EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon added to an already talented roster by signing six national caliber student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to join the women's track and field team next season, Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna announced Monday.
"I am thrilled that we've added an excellent sprinter, a middle distance standout, a pair of Foot Locker national cross country top-10 finishers and a set of multitalented twins," Lananna said. "These student-athletes already know what it means to compete successfully at the very top of their events, so they are a perfect match for our women's team.
"Associate Head Coach Robert Johnson coordinated our strategy and the entire staff should be commended for this great class."
Among the six, half are from the Fresno, Calif., area including the reigning state long jump and triple jump champion Jenna Prandini. The Clovis High School star ranked third nationally in both the 100 meters and the triple jump, and sixth in the long jump.
Oregon also signed the top 800 meter runner in the nation in Claudia Francis of Laurelton, N.Y. The younger sister of current Duck Phyllis Francis, Claudia ran 2:10 to win the Hispanic Games 800 meters in January and has a personal best 2:05.47 outdoors.
A pair of Foot Locker cross country national qualifiers will be headed to Track Town, USA, in the fall. Allison Woodward from Green Bay, Wis., was sixth at the 2010 Foot Locker race, while Molly Grabill of Poway, Calif., was close behind in ninth.
Also signing with the Ducks from Fresno (Clovis West High School) are twins Alyssa and Anginae Monteverde, who competed in the heptathlon at the 2009 Youth National Championships. Alyssa is a California state qualifier in the hurdles, while Anginae is likewise in the pole vault.
"We had some specific needs to address and these women definitely will make a difference right away," said Johnson. "We are ecstatic about welcoming so many high-impact student-athletes to the University of Oregon."
The six will join a talented 2012 roster that includes the 2010 top-ranked recruiting class in the nation according to Track & Field News, as well as Pac-10 champions and All-Americans Jordan Hasay, Anne Kesselring and Amber Purvis.
CLAUDIA FRANCIS, MIDDLE DISTANCE, LAURELTON, N.Y./CARDOZA HS
Prep Bests: 800 Meters - 2:05.47.
Francis is the top-ranked 800 meter high school runner in the nation this season, having already timed 2:10 to win the Hispanic Games title in January for Cardoza High School.
Her personal best, 2:05.47, came at the 2009 Nike Nationals in North Carolina. Last spring, she captured the New Balance Outdoor Nationals 800 crown in 2:07.30. That time ranked third nationally among high schoolers in 2010.
Francis was the 2009 USA Junior Olympic intermediate 800 and 1,500 meter champion. She went on to win the World Youth trials in the 800 later in 2009.
Her impressive list of junior titles also includes the 2009 Nike Outdoor nationals (800 meters), 2009 New York Borough and City Championships (800 and 1,500 meters), 2009 Reebok Grand Prix (800 meters), 2009 New Balance Collegiate Invitational (1,000 meters). She was also the 2008 Nike Outdoor nationals mile champion as a sophomore.
Francis has also competed at Oregon's Hayward Field previously, having run there at the 2004 USA Junior Olympics.
Francis' sister Phyllis Francis is currently a freshman on the Ducks' track and field team.
MOLLY GRABILL, DISTANCE, POWAY, CALIF./RANCHO BERNARDO HS
Prep Bests: Mile: 4:51.32; 3,200 Meters - 10:20.25.
Grabill impressed over the weekend by finishing second at the USA Junior Cross Country Championships. Her runner-up finish earned her a spot on the squad that will represent Team USA at the IAAF Junior World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria, Spain, on March 20.
She is a two-time Foot Locker nationals qualifier. She finished ninth as a senior in 2010 in 17:46 after placing 12th as a junior in 2009.
Grabill was the California state cross country champion in 2009 and was sixth as a senior in 2010.
She garnered notice at the 2010 Nike Pre-Nationals in September by winning the 5,000 meter Jim Danner Championship in 17:42.84.
She is also a four-time CIF San Diego Section cross country champion and holds the course record at Morley Field after posting 15:25 times in both the 2009 and 2010 section championships.
In track and field, Grabill is a three-time CIF San Diego Section champion in the 3,200 meters with a personal best of 10:20.25 coming when she won the state championship for Rancho Bernardo High School as a junior in 2010. She was the state runner-up at 3,200 meters in 2009.
ALYSSA MONTEVERDE, HURDLES/HEPTATHLON, FRESNO, CALIF./CLOVIS WEST HS
Prep Bests: 100 Meter Hurdles - 13.89; 300 Meter Hurdles - 42.00.
Monteverde set the California Central Section record in the 300 meter hurdles for Clovis West High School with her third place finish at the state championships in 42.00 as a junior in 2010. That time ranked 11th nationally among high schoolers in 2010.
She was also seventh at the California state meet in the 100 meter hurdles in a personal-best 13.89, after first qualifying for the state championships as a sophomore in 2009.
Additionally, Monteverde was the national runner-up in the heptathlon at the 2010 USATF National Junior Olympics, scoring 4,848 points that was highlighted by a 14.49 time in the 100 meter hurdles.
Monteverde is also a two-time state qualifier in the high jump, with a personal-best clearance of 5-6 in the event.
She competed along with her sister, Oregon signee Anginae Monteverde, in the heptathlon at the 2009 Youth National Championships.
ANGINAE MONTEVERDE, SPRINTS, FRESNO, CALIF./CLOVIS WEST HS
Prep Bests: Pole Vault: 12-6.
A 2011 national pole vault summit qualifier, Monteverde tied for sixth in the pole vault at the 2010 California state championships as a junior for Clovis West High School. She set a best clearance of 12-6 over the weekend at a meet in California.
She was also a state qualifier in the 100 meter hurdles.
Monteverde competed along with her sister, Oregon signee Alyssa Monteverde, in the heptathlon at the 2009 Youth National Championships.
JENNA PRANDINI, JUMPS/SPRINTS, CLOVIS, CALIF./CLOVIS HS
Prep Bests: 100 Meters - 11.34; 200 - 23.97; Long Jump - 20-7.75; Triple Jump - 42-7.25.
Prandini, who ranked third nationally in the 100 meters and triple jump last season, swept the California state long jump and triple jump titles as a junior for Clovis High School in 2010. She went a personal-best 42-7.25 to take the triple jump and 20-5.75 in winning the long jump.
Her PR in the long jump, 20-7.75, came during the state preliminary rounds.
Prandini was also the state runner-up at 100 meters in 11.42. She ran a personal-best 11.34 in the preliminaries.
In addition to her national rankings in the 100 and triple jump, she was sixth in the U.S. in the long jump.
ALLISON WOODWARD, DISTANCE, GREEN BAY, WIS./NOTRE DAME ACADEMY
Prep Bests: 3,200 Meters - 10:55.51.
Woodward finished sixth at the Foot Locker national championships (17.37.0) and 14th at the Nike Cross Nationals last December.
She was the 2010 Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional champion in 17:18.61 (5,000 meters), before moving on to the national race.
During the fall high school season, which was her only year of cross country, Woodward set the Wisconsin Division 2 course record by running 13:59 for 4,000 meters to win the state 2A title. She also captured the 2010 Ray Griak Invitational crown.
On the track, she was a two-time Wisconsin state champion as a junior in 2009, winning both the 1,600 and 3,200 meter crowns to lead Notre Dame Academy to the state title.
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