An Inside Look at the Class of 2020

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Sept. 15, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The future of Penn State track & field is very bright as the Nittany Lions welcome several high caliber athletes in as a part of the 2016 recruiting class.

Coming off a year that saw third year head coach John Gondak capture the Big Ten women’s cross country title, as well as the men’s track & field team finishing in the Top 20 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for a second consecutive year, the Lions are primed for exciting cross country, indoor and outdoor seasons.

Several athletes earned USTFCCCA Athlete of the year accolades as Penn State looks to accomplish even bigger goals with this year’s squads that are loaded from top to bottom with newcomers that will be expected to contribute in a B1G way during the 2016-17 academic calender.

27 student-athletes make up the 2016 incoming class of recruits which encompasses several state champions as well as nationally ranked performances.

Here is a breakdown of what the future of Penn State track & field did this past spring during their respective senior seasons:

 

Darian Alston | Jumps

Downingtown, Pa.


 

 

Downingtown West HS

Personal Best: Triple Jump-48’-9” (14.85m)

Highlights

Pennsylvania Indoor State Champion

Third-place at Pennsylvania Outdoor State Championships

 

Kenny Anderson Jr. | Sprints/Hurdles            

Linwood, N.J.

Mainland Regional High School                 

110mH-14.77, 400mIH-53.65

 

Highlights
Sixth-place at 2016 New Jersey Group-3 State Championships in the 400mIH

 

Will Ashenfelter | Distance/XC

Needham, MA

Needham High School

Personal Best: 400-meters-49.85, 600-meters-1:22.23, 800-meters-1:55.33

 

Austin Campbell | Jumps

Centennial,CO

Regis Jesuit HS

Personal Best: High Jump-6’-11” (2.10m)

Highlights

Colorado Outdoor State Champion in high jump

 

Tristan Daman | Sprints                  

State College, Pa.

State College Area High School                 

Personal Best: 100-meters-10.77, 200-meters-22.20

Highlights

Fourth-place at 2016 PIAA State Meet (100-meters)

 

Derek Dibona | Pole Vault

Warwick, N.Y.

Warwick Valley HS

Personal Best: 16’-2” (4.92m)

 

Highlights

Second-place at 2015 N.Y. Indoor State Meet

Third-place at 2015 N.Y. Outdoor State Meet

Fifth-place at 2015 New Balance indoor nationals

 

Luke Grodeska | Throws (U.S. ranked No.7)

Neptune, N.J.

St. Rose HS

Personal Best: 68’-0.75” (20.75m) (Shot Put)

Highlights

New Jersey State Champion Indoor and Outdoor

New Balance Indoor fourth-place

New Balance Outdoor seventh-place

 

Spencer Hay | Jumps

Lehighton, Pa.

Palmerton HS

Personal Best: High Jump-6’-8” (2.03m)

Highlights

Pennsylvania State Champion

 

Jaxson Hoey | Distance/XC

Downingtown, Pa.

Downingtown West HS

Personal Best: 800-meters-1:51.58, 1500-meters-3:52.55, 1600-meters-4:11.47, Two-Mile-9:09.01, 5k-15:13

Highlights

2015 1600m PIAA T&F State Champion

2015 PIAA State Cross Country Runner-up

Finished third in the 800-meters at the 2016 PIAA State Championships

 

Will Loevner Distance/XC

Allison Park, Pa.

Winchester Thurston High School

Personal Best: 3200-meters-9:16.63

 

Highlights

Finished fifth at the 2016 PIAA Track & Field State Championships in the 3200-meters

 

Tyreek Mathis | Sprints            

Philadelphia, Pa.

Martin Luther King High School                 

Personal Best: 100-meters-10.95/400-meters-47.85

Highlights

Third-place at 2016 PIAA State Meet (400-meters)

 

Domenic Perretta | Distance/XC

Beaver Falls, Pa.

Beaver Falls HS

Personal Best: 800-meters-1:50.10, Mile-4:11.53

Highlights

3x 800m PIAA State Champion

3x1600m PIAA State Champion

2015 800m Indoor National Runner-up

 

Ben Peterson |Throws (U.S. ranked No.22)

Solon, OH

Solon HS

Personal Best: 63’-5” (19.32m) (Shot Put)

Highlights

Second-place at the Ohio Outdoor State Championship

New Balance Indoor sixth-place

 

Michael Slagowski | Distance/XC

Meridian, ID

Rocky Mountain HS

Personal Best: 400-meters-48.54, 800-meters-1:48.36, Mile-3:59.53, 3200-meters-9:14.59, 5k-15:21

Highlights

2015 800m Indoor National Champion

Two-time 800m, 1600m, 3200m Idaho 4A/5A State Champion

2015 Idaho State Cross Country Champion

Became the ninth high school athlete to ever break the four-minute mark in the mile; running the 7th fastest time.

 

Recorded a fourth-place finish in the mile at the 2016 Prefontaine Classic (3:59.78)

 

Griffin Thompson | Pole Vault

State College, Pa.

State College HS

Personal Best: 16’-3” (4.95m)

Highlights

Third-place at Pennsylvania Indoor State Meet

Pennsylvania State Outdoor Champion

 

Brandon Tubby | Distance/XC

Hillsborough, N.J.

Hillsborough HS

Personal Best: 800-meters-1:53.36, 1600-meters-4:09.59, 3200-meters-9:15.47

 

Highlights

Finished sixth in the mile at the 2015 Indoor National Championships

2016 1600-meter NJSIAA Group 4 State Champion

 

Darien Williams |Sprints           

Ambler, Pa.

Wissahickon High School                                              

Personal Best: 100-meters-10.64/200-meters-22.11

Highlights

Runner-up at 2016 PIAA State Meet (100-meters)

 

Rachel Banks | Distance/XC

Chardon, OH

Chardon HS

Personal Best: 800-meters-2:07.27, Mile-4:57.78, 5k-18:32

 

Highlights

2015 800-meters OHSAA State Champion

2016 800-meters OHSAA State Runner-up

 

Kadey Donitzen | Jumps

Stahlstown, Pa.

Mount Pleasant Area Senior High School

Event: High Jump

Personal Best(s) High Jump 5’-7” (1.70m)

 

Highlights

2015 PIAA T&F State Championships Qualifier

2015 PIAA District 7 AAA Championships high jump runner-up

2015 WCCA Championships high jump champion

 

Natasha Fedkina | Distance/XC

State College, Pa.

State College Area School District

Personal Best: 800-meters-2:15.47, 1600-meters-5:00.97

Highlights
Finished sixth in the 1600-meters at the 2016 PIAA Track & Field State Championships

 

Julia Guerra | Distance/XC

Oakland, N.J.

Indian Hills HS

Personal Best: 1600-meters-4:51.56, 3200-meters-10:35.70, 5k-17:46

Highlights

2014 Indoor Mile NJSIAA Group Champion

Finished 10th at the 2014 National Championships in the 1600-meters

2015 1600-meters NJSIAA State Meet of Champions Runner-Up

2016 Indoor Mile NJSIAA Group Champion Runner-Up

Winner of the 2016 Indoor 3200-meters NJSIAA Meet of Champions

 

Julia Howard | Jumps

Greensburg, Pa.

Greensburg Salem High School

Event: Long Jump, Triple Jump

Personal Best(s) Long Jump – 18’-11” (5.76m) / Triple Jump – 39’-2.50” (11.95m)

 

Highlights

2016 PIAA District 7 AA & AAA Long Jump champion

2016 PIAA District 7 AA & AAA Triple Jump champion

2016 PIAA T&F State Championships fourth-place long jump

2016 PIAA T&F State Championships third-place triple jump

 

Kiara Lester | Sprints            

Wenonah, N.J.

Deptford HS

Personal Best: 200-meters-24.32/ 400-meters-55.72

Highights

2016 NJSIAA Group 2 Indoor State Champion (400m)

Third-place 2016 NJSIAA Group 2 Indoor State Championships (55m)

2016 NJSIAA Indoor Meet of Champions Champion (200m)

Runner up at 2016 NJSIAA Indoor Meet of Champions (400m)

Grayson McCloy | Jumps

Mill Hall, Pa.

Central Mountain High School

Event: High Jump

Personal Best(s) High Jump 5’-5” (1.65m)

 

Highlights

2016 PIAA track & field State Championships Qualifier

2016 PIAA District 6-AAA high jump champion

 

Kathryn Munks | Distance/XC

Chester, N.Y.

Monroe Woodbury HS

Personal Best: 1500-meters-4:36.12, 3,000-meters-9:52.69, 5k-17:39

Highlights

Finished 11th in the Two-Mile at the 2016 National Championships

2015 Cross Country Foot Locker Finalist

 

Danae Rivers | Distance/XC

Derby, CT

Wilbur Cross HS

Best: 800m-2:05.86, 1000m-2:49.68, 1600m-4:47.45

Highlights

Winner of the 2015 New England Championships

Finished third at the 2015 National Championships (800m)

2015 800m and 1600m CIAC State Open Champion

Finished fourth at the 2016 Indoor National Championships (800m)

2016 1600m CIAC State Open Championships Runner-Up

 

Kelsey Vieira | Jumps

Hillsborough, N.J.

Hillsborough High School

Event: Long Jump, Triple Jump

Personal Best(s): Long Jump 19’-1.25” (5.82m) / Triple Jump 39’-3.75” (11.98m)

 

Highlights

2015 NJSIAA Sectionals - Central - Groups 1 & 4  Long Jump champion

2015 NJSIAA Long Jump runner-up Meet of Champions

2015 NJSIAA Groups 1 & 4 2015 & NP B Triple Jump champion

 

 

 

 

 

 

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