Women's Track and Field signs seven to National Letters of Intent
Feb. 8, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas -- University of Texas Women's Track and Field Head Coach Beverly Kearney has announced the signing of seven student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the 2010-11 season. Five of the seven signees competed at the 2009 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Youth Championships and three hold top seven marks in their respective event's world youth rankings.
"This is one of the best recruiting classes that I have ever signed, simply because of its versatility, its quality, and its quantity," Kearney said. "When you bring all those things together, you have a class that will come in and make an immediate impact across the board as individuals and also as a team. They will help take our team to the next level again."
The 2010 class includes Allison Peter (U.S. Virgin Islands - sprints), A'Lexus Brannon (Beaumont, Texas - long jump), Shanay Briscoe (Houston, Texas - high jump), Briana Nelson (Greenville, S.C. - sprints), Marielle Hall (Haddonfield, N.J. - middle distances), Christi Udoh (Houston, Texas - sprints) and Jourdan Ellis (Abilene, Texas - distances).
"The thing that is amazing about this class is not only are they great athletes, but they are great people," Kearney added. "They are really dedicated students. They are the epitome of what Texas is. They are definitely going to set more standards for the tradition of Texas, and we look forward to it."
Peter, who specializes in the 100m and 200m, is from the U.S. Virgin Islands and holds PRs of 11.47 (100m) and 23.08 (200m). Her 200m time is tied for the fastest in the world in the youth ranks during the 2009 outdoor season while her 11.47 is the third fastest youth 100m in the world. At the 2009 IAAF World Youth Championships, Peter earned two silver medals, becoming the first athlete from the U.S. Virgin Islands to do so. Peter also earned a spot on the U.S. Virgin Islands team for the 2007 IAAF World Youth Championships.
"It is hard to describe Allison Peter," added Kearney. "She is a special individual. She is extremely talented, who just as Briana [Nelson], will add depth to the longer sprints. She will definitely be a force to reckon with on the shorter sprints."
Brannon, a long and triple jumper from Beaumont, Texas claimed the 2009 USATF Junior Olympic long jump title with a leap of 19-10.25 to earn a spot on the U.S. team for the IAAF World Games. She then went on to finish eighth for the U.S. in Italy with a leap of 19-4.25. Brannon has been among the nation's best in the long jump since she captured her first state title in the event as a freshman at Beaumont Ozen. She then went on to win the event at the UIL State meet every year along with taking first in the triple jump as a sophomore and senior. Brannon has personal-bests of 21.0-5 (long jump) and 42-0.5 (triple jump).
"A'Lexus is an amazing addition simply because of her true athleticism," said Kearney. "She is the epitome of what a true athlete is--her versatility, her competiveness, her multi-sport capabilities - all of these things make her a great athlete for track and field. "
Briscoe, a high jumper from Cypress Christian in Houston, has a personal best of 6-1.25 in the event and has been on the national scene since competing in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. Briscoe cleared a height of 5-10.5 qualifying her for the finals. The Texan currently holds the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) 3A state high jump record (6-0). Her 2009 clearance of 6-0 also tied for the seventh highest in the world youth ranks.
"Shanay is almost a mirror image of A'Lexus Brannon," Kearney added. "They both bring versatility, a high level of competiveness and they bring true desire to the sport to want to be a champion."
Nelson, a sprinter from Greenville, South Carolina, took fourth in the 200m at the 2009 IAAF World Youth Games with a career-best time of 23.63. Nelson also ran a leg of the U.S.' Medley Relay that placed first with a time of 2:04.32. Nelson earned a second-place finish in the 400m at the 2009 Nike Outdoor Nationals with a PR 52.38, a time that ranked third in the world youth ranks at the end of the 2009 season. Nelson also swept the 200m and 400m events at the 2009 South Carolina State Championships.
"Briana is really just now starting to come into her own," Kearney said. "She is an amazing quarter miler, and we are finding out that she is a great sprinter as well. She is definitely going to add depth to the sprint areas coming into the season, and I feel like she is going to be a great impact immediately."
Hall, a middle distance specialist from Haddonfield, New Jersey, will join Texas with two sub-5:00 miles already under her belt this 2010 indoor season. Hall posted a personal-best time of 4:56.76 at the 2010 New York City Gotham Cup after having just run a 4:57.31 in the event a week prior, a mark that at the time ranked first in the nation. Hall is also a Footlocker Cross Country National Championship finalist, placing 18th in the nation. Hall has PR's of 2:07.33 (800m), 4:31.40 (1500m), 17:46.00 (5,000m) and holds the New Jersey State Track Championships 800m record (2:07.33), topping Olympian Erin Donahue's old mark. The New Jersey native also competed at the World Youth Championships.
"Marielle is turning out to be one of the top distance runners in the country," Kearney said. "I think that she adds the type of depth and that missing component in the distance that we were looking for."
Udoh, a short sprinter from Houston, has PRs of 24.24 (200m) and 12:35 (100m). She placed second in the 200m at the 2009 UIL Track Championships. Udoh also took first in the event at the Region 3-4A meet with a time of 24.61.
"Christi is a great athlete out of Westbury in Houston, which has a tradition of great athletes and high performances," said Kearney. "Without a doubt, she is going to be right along the lines of former Longhorn Raasin McIntosh, who currently coaches her at Westbury, and the other great athletes to come out of that high school. "
Ellis, who will compete in the distance events, comes to Texas from Abilene High School. Ellis represented the United States in the 2009 North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Cross Country Championships after placing 11th at the US Junior Cross Country Championships in March of 2009. Ellis has track PR's of 10:41 (3200m) and 5:19 (1600.)
"Jourdan adds the depth that we need in the distance area," Kearney said. "We really made a concerted effort to bring in a full team. She adds, along with Marielle, that amazing capability of doing well in cross country all the way through the outdoor season.
"I truly believe that this entire class is going to make an immediate impact on the team," Kearney added.