Aug. 17, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF head track and field coach Caryl Smith Gilbert has announced the signing of her program's 2009-10 recruiting class as the Knights will welcome 12 talented student-athletes to the program this fall. The athletes will join a rising program which sent numerous athletes to both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in 2009.
The class includes eight athletes from the state of Florida but also spans the country with recruits coming from California, New York and Connecticut. Nine of the newcomers join the program out of high school while three others picked UCF after transferring from the college ranks.
"We are excited about welcoming these young ladies to our program," Smith Gilbert said. "The class includes multiple state champions, state finalists and regional champions as well as three transfers who have already proven they can have success at the college level. The staff did an excellent job in the entire recruiting process, and I am thrilled each of these student-athletes have chosen to be Knights."
The 2009 transfers include senior Lynne Layne from the University of Tennessee, junior Champelle Brown from Lanie Community College (Calif.) and sophomore Tomika Story from Florida A&M.
Layne had tremendous success while at Tennessee. The New Rochelle, N.Y., native was a four-time All-American at UT and holds a record in the shuttle hurdle relay. She also won championships in the 2007 Pan American Junior Games in both the 100-meter dash and the 4x100-meter relay.
Brown, an Oakland, Calif., native, began her collegiate career at Cal Poly SLO before transferring to Lanie. Last season at Lanie, she had personal bests of 12.54 in the 100m, 23.93 in the 200m and 53.88 in the 400m. She finished first in the 200-meter dash at the California State Championships.
Story is an Orange Park, Fla., native who finished third in the triple jump at the UNF Spring Break Open in 2009. As a senior at Ridgeview High School, she got personal bests in both the triple jump and long jump at the FHSAA State Finals, placing first and second respectively.
The incoming freshman class includes: Santrell Atkins (Miramar, Fla.), Taylor Bartolotta (Middletown, Conn.), Nzingha Crusoe (New York, N.Y.), Alyssa Franks (Tampa, Fla.), Mason Gardberg (Englewood, Fla.), Amanda LeLand (Tampa, Fla.), Brittany McCord (Miami, Fla.), Eva Pierce (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.) and Sonnisha Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.).
A graduate of Everglades High School, Atkins led her high school to three consecutive district titles and their first regional runner-up title as a senior. She also was the district and regional champion in the 100-meter hurdles as well as the 4A state champion in the event. Atkins was named All-Broward County in 2009.
Bartolotta is a javelin thrower who attended Middletown High School in Connecticut. As a senior, she set a personal best and won the State Class L Championship with a throw of 130'8.
Crusoe attended the Beacon School in the Bronx and is the sister of Olinka Crusoe, who finished her UCF track and field career this past spring. Crusoe competed in both the heptathlon and the pentathlon in high school and also recorded a personal best in the 300-meter dash of 41.40. She participated in the AAU National Championships multiple times, and won the championship in the heptathlon in 2007.
Franks attended Wharton High School in Tampa, Fla. and was a three-time state qualifier in cross country. She made the All-Hillsborough County team in both track and cross country for the Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times. She has a personal-best time of 19:09 and was selected the 2008 cross country runner of the year by the St. Petersburg Times. In track, Franks was the district and regional champion in the 1,600-meter run and 4x800-meter relay and also the district champion in the 3,200-meter run.
Gardberg attended Lemon Bay High School in Englewood, Fla. As a senior, she won the district championship in the two-mile run with a time of 12:55.39. In the 5K run, she was the county champion as a sophomore, junior and senior after finishing as the runner-up as a freshman.
LeLand attended Chamberlain HS and will compete in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes at UCF. She was the regional champion and a state finalist in both events as a senior. The Hillsborough County champion, she has a personal best in the event of 11.92 in the 100 and 24.86 in the 200-meter dash.
McCord is a sprinter with the ability to run the 100-, 200- and 400-meters. Having attended Miami Northwestern HS, McCord set a personal best in 2007 in the 100-meters, breaking the 12-second mark with a time of 11.94. She has twice previously competed in the USATF Track & Field Championships.
Pierce is a Boyd Anderson product who will likely run both the 400- and 800-meters for the Knights. In 2009, she ran a 55.64 in the 400-meter run in the FHSAA State Finals, finishing third in the event. Pierce has also been a part of a 4x800-meter relay team that captured the region championship and finished as the state runner-up.
Williams will participate in both sprints and jumps at UCF. The Raines High School graduate won both the FHSAA 2A State Finals and the regional championships in both the high jump and the long jump as a senior. She also placed seventh in the state and second in the region in the 200-meter dash.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.