."
Won the county, district and state championships while taking second at regionals as a junior in 2013
Placed first at the county championships in 2012
Serves as Charlotte's Art Club president, the school mascot during football season and is an avid dancer
"Julia is a really good prospect for us. She was a state champion last year and knows how to win. She will benefit from coming here and training in our system. I also believe that she is going to help Paige [Byrnes] a lot because the more athletes we have competing in the pole vault, the more they can thrive off each other. Once she gets here, the competition every day in practice is going to really help us."
Four-time XC and three-time track MVP for Okeechobee HS
Two-time XC district champion
Finished fourth at the 2013 cross country regional championships to qualify for the state meet
Won gold in the 3200M at the track & field district championships
Treasure Coast Top Athlete as a senior
Plans on majoring in physical therapy/sports and exercise science
A member of Okeechobee's honor roll
"Tabatha is someone that I watched and realized how much she can help our team. She has been putting in 20 miles a week at a good pace, so it is my responsibility to be careful in progressing her to a level that she can become better each year. I look for big things from Tabatha."
Competed for Great Britain at the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships, advancing to the semifinals in the 800M
Ran a PR 2:05.72 in the 800M at the England Athletics U20/U23 Championships for second place
Registered a PR mark of 55.6 in the 400M
Has competed for the club team Southampton AC since the age of 6
Has represented Hampshire schools at the English School championships for the past five years
Intends to major in sports and exercise science
"Emily is a true competitor. When she enters an event, she is in it to win it. The 800m is her specialty, but has raced in the 400m for speed work and consistently finished near the top of those races. She is a competitive athlete, but very coachable and wants to learn. The upside that I see in her is that she has been a strong distance runner by only putting in 18-20 miles a week. She has learned to deal with adversity and continue competing at a high level. She has the ability to be a world-class athlete because of her dedication in training the right way."
2013 State Champion in Javelin and placed eighth in the discus
2013 WPIAL District Champion in the Javelin and Discus
Top performance in the Javelin is 150-8 was second in the state as a junior
Holds the school record in the discus at 116-1
Competed in the long and triple jump
Placed fifth in the AAU Junior Olympics earning a fifth place finish in the javelin
Named the Washington Observer Athlete of the Week as a senior
Multi-sport athlete that earned a total of 12 letters, competing on the basketball, golf and volleyball teams
Qualified for the WPIAL district championship as a golfer
Member of the honor roll, chess and ski clubs and student council
Crowned as Fort Cherry's Homecoming Queen as a senior
Intends to major in broadcast journalism/communications
"Jenna is the second-best javelin thrower in the country in her recruiting class. She comes out of a school that has produced some top javelin throwers over the past couple of years. She is a key contributor on her basketball team and an all-around great athlete. We are looking forward to getting her down here in warm weather and training year round, because she has only really done javelin for only a month or two during the season."
Won the shot put at 2014 Jimmy Carnes Invitational, throwing 39 feet
Helped Calvary Christian win the 2012 Class 1A state championship as a sophomore with medalist performances in the 4x100 (gold) and 4x400 relays (bronze) in addition to a ninth-place finish in the shot put
Three-time district and two-time regional shot put champion
Two-time district and regional 4x400 relay champion
As a junior, finished sixth place in the shot put and ran the first leg of the fifth place 4x400 relay squad at the 2013 state championship
Qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics in the shot put, discus and javelin
Has also competed as a member of the swim, basketball and volleyball teams
Intends to study forensic science
"Tayler is going to add a lot of depth in the throwing events. She is a different kind of athlete because she ran on her high school's 4x400 relay team. I believe that she is going to be a really good shot putter and possibly a hammer thrower. Once she builds her strength in the weight room, she is going to do really well in our throws group."