Track & Field Announces Recruiting Class For 2017
Mean Green Signs 10 To NLIs For 2017
DENTON – Head coach Carl Sheffield has announced the signing of 10 student-athletes to a National Letter of Intent for the 2016-17 track & field season.
The men’s team will pick up three newcomers in Jacob Franks (Highland Village/Marcus HS), Karl Sralla (Lewisville/Marcus HS) and Howard Grant (Missouri City/Strake Jesuit College prep).
The women’s team has signed seven student-athletes in Darrian Johnson (Spring, TX/Cypress Creek HS), Breanna Eckels (Wichita, Kansas/Wichita Southeast HS), Kacie Mayberry (Austin/St. Dominic Savio HS), Bailey Ashmore (Cypress/Cypress Ranch HS), Kristyn Archuleta (Alamogordo, New Mexico/Alamogordo HS), Jahyda Dixon (El Paso, TX/El Dorado HS) and Lawren Tanner (Selma, TX/Judson HS in Converse).
Franks finished seventh at the UIL 6A state championships in the pole vault with a mark of 15-0.00 feet in 2016. Franks set a personal-best mark of 15-7.00 feet at the Marcus Invitational on April 7. He also finished 11th at the Texas Relays and won first place at the UIL 6A Area 5/6 championships.
“Franks is a local north Texan from Highland Village who placed seventh at the 6A UIL track & field championship in the pole vault,” Mackel said. “Jacob’s excitement and blossoming talent will be a great addition to our men’s vault program.”
Sralla will join the Mean Green throwers group competing in the discus and shot put. Sralla was eighth at the Texas Relays with a throw of 176-1.00 feet in the discus. His personal-best mark came at the UIL 6A District 6 meet earning first place with a throw of 182-10.00 feet. He also finished sixth at the UIL 6A state championship and was fifth at the TTFCA meet of champions in discus.
“Sralla is a local athlete that I absolutely could not let slip out of the area,” assistant coach Brendon Kelso said. “His passion for throwing equals his talent, evident in his sixth-place finish in an extremely competitive 6A boys discus throw in which the top six athletes were over 180 feet. Paired alongside the reigning Conference USA discus throw champion, Kevone Kennedy, Karl looks to be a part of a dynamic Mean Green discus duo.”
Grant set the Strake Jesuit High School long jump record at 23-3.00 feet set at the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays this past season. He placed third at the UIL 6A District 19 championships with a mark of 21-8.00 feet. Grant had a personal best mark of 43-4.00 feet in the triple jump at the UIL 6A District 19 championships.
“Grant is a tremendous student and shows great promise in the long and triple jump,” Mackel said. “Howard’s ultra-competitive nature will be a welcome quality while adding depth to our men’s jump squad.”
Johnson has competed in multiple events, including the 400-meter run, 800-meter run, 4x400-relay and distance medley relay. Her top time in the 400m came this past year at the Klein Relays at 58.91 and her personal-best time is 2:20.22 in the 800m at the Klein Relays. Johnson finished seventh in both the 400m and the 800m at the UIL 6A District 18 championships.
“Johnson is an excellent addition to our women’s team as both a strong student and athlete,” assistant coach Stefanie Slekis said. “She has solid 4x400 relay credentials and has a lot of untapped potential in the 800, having only started racing the event this spring. It will be exciting to see Darrian excel in the 400, 800, 4x400 relay and distance medley relay next year.”
Eckels is a three-time 6A long jump state champion and 6A triple jump state champion at Wichita Southeast High School. During the 2016 outdoor season, her best long jump was 19-10.00 feet at the Salina-Central Invitational. Her best triple jump was 39-6.50 feet was at the GWAL championships.
“Breanna joins the Mean Green family as the 2015 Kansas high school state champion in the long jump,” assistant coach Derek Mackel said. “Breanna has a great talent for the jumps and we look forward to helping her reach her potential.”
Mayberry comes to North Texas as a two-time state champion in both the 400-meters and the 800-meters in her last two seasons at St. Dominic Savio High School. Mayberry ran a personal-best time of 58.90 at the TAPPS 4A state meet in the 400m and set a personal-best time of 2:15.36 in the 800 meters.
“Mayberry is the 2016 TAPPS 4A State champion for both the 400m and 800m and contributed 20 points to her team taking home the state title as well,” Slekis said. “Kacie will not only bring her talent level to our team, but also an exceptional work ethic that will add substantially to our team training environment.”
Ashmore took third in pole vault with a personal best mark of 12-2.00 feet at the Texas Relays this past season. Ashmore finished third at the UIL 6A District 17 championships in 2016. Last season, she finished seventh in the 6A state championship meet with a vault of 12-0.00 feet.
“Ashmore will study materials engineering and has a bright future in the vault,” Mackel said. “Bailey was third at her district meet; however, the April flooding that the Houston area experienced cut her season short when the area meet was canceled. Her enthusiastic love for the vault and commitment to excellence will make her a great addition to our team.”
Archuleta was a multi-sport athlete at Alamogordo High School in New Mexico, lettering in volleyball, women’s basketball and track & field. Archuleta specializes in the throwing events with her best being in the javelin. She won the state title in the javelin with a personal-best throw of 136-0.00 feet this part year and was also second in the discus at the NMAA 6A state championship with a mark of 116-2.00 feet.
“A high school standout in volleyball, basketball (four school records, multiple state championship appearances, and athlete of week selections), and track & field (multiple New Mexico State Championships and the school record in the javelin throw),” said Kelso. “Archuleta has exceptional athletic ability. With this immense talent and winning mentality, the sky is the limit for Kristyn's potential and what she can accomplish at North Texas. “She will be a foundational piece of The Mean Green women's throws group and our women's program as a whole.”
Dixon finished fifth in the UIL 6A region in the 100-meter and the 200-meter dash this past season. She is a two-time 6A district champion in the 100m and the 200m and holds the school record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.86. Dixon also competed on three relay teams (4x100, 4x200 and 4x400) during her four-year high school career.
"Jahyda Dixon will bolster the young talent in the women's sprint corp at North Texas," Sheffield said. "In 2016, Dixon was 6A District and Area champion in 100m and 200m. She was also a regional finalist in both events. She became the school record holder at 100m. Jahyda will be a tremendous talent in all the sprint events and will contribute immediately on all relays."
Tanner was a 6A district champion in the long jump with a mark of 18-2.00 feet this past season. Tanner placed 11th at the prestigious Texas Relays, jumping 18-5.25 feet in the long jump. She also competed in the triple jump, earning a fifth-place finish at the UIL 6A District championship.
“Lawren will join the horizontal jumps group at North Texas,” Mackel said. “Her 2016 season was capped with a fifth-place finish in the long jump during the 2016 6A UIL track and field championship. Lawren’s never-give-up attitude and strong work ethic will be a great asset to the women’s jump squad.”
The North Texas track and field teams will look to improve upon their fifth-place finish on the men’s side and sixth-place finish for the women’s team at the 2016 Outdoor Conference USA championships. These 10 incoming freshman will provide depth and hope to boost the teams to new heights in 2016-17.