Track and Field Announces 2007-08 Signing Class
Luke Ryan (Downers Grove North High School)
Luke Ryan (Downers Grove North High School)

July 16, 2007

NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State track and field and cross country teams finalized their 2007-08 recruiting classes, as 18 recruits will join the Redbirds in the upcoming season.

Head coach Elvis Forde is looking forward to working with the new student-athletes and has high expectations for the upcoming season.

"This is the strongest recruiting class I have had at Illinois State for a couple of reasons," said Forde. "First, the large number of students we are bringing, in and second, the quality of athletes.

"I am excited to see what they can do," added Forde. "Some of these kids are going to have to mature quickly and I believe that they will because they are competitive."

22 total recruits comprised the class, including 13 women and nine men. The group had a combined 20 appearances at their respective state meets in 2007. One state championship and four top-three finishes highlighted their accomplishments.

"I think our strong recruiting class is a testament to the strength of our staff," said Forde. "This will be the first year that I have really had the opportunity to work with coach Thompson, coach Bovee and coach Chakouian. They have really done a great job not only recruiting, but putting Illinois State Athletics out on the market. They have talked to coaches and student-athletes and are really pushing the program in the right direction."

The Redbird men's track and field team added a thrower, a jumper, a sprinter and four middle distance and three cross country runners. The women's squad gained two throwers, a jumper, a pole vaulter, three sprinters and six middle distance and cross country runners.

Bellow are notes on the 2007-08 Redbird track and field signing classes:

Men

Nicholas Bledsoe will make an impact to the team in the throws. The Wheeling, Ill., native placed seventh at the 2007 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state meet in the shot put (56-01 feet). The Wheeling High School graduate also had a personal best throw in the shot put with a toss of 57-07.50 feet earlier in the season.

Drew Holl, a product of Clinton High School, had state qualifying marks at sectionals in both the long and high jump. In the long jump, the Clinton, Ill. native marked a distance of 21-04 feet, and in the high jump he reached a mark of 6-03 feet.

Palatine, Ill., native Tyler Perna will join the track program as a hurdler. The Fremd High School graduate ran the 300-meter hurdles and qualified for sectionals with a mark of 39.24 seconds. At the IHSA sectionals, Perna clocked in with a time of 41.33 seconds.

Rounding out the men's signing class are the middle distance and distance runners. The Redbirds added Jon Roberts (Schaumburg High School), Luke Ryan (Downers Grove North High School), Daniel Murphy (New Lenox Providence Catholic High School) and Yosef Tewolde (Elgin High School) to their lineup.

Roberts placed 23rd at the 2007 IHSA state meet in the 3,200-meters (9:31.79) and holds a personal-best time of 9:22.04 in the event. The Schaumburg, Ill., native also placed 23rd at the 2006 state cross country championship, clocking a time of 14:48 in the 5K.

Ryan, a Downers Grove, Ill., native finished his final cross country season with a 10th-place finish (14:33 minutes) at the IHSA state meet. During the spring, he placed seventh in the state in the 1600-meters, clocking in at 4:16.03. Ryan will also help the Redbirds in distance events.

Murphy, a 400 and 800-meter runner, qualified, for the IHSA preliminaries in the 400-meter dash and in the 4x400-meter relay. The Mokena, Ill., native finished the 400-meters in 50:11 seconds and also ran the anchor leg in the 4x400 relay. His relay team finished with a time of 3:21.40. Murphy also went to the state preliminaries his junior year in the 800-meters.

Wrapping up the men's signing class was Tewolde, a middle distance runner from Elgin, Ill. Tewolde took fourth in the 800-meters at the 2007 IHSA state track meet, finishing with a season-best time of 1:54.93.

Women

Signing as a jumper, Amanda Albrecht of Festus, Mo., placed fifth in the high jump (5-02 feet) and ninth in the triple jump (35-03 feet) at the 2007 Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Championship. Albrecht was also a member of the Herculaneum High School cross country team, where she placed fourth at the 2006 state meet, finishing in 20:24.87.

Kaylin Himes, a Rockford, Ill., native and a product of Guilford High School, is a sophomore transfer from Olivet Nazarene University. At Olivet Nazarene, a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), she placed third in pole vault at both the indoor and outdoor NAIA Championships. At the outdoor meet she set a personal best with a vault of 12-03.50 feet.

Sprinter Yomeaquea Brents joins the Redbirds in the sprints. The Rockford, Ill. native held a qualifying time in the 100-meters (12.83) and advanced into the prelims, where she placed seventh in her heat at the 2007 state meet.

Tia Harvey, a Rock Island, Ill., native, had state qualifying times in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes last season. She finished sixth in the state in the 100-meters, after ending with a time of 12.30 seconds. Her personal-best 100-meter dash time of 11.98 seconds gave her a qualifying mark into the 2007 IHSA state prelims where she placed first in her heat. Harvey's best time in the 200-meter dash was 25.06 seconds.

Megan Thompson hails from Plainfield, Ill., and is a sophomore transfer from Arkansas. With the Lady Razorbacks, she ran the 100-meter hurdles and the heptathlon. Prior to Arkansas, she earned two all-state, three all-conference and one all-sectional honor while competing for Joliet West High School.

Palatine, Ill., native Michelle Brunk joins the women's distance group. Brunk placed 31st at the 2006 IHSA Cross County Championship, clocking in at 17:48. In the spring, she finished 10th in the 800-meter dash (2:15.67) at the IHSA State Championship.

Katie Cooper, of Plano, Ill., competed in the 2007 IHSA Class A track and field meet. She placed ninth in the 800-meters, clocking in with a time of 2:20.05 minutes. She also competed in the 2006 state meet where she placed fifth in the 800-meters (2:19.15) and was the anchor leg of the sixth-place 4x400-meter relay team (4:03).

Sarah Glowacki notched a 19th-place finish last year at the Wisconsin State Division 1 High School Cross Country Championship. The Wauwatosa, Wis., native ran the 4,000-meters in a time of 15:19. During her junior year, she had top performances in the 1,600-meters, running a time of 5:22, and in the 3,200-meters (11:27).

Jessica Husted finished 22nd at last year's IHSA state meet in the 3,200-meter run (11:30). The Metamora, Ill., native also went to the 2006 IHSA state meet for cross county, where she finished the race in 18:19 (81st place).

Hinsdale, Ill., native Gina Kapusta finished 34th with a time of 17:50 at the 2006 IHSA Cross Country Championship. Jennifer Kraakevik of Wheaton, Ill., was also at the 2006 IHSA cross country state meet, where she placed 127th (18:48).

The 18 new recruits join Ryan Asta, Kami Klopfenstein, Sonja Zoric and Matt Mroczynski in the Redbirds' recruiting class of 2007-08.

Click here for a complete list of Illinois State's track and field recruits.