February 3, 2011
EUGENE, Ore. -- An impressive group of distance standouts, plus nationally ranked sprinters, a thrower and combined events stars are among the 14 high schoolers and transfers who signed National Letters of Intent to join the Men of Oregon's track and field team next season, Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna announced Thursday.
"We are very excited that this talented group has chosen to pursue their academic and athletic dreams in Track Town, USA," said Lananna. "We are proud to welcome them as the newest Men of Oregon.
"Our staff is to be congratulated for bringing this great class to the University of Oregon and Andy Powell did a wonderful job coordinating our recruiting efforts."
The signees include top three finishers in at the high school mile at last week's Millrose games in Chad Noelle of Greene, N.Y., Matthew Jablonski of Cockeysville, Md., and Jeramy Elkaim of Livingston, N.J., as well as Foot Locker national top 10 finisher Ryan Pickering from West Palm Beach, Fla., and 2010 California state 1,600 meter champion Elias Gedyon of Los Angeles, Calif.
The Ducks will also welcome transfer Joeal Hotchkins, who ran a wind-aided 10.15 in the 100 meters and 21.10 in the 200 meters for Central Arizona College. Hotchkins' 100 time would have won the Pac-10 and placed fourth in the NCAA last season.
Oregon added top in-state talent to the roster as well, with state hammer record-holder Greg Skipper from Oregon City High School, Oregon 5A 200 and 400 meter champion Jack Galpin from Crater High School and 2010 Oregon 6A state cross country champion Matt Melacon of Eugene's Sheldon High School signing with the Ducks.
The class of 2011 is rounded out by 1:53 800 meter runner Russell Hornsby of Williamsburg, Va., 4:11 miler Chris Brewer of Vista, Calif., and decathletes Marcus Atkinson of Atlee, Va., and Alec Fellows of Edmonds, Wash.
The 14th member of the class of 2011 is Lukas Verzbicas of Orland Park, Ill., who became the first high school runner to sweep both major national cross country titles - the Nike Cross Nationals and Foot Locker national championships - at the two U.S. prep events last December. Verzbicas' signing was announced on Wednesday.
"We are very pleased with the depth and talent of this year's recruiting class," said Powell. "It is a great group that will be fun to watch during their time at Oregon."
Oregon's most recent group of distance runners has been among the best in school history. Among those who have graduated in the last two years are NCAA champions and Olympians Galen Rupp and Andrew Wheating and Pac-10 champions Shadrack Biwott and Chris Winter.
The 14 recruits will be part of the 2012 Oregon men's team that will include the 2010 recruiting class, that was named No. 1 in the nation by Track & Field News.
Oregon will announce its 2011 women's track and field signees next week.
MARQUES ATKINSON, DECATHLON, MECHANICSVILLE, VA./ATLEE HS
Prep Bests: 400 Meters - 49.07; 300 Meter Hurdles - 38.27; High Jump - 6-5.
Atkinson was the 2010 high school national indoor pentathlon runner-up and has run 49.07 in the 400 meters and 38.27 in the 300 meter hurdles. He was sixth in the 300 meter hurdles at the 2010 Virginia state championships for Atlee High School.
Already this indoor season, Atkinson has set his best in the high jump at 6-5.
He is from the same high school as current UO sophomore Ben DeJarnette.
CHRIS BREWER, MIDDLE DISTANCE, VISTA, CALIF./RANCHO BUENA VISTA HS
Prep Bests: 1,600 Meters - 4:11.12; 3,200 Meters - 9:14.19.
Brewer was a California state meet finalist in the 1,600 meters and had the fastest time in the state, 4:11.12, at that distance as a junior in 2010 for Rancho Buena Vista High School. His top time came in a win at the Palomar League championships.
Brewer also ran a 4:09.60 4x1,600 meter relay split at the 2010 Mt. SAC Relays.
JERAMY ELKAIM, DISTANCE, LIVINGSTON, N.J./LIVINGSTON HS
Prep Bests: 3,200 Meters - 8:46.08.
Elkaim broke the New Jersey high school record by running a nation-leading 8:46.08 in winning the NJSIAA Meet of Champions last June. Prior to that, he established a personal-best at 1,600 meters by running 4:12.89 at the sectional meet.
Last week, he finished third in the high school mile (4:19.60) at the Millrose Games in New York as UO recruits went 1-2-3 in that race, with Chad Noelle winning in 4:16.71 and Matt Jablonski taking second in 4:16.88.
In the fall, he was third at the state cross country championships in 15:29 (5,000 meters), before qualifying for the Nike Cross Nationals.
ALEC FELLOWS, DECATHLON, EDMONDS, WASH./EDMONDS-WOODWAY HS
Prep Bests: 110 Meter Hurdles - 14.43; Long Jump - 23-3.25; Triple Jump - 45-6.
Fellows ranked sixth nationally in the decathlon with a wind-aided best of 6,522 points. That was the runner-up score from the 2010 USATF Junior Olympics.
He was also fourth at the 2010 Washington 4A Championships in both the 110 meter hurdles and the triple jump as a junior for Edmonds-Woodway High School. Fellows took third in the 110 hurdles as a sophomore in 2009 (14.60).
Among his best marks are 14.43 in the 110 hurdles, 23-3.25 in the long jump, 6-5 in the high jump and 45-6 in the triple jump.
JACK GALPIN, SPRINTS, MEDFORD, ORE./CRATER HS
Prep Bests: 200 meters - 21.87; 400 meters - 48.93.
Galpin is the reigning Oregon 5A 200 and 400 meter state champion for Crater High School. As a junior, he won the 200 meter title last season at Hayward Field in a personal-best, wind-aided 21.87, and took the 400 in 49.21.
Galpin was also on the winning 4x100 (42.77) and 4x400 (3:26.86) relay teams and joined with current Duck Kelley Beck to lead Crater to the team 5A state title.
His best in the 400, 48.93 came during the preliminary round at the state meet.
As a sophomore for Bonanza High School in 2009, Galpin was the state 2A runner-up at 100 (11.22), 200 (22.23) and 400 (49.82) meters.
ELIAS GEDYON, MIDDLE DISTANCE, LOS ANGELES, CALIF./LOYOLA HS
Prep Bests: 800 Meters - 1:52.24; 1,500 Meters - 3:47.65; Mile - 4:08.69.
Gedyon is the reigning California state champion in the 1,600 meters and ran a personal-best 3:47.65 in the 1,500 meters last spring at the USATF Junior Nationals.
He also won the California state Division II cross country title in the fall in 14:52 (5,000 meters).
Gedyon impressed as a sophomore at Loyola High School, having run bests of 1:52.24 in the 800 meters, 4:07.26 in a state runner-up finish in the 1,600 meters and 4:08.69 in the mile.
RUSSELL HORNSBY, MIDDLE DISTANCE, WILLIAMSBURG, VA./GEORGETOWN PREP
Prep Bests: 800 Meters - 1:53.3.
Hornsby finished second in the 800 meters at the I.A.C. meet as a junior in 2010 for Georgetown Prep.
He has a personal best of 1:53 in the 800.
Hornsby was also on the 4x800 meter relay team that placed third in the 2010 Penn Relays' Championship of America.
His father is Grammy-award winning musician Bruce Hornsby, leader of the bands "Bruce Hornsby and the Range" and "Bruce Hornsby & the Noise Makers," who has also played over 100 shows with the "Grateful Dead."
JOEAL HOTCHKINS, SPRINTS, LAS VEGAS, NEV./CHAPARRAL HS/CENTRAL ARIZONA COLLEGE
Prep Bests: 100 Meters - 10.15; 200 meters - 21.10; Long Jump - 23-5.75.
Hotchkins was the NJCAA Region I champion in both the 100 and 200 meters for Central Arizona College. He won the 100 in 10.39 and the 200 in a personal-best 21.10. His top time in the 100, a wind-aided 10.15, came in a win at the Don Kirby Memorial Invitational.
At the NJCAA national championships, Hotchkins took fourth in the 100 in 10.25.
Before Central Arizona, Hotchkins was the 2009 Nevada state runner-up in the 100 meters and the long jump for Chaparral High School. He ran 10.43 in the 100 meters and leapt 22-7 in the long jump. He set his personal best in the long jump, 23-5.75, his senior season at Chaparral.
MATTHEW JABLONSKI, MIDDLE DISTANCE, COCKEYSVILLE, MD./LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD HS
Prep Bests: Mile - 4:10.64.
Jablonski was the 2010 MIAA cross country champion for Loyola Blakefield High School, running the three-mile course in 15:11 to win the Baltimore-area private schools title.
Last week, he was the runner up in the high school mile (4:16.88) at the Millrose Games in New York as UO recruits went 1-2-3 in that race, with Chad Noelle winning in 4:16.71 and Jeramy Elkaim taking third in 4:19.60.
On the track last spring, Jablonski won the IAAM/MIAA championship in both the 800 meters and the 1,600 meters.
MATT MELANCON, MIDDLE DISTANCE, EUGENE, ORE./SHELDON HS
Prep Bests: 3,000 Meters - 8:42.08.
Melancon won the Oregon 6A cross country championship for Sheldon High School in the fall and was named the state's Gatorade Runner of the Year.
He ran 15:36 to win the state title (5,000 meter course), after earlier setting his best time at 5,000 meters of 15:10.6 at the Concordia Puma Classic.
On the track, Melancon was fourth in the state at 3,000 meters in 2010 (8:46.55) after setting a PR at that distance of 8:42.08 at the Oregon Relays.
CHAD NOELLE, MIDDLE DISTANCE, GREENE, N.Y./GREENE CENTRAL HS
Prep Bests: 1,600 Meters - 4:10.54; 3,200 Meters - 9:04.77.
Noelle won the high school mile at last week's Millrose Games in 4:16.71. He led a 1-2-3 sweep of UO signees that also included Matt Jablonski (4:16.88) and Jeramy Elkaim (4:19.60). Noelle was the New York runner-up at both 1,600 meters (4:11.97) and 3,200 meters (9:04.77) at the state championships as a junior in 2010.
Off the track, Noelle was the 2010 Northeast Foot Locker champion in 15:42 and finished 10th at the national championships (15:25).
He was also the New York runner-up at both 1,600 meters (4:11.97) and 3,200 meters (9:04.77) at the state championships as a junior in 2010.
RYAN PICKERING, DISTANCE, WEST PALM BEACH, FLA./JOHN I. LEONARD HS
Prep Bests: 1,600 Meters - 4:11.17.
Pickering backed up his 2010 Florida state track title at 1,600 meters by winning the 4A cross country championship in the fall for John I. Leonard High School. His time, 15:03.01, was a state meet record. He followed his cross country win by running 14:55.48 at the Flrunners.com Invitational and then took ninth at the Foot Locker national championships in San Diego in 15:25.
Pickering finished third at the Florida state cross country meet as a freshman and sophomore.
On the track, Pickering led Leonard to a fourth-place finish at the state meet with his victory in the 1,600 meters in 4:11.77. He was also fourth in the 3,200 meters.
GREG SKIPPER, HAMMER, OREGON CITY, ORE./OREGON CITY HS
Prep Bests: Shot Put - 55-0.5; Hammer - 223-8.
Skipper ranked third nationally in the hammer in 2010 with a throw of 223-8 at the Portland THRose Festival, which broke his own Oregon state record.
He was also the 2010 6A state shot put runner-up for Oregon City High School, with a mark of 54-6. Skipper's best shot put was 55-0.5 from the Willamette Falls Invitational.
Skipper is the son of former Oregon football player Scott Skipper, and is the nephew of the Ducks' five-time NCAA pole vault champion Tommy Skipper and 1992 NCAA javelin champion, the late Art Skipper, Jr.
LUKAS VERZBICAS, DISTANCE, ORLAND PARK, Ill./CARL SANDBURG HS
Prep Bests: Mile - 4:04.38; 5,000 Meters - 14:18.42.
Verzbicas became the first high school runner to sweep both national cross country titles at the two major prep events last December. He won the individual 5,000-meter title at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland on Dec. 4 with a time of 15:59.2. A week later, at the Foot Locker national championships in San Diego, Verzbicas became the first repeat champion since Dathan Ritzenhein in 1999-00. He ran 14:59 (5,000 meters) to win by more than 11 seconds.
Verzbicas is a two-time Illinois Class 3A state cross country champion for Carl Sandburg High School and will graduate early, having skipped his junior year on an accelerated academic program. He was named the Gatorade national boys cross country runner of the year for the second consecutive season. He ran a personal-best 13:54.00 in winning the 2010 three-mile Illinois cross country state title.
Verzbicas led the nation in the mile among high schoolers with a mile time of 4:04.38 as a sophomore in 2010. That was the winning time from the adidas Grand Prix in New York. The native of Kaunas, Lithuania, also holds the national high school indoor record in the 5,000 meters at 14:18.42, set in 2009 at the Nike Indoor National meet in Boston.
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