Menís Track and Field signs Junior Olympic champion, two high school cross country championship participants
AUSTIN, Texas -- Highlighted by one USATF Junior Olympic Champion and two Foot Locker cross country championship participants, the menís track and field team, led by Texas head coach Bubba Thornton, has signed five prep athletes to National Letters of Intent (NLI). All will enroll in classes beginning in the fall of 2007.
The 2007 incoming class includes Junior Olympic Champion sprinter Danzell Fortson (Keller, Texas/Keller Central), Foot Locker Cross Country Champion participants Jay Heller (Marietta, Ga./Walton) and Brian Rhodes-Devey (Guilderland, N.Y./Guilderland), state champion hurdler Justin Price (Holland, Texas/Holland) and Texas regional champion pole vaulter Maston Wallace (Friendswood, Texas/Clear Brook).
"This is a great group of young student-athletes," said an elated Thornton. "We're excited that they are joining our team. They are a tremendously talented class and I look forward to them becoming a part of the university."
At the 2006 Junior Olympic Championship, Fortson ran 47.52 in the finals after recording the third fastest time among all runners in the preliminary race (48.34). The 2006 UIL Class 4A State 400 Champion also competed in the 200 at the junior meet, clocking the sixth-fastest time of 21.94 after earning an at-large spot with a preliminary race time of 22.12.
Fortson is familiar with winning at the Texas track (Mike A. Myers Stadium), having taken the boys 400-meter title at the 2006 Texas UIL State Championships with a time of 47.96.
At the 2006 USATF Youth National Championships, the 2006 Dallas Morning News All-Area First Team selection dominated the race, completing a lap in 47.43 in the finals of the intermediate boys 400.
During the fall, Fortson was a running back and free safety for Keller Central. His father, Michael, was a running back in college at the Air Force Academy.
Heller is one of two Foot Locker qualifiers in the recruiting class and a four-time Region 6AAAAA Champion from Marietta, Ga. The three-time medalist at the Georgia State Championships experienced his highest finish, placing fourth at the 2006 state meet. His lifetime best in the 5,000 meter (cross country) is 15:05. On the track, Heller boasts personal best times of 1:54.96 in the 800-meter run, 9:11.41 in the 3,000, and 4:13.10 in the 1,600-meter run.
Rhodes-Devey will join Heller in the continuing line of top distance athletes at UT, as Rhodes-Davey is one of the best high school harriers in the nation. The 2005 New York State Runner of the Year and Cross Country Champion was this yearís Suburban Council Cross Country Championship runner-up. On the track, he holds three state records and ran the fastest high school mile time in 2006 with a 4:13.19 mark. He ran a lifetime best 1:52.25 at the 2006 Hispanic Games. He was the New York State cross country individual champion and the Section II Class A 800- and 1,600-meter champion, both in 2005.
Price is primarily a state champion hurdler and state qualifier in the long jump. As a junior in 2006, the Holland High School standout won the Texas UIL State Championship in the 300-meter hurdles after taking second place in 2005. He won the event at the 2006 Class A Championship with a time of 37.85.The Longhorns signed one of the top vaulters in the nation in Maston Wallace. He is 10th in the nation among high school competitors in the pole vault and has the third-best vault in the state. Wallace, from Clear Brook High School in Friendswood, won the Texas Region 3-5A Championship after clearing a height of 16-0. He made a splash on the national youth scene with a fifth-place performance and height of 16 feet, 2.75 inches at the 2006 AT&T USA Outdoor Track and Field Championship.