After signing the sixth-ranked women’s recruiting class in the nation last year, Kansas State track and field coach Cliff Rovelto has announced the signing of eight women’s recruits and three men to National Letters of Intent for the 2013 recruiting class during the spring signing period.
This class boasts a strong distance group on the women’s side and a mix of sprints, jumps and combined events for the men.
The Wildcats signed three athletes that again were some of the top athletes in the nation in their respective events and highly sought after by other elite programs.
Jaelen Spencer signs with K-State out of Sultana High School in California, specializing in the long jump and triple jump.
Heading into his senior season this spring he is ranked No. 2 in the nation with a personal-best mark of 50-04.50 in the triple jump. Following his sophomore year, he represented Team USA at the IAAF World Youth Track and Field Championship in Lille, France, as the best under-16 triple jumper in the U.S. In 2011, Spencer was named the Southern California Athlete of the Year by USATF. Spencer was also recruited by 2012 NCAA indoor and outdoor champion Florida in addition to Texas A&M, which won three straight outdoor titles before Florida claimed the title last season.
Colton Donahue is a local product from Blue Valley High School and one of the top distance runners in the state. This fall Donahue was one of the most dominant runners in the Midwest during cross country season and finished 14th at the Footlocker Midwest Regional. At the state championship, Donahue left the field behind him to claim the title and ran one of the fastest times ever run on the state championship course.
With a combined events group that has a lot of experience, Rovelto has signed another athlete he anticipates molding into the heptathlon and decathlon in Adam Deterding of Hays.
Deterding has helped his high school team win two state championships and won the individual title last year in the high jump and 110-meter hurdles.
The women’s signing class this year is heavy on distance runners, but there is one sprinter, one thrower and a high jumper who also are expected to make an immediate impact on the program.
Leading off the women’s recruiting class is one of the most decorated athletes in the state of Illinois. Charday Crawford has a personal best time of 11.48 seconds in the 100 meters, a time that would break the K-State school record.
That time also set an Illinois Class 2A state meet record. Crawford also won a state title in 2012 in the 200 meters and ran legs on the championship 4x100 and 4x200 relays. She was ranked in the top five in the U.S. last year and is the No. 3 senior in the nation for this upcoming season in the 100 meters.
Danielle Plank is one of the top javelin throwers ever in the state of Kansas. Her toss of 150 feet last season ranks 13th in state history.
Morgan Wedekind signs with K-State from Valley Center High School outside Wichita where she was the runner-up at the 5A State Cross Country Championship this fall.
Another state champion distance runner signing with the Wildcats is Maddie Hopfinger from Overland Park. K-State has signed a number of distance runners from St. Thomas Aquinas over the years, and Hopfinger continues that line. As a junior she won the Class 5A state title in the 3,200 meters.
Heather Ruder signs with K-State out of another familiar program to the Wildcats in Thomas More Prep. Her experience in mid-distance events is expected to help K-State in a number of ways and has the potential to improve in cross country where she has less experience.
Marie Taylor is another mid-distance runner from Liberty, Mo. She has a personal-best time of 2:18.64 in the 800 meters and has the range to run cross country as well.
Jenny McCarty is an experienced cross country runner out of Missouri, signing with the Wildcats over Missouri and Iowa State. McCarty finished fourth at the Class 3 State Championship this fall.
Closing out the initial women’s signing class is high jumper Rachel Proteau from Oregon. The senior at West Albany High School has a personal-best clearance of 5-10.75 and finished second at the 2012 USA Junior Championships.