JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Eleven student-athletes from five states and two countries make up the 2017-18 incoming class for Jacksonville University's women's track & field program, as announced by Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Ron Grigg.
"This is an exceptionally well rounded signing class," said Grigg. "Aside from the obvious athletic talent we have a group of high achieving students with great personalities and passion for the sport.
"Signing a class of this size and quality was truly a team effort. Coach [Diego] Vela and Coach [Chip] Brundage did the hard work of identifying the caliber student-athlete we desire at Jacksonville University. Our current team members were instrumental as hosts, allowing the prospects and their families a glimpse of the day-to-day life and character of our program."
Grace Artis | Throws | Roswell, Ga. | Roswell High School
Artis, a Roswell High School (Ga.) graduate, comes to JU with experience in all four of the throws. Her best weight throw during the indoor season was 52 feet, 3 inches, while her hammer (161 ft., 11 in.), discus (140 ft., 11 in.), and shot put (44 ft., 3 in.) are all a great point to begin her Dolphin career. "Grace will be part of our honors program at JU," said throwing coach Brundage. "She has great versatility and arrives with an excellent throws I.Q."
T'Aja Cameron | Sprints | McDonough, Ga. | Eagles Landing Christian Academy
With an 11.70 in the 100-meter dash and a 24.13 in the 200, Cameron, a graduate of Eagles Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Ga., will look to make an impression right away. "T'Aja's short sprint performances will immediately impact our conference, and she will run with a 4x100-meter relay group that has NCAA Championship aspirations," said Grigg.
Erika Earwood | Throws | Douglasville, Ga. | South Paulding High School
The 2017 AAAAA Georgia State Champion in the shot put, Earwood comes to JU from South Paulding High School (Ga.). Both her weight throw (49 ft., 11 in.) and her shot put (46 ft., 0.5 in.) are in the upper 40-foot range. "Erika has such an upside in each and every throwing event," said Brundage. "With most of her concentration going into the shot put at the high school level, I am excited to see the other barriers she will break in her career at JU."
Jayann Johnson | Throws | Fort Lauderdale, Fla. | Boyd Anderson High School
Johnson, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native and graduate of Boyd Anderson High School, placed fourth in the shot put (41 ft., 3.25 in.) at the Florida High School state meet. Johnson also has experience in the discus with a toss of 125 ft., 9 in. "While Jayann is currently raw as a technician, her athleticism is off the charts. I expect her to surprise a lot of people in her career here at JU," added Brundage.
Sade Meeks | Throws | North Babylon, N.Y. | North Babylon High School
The 2017 New York State Champion in the shot put (45 ft., 10.75 in.), Meeks, a North Babylon High School (N.Y.) graduate, brings experience in both the discus (131 ft., 2 in.), hammer (101 ft., 10 in.), and the weight throw (48ft., 3.25 in.) to JU. "Sade has a champion's spirit," said Brundage. "When I first saw her compete, I knew she was going to have a great senior year. We are excited to see how much she is capable of in her career here at JU."
Adreanna Parlette | Jumps | Nashville, Tenn. | St. Cecilia Academy
Parlette, a graduate of St. Cecilia Academy in Nashville, Tenn., is another incoming freshman who will make an immediate impact with a height of 5 ft., 9 in. in the high jump and a 19 ft., 3 in. distance in the long jump. "Adreanna is a talented and versatile jumper who has also sprinted and hurdled. We are excited to have a high jump specialist," said Grigg.
Lauren Polimeno | Combined | Tewksbury, Mass. | Tewksbury Memorial High School
Polimeno, a graduate of Tewksbury Memorial High School (Mass.), comes to JU after winning the 2017 Massachusetts State Indoor Pentathlon with 3,423 points. "Lauren will be a part of the honors program at JU. She has a unique skill set that allows her to jump well, while being excellent at 800-meters for a high school combined eventer. With her height and length, as she continues to develop her throws abilities, the sky is the limit," Grigg added.
Jana Reinert | 400/800 | Waldbronn, Germany | Heisenberg-Gymnasium
Reinert, the Dolphins' incoming freshman from Waldbronn, Germany, has experience in a host of events from the 400-meter dash (54.69), 600m (1:28.63), 800m (2:04.67), and 1,500m (4:27.0). Said Grigg, "Jana has run at the World Junior Championship level. She has aspirations of continuing to represent Germany at the world-class level and has a great blend of speed and endurance. She will be a great addition to our already strong middle distance squad."
Adja Sackor | Jumps | Worcester, Mass. | Worcester Tech High School
The 2016 Massachusetts State Champion in both the long jump (19 ft., 7.75 in.) and triple jump (40 ft., 1.25 in.), Sackor graduated from Worcester Tech High School (Mass.) as a multiple time New Balance Nationals All American. "I would describe Adja as a raw talent," said Grigg. "We look forward to teaching her and watching as her talent flourish."
Pashen Williams | Sprints | Orlando, Fla. | Colonial High School
Wiliams joins the Dolphins from Colonial High School in Orlando, Fla. She was the 2017 Conference and District Champion in the 400-meter dash (55.30) and ran a 24.84 in the 200. "Pashen is another excellent student. She has a mature outlook on track and field training. She has range from 100-meters to 800-meters and she is not afraid of the endurance side of 400-meter running. She will make a great impact at the conference level immediately," added Grigg.
Nicolette Worrell | Distance | Oviedo, Fla. | Hagerty High School
Worrell, a distance runner from Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Fla., will also be a member of the Dolphins' cross country team with an 18:48 5,000-meter time. "Nicolette is yet another member of the JU honors program," said Grigg. "Her outgoing personality, attention to detail, and passion for running will make her a valuable member of our cross country group."
Mentioning others who helped the recruiting process, Grigg credited, "Tom Taggart, Chief Admissions Officer, and his staff of counselors and student ambassadors were always available to guide prospects through the admission process and give informative campus tours. We owe a special thank you to the professors who always take time out of their busy teaching schedules to meet with prospects and their families to discuss degree programs."