July 26, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina track and field program will welcome 11 athletes who have signed national letters-of-intent and one who has completed a grant-in-aid for the 2012-13 season, according to an announcement Thursday by head coach Curt Kraft.
The highly-decorated group includes a pair of New Balance Outdoor national champions, seven state champions and a NCAA Division II All-America performer.
Janieyah Collins, Freshman, Sprints/Hurdles, Monroe High School, Monroe, N.C.
Collins enjoyed a 2012 season in which she captured the North Carolina 1A state title in the 200-meter dash and 300-meter intermediate hurdles as well as posted a runner-up finish in the 100-meter dash. She was ranked fifth in the state in the 300IH as well as qualifying for the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in the 400IH.
Kraft on Collins: "Janieyah is going to be an immediate contributor in the 400 hurdles and a scoring threat in the conference. So far, her abilities have flown under the radar, but she is far more talented than her marks currently show."
Aalayah Faulcon, Freshman, Sprints, Southern Durham High School, Durham, N.C.
Faulcon is one of two national champions in the Pirates' recruiting class, capturing the New Balance Outdoor title in the 400-meter dash. She also qualified for the outdoor national meet in the 200m and the indoor nationals in both the 200m and 400m. Faulcon earned a second-place finish at the 2012 North Carolina 4A state championship meet in the 400m and posted the state's second-fastest overall time in the event.
Kraft on Faulcon: "Aalayah has unlimited potential in the 400m. She is already a rangy sprinter and one of the most graceful and rhythmic runners I've ever seen. She should be a threat to score in the conference right away."
Lauren Lubarski, Freshman, Multi-Events, Hickory High School, Hermitage, Pa.
Lubarski brings her talents to Greenville as the 2012 New Balance Outdoor national champion in the discus, an event in which she also earned the 2012 Pennsylvania outdoor state title. The versatile athlete also took third at the national meet in the javelin and fifth in the high jump. The 2011 Pennsylvania state high jump champion was also ranked third in the state in the discus and high jump as well as fourth in the javelin.
Kraft on Lubarski: "Lauren is one of the best athletes I have ever seen. It's a rare combination to see a young lady win the state title in the high jump and discus. To go to the national championships and win the discus, place third in the javelin and fifth in the high jump - that just doesn't happen every day."
Madison Rayfield, Freshman, Multi-Events, East Forsyth High School, Kernersville, N.C.
The 2012 East Forsyth High School track and field MVP, Rayfield should provide the Pirates with a strong competitor in the heptathlon as she qualified for the North Carolina 4A outdoor meet in the 100m, long jump and 4x100m relay as well as the indoor championships in the 55m and long jump. She competed in the outdoor national championships in the 100m and the indoor national meet in the 60m. Overall, Rayfield has qualified for the New Balance national championships seven times (60m, 100m, 200m and long jump) and is currently ranked seventh in the state of North Carolina in the 100m.
Kraft on Rayfield: "Madison has two things you want every heptathlete to have - raw speed and enthusiasm for the event. You really cannot teach those things, so she is coming from a great place. She spent her high school days as a sprinter, but once she learns the multi-events, she should go very far."
Jessica Rossabi, Freshman, Distance, Green Hope High School, Cary, N.C.
A talented distance runner, Rossabi earned a place at the 2012 New Balance indoor nationals in the 5000m and the North Carolina 4A meet in the 3200m. She also qualified for the 2011 Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Region meet (cross country) and finished 11th at the 2011 North Carolina state cross country championships. Rossabi completed her 2011 season with an appearance at the indoor nationals in the two mile event as well as qualification to the North Carolina 4A indoor championships in the 3200m. As a sophomore, she took eighth at the state cross country meet as Green Hope captured the 4A state championship each season from 2009-11.
Kraft on Rossabi: "Jessica was one of the top runners on a nationally-ranked Green Hope High School team. She is probably the fastest 3200m runner we have recruited in the last six years. She's a great overall student-athlete who also played soccer in high school. Now that she is fully committed to track, her potential is huge. We expect her to improve greatly as she will blend in with our current team quite well."
Cheyenne Hutchinson, Freshman, Hurdles, Hopewell High School, Huntersville, N.C.
Hutchinson joins the East Carolina program as the 2012 North Carolina 4A West Region champion in the 110HH and long jump. She was a North Carolina 4A state finalist in the 100HH, 300IH and long jump this past season as well as the 110HH gold medalist at the 2012 North Carolina Meet of Champions.
Kraft on Hutchinson: "Cheyenne is a huge addition to our sprint, hurdles and jumps groups. She will make an immediate impact in the hurdles events a give the sprint relays and long jump corps much needed depth. Cheyenne is highly motivated, very coachable and extremely athletic. That is a wonderful combination in any athlete."
Cameron Hudson, Freshman, Sprints/Jumps, Berry Academy, Charlotte, N.C.
Hudson enrolls at East Carolina after an accomplished prep career in which he was a finalist in the 100m, 200m and long jump at the New Balance outdoor national championships. He took third at the indoor national meet in the long jump while also qualifying in the 60m and 200m. This past season, Hudson was the North Carolina 3A state champion in the 100m and the runner up in the long jump. During the 2011 season, he took second place in the 300m at the North Carolina 1A/2A/3A indoor meet and third in the 55m. Hudson is currently ranked second in the state in the 100m and third in the 200m and long jump.
Kraft on Hudson: "Cameron is a phenomenally talented sprinter with range from 100m to 400m. He gives immediate credibility to our sprints program since there really is not a sprint event he cannot win. He should be an all-conference performer quickly and an All-America sooner rather than later."
Joshua King, Freshman, Jumps, Fike High School, Wilson, N.C.
King gives the Pirates another state champion as he won the 2012 North Carolina 3A title in the high jump and triple jump. He is also ranked second in the state in the triple jump and third in the high jump.
Kraft on King: "Joshua is going to be an immediate help to our program in both the high and triple jump events. He was a double state champion this past season and is an outstanding athlete. Anyone that spends the fall and winter playing football and basketball and still does that well in track has tremendous potential and talent."
Adam Manns, Throws, Draughn High School, Rutherford College, N.C.
As the top-ranked athlete in North Carolina in the shot put and discus, Manns is a welcome addition to the Pirates' always-solid field events corps. He has won the last two North Carolina 2A state championships in both the shot put and the discus.
Kraft on Manns: "We are very excited about Adam's potential. He is a self-taught, multi-sport athlete with tremendous jumping ability and great speed. From a technical standpoint, he is a little underdeveloped, but winning four state championships shows just how far this young man can go."
Demonte Wilson, Freshman, Sprints/Hurdles, Crest High School, Shelby, N.C.
Wilson earned national recognition in 2012 when he qualified for the New Balance indoor national championships in the 60HH. However, the highlight of his career occurred in 2011 when he captured the national title in the 110HH at the United States Track and Field Youth Championships. He also earned a spot at the 2011 New Balance outdoor national meet in the event while winning the North Carolina 3A outdoor state championship in the 300IH.
Kraft on Wilson: Demonte will contend for the Conference USA title in the 110HH right away. He is talent is raw beyond belief and his athletic ability is through the roof. He is as athletic as you ever want your sprinters and hurdlers to be."
John Young, Freshman, Distance, Mission Viejo High School, Mission Viejo, Calif.
Young will provide depth to the distance and cross country squads after converting to track from basketball in high school. He was a member of the varsity squad his sophomore through senior seasons and won the Captain's Award as a junior.
Kraft on Young: "John is an incredibly enthusiastic runner with a lot of closing speed. He showed a tremendous amount of improvement during his senior season. He has a great upside and should be a big help for our distance squad and cross country team."
Michael Neal, Sophomore, Sprints, Winston-Salem State University, Charlotte, N.C.
Neal is a product of Vance High School in Charlotte and spent last season at Winston-Salem State University. He earned NCAA Division II All-America honors in the indoor 200m and also qualified for the indoor nationals in the 60m. During the outdoor season, Neal was a provisional national qualifier in the 200m. In his senior year of high school, he was a North Carolina 4A finalist in the 100m and 200m, helping Vance win the team state championship.
Kraft on Neal: "Michael is another rangy sprinter with tremendous potential. He helps make this sprints squad easily one of the best in the conference. He's only been running track for two seasons, so we are excited to see how he matures as an athlete."