JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 20, 2011) - No sooner had the ink dried on another ETSU Indoor Track and Field championship than Coach of the Year Dave Walker's staff hit the recruiting trail for next season.
Assistant Coach Eli Sunquist announced 12 signees for the 2011-12 season this week, adding six to the indoor-champion men's team and another six to an ever-growing women's team. Top finds include a top-ten national men's sprinter from Tennessee and a national multi champion from across the sea.
"We are thrilled to be able to have so many quality students, athletes, and people join our program for next year," said Sunquist. "We are trying very hard to have a well-balanced program for both the men and the women, and these incoming athletes will really help us achieve that goal."
Recruiting everywhere from just down the road to across an ocean and beyond, the men's program adds Jadon Short (Oak Ridge, Tenn.), Graham Boone (Johnson City, Tenn.), Evaristo Valls (Elche, Spain), Kâ€™Vonte Scott (Virginia Beach, Va.), Steve Wade (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Filip Jalovy (Modrice, Czech Republic). Boasting three international prospects, the women's team adds Pauline Chiariglione (Nice, France), Annie Thorold (Molnlycke, Sweden), Karissa Bertling (New Port Richey, Fla.), Demetria Edgecombe (Spartanburg, S.C.), Nicole Alexander (Rock Hill, S.C.) and Isabelle Grosskopff (Telgte, Germany).
Atop the men's list of prospects, Short ended his career at Oak Ridge High School with the ninth-best 60-meter time in the nation this year, which Sprints Coach Brandon Morton said should add more depth to an already power-packed group of sprinters like Ifrish Alberg (Paramaribo, Suriname). "[Short] should make the short sprints and relays very interesting for ETSU next year," said Morton.
Sunquist also looks forward to Short in the horizontals, where he brings a lifetime-best 46-06.75 (14.02m). "With his speed and toughness," Sunquist said, "he will make a great sprinter-jumper combo."
Two more in-state products join Short on the men's squad next year. Boone ranked No. 35 in the indoor triple jump this season, while Wade was No. 30 in the indoor shot put. Rejoining former Princess Anne High School teammate Ryan Beaver (Virginia Beach, Va.), Scott focused on hurdles at the prep level, but Sunquist said he has a promising future in the decathlon.
On the international scale, Valls transfers from Newton College and a wholesome training background in his native Spain, and Sunquist said he looks forward to Valls as a decathlete. Walker weighed in on Jalovy, the lone distance recruit thus far, who ran from 800 to 5,000 for Moravske Gymnazium: "His mid-distance ability will help us out on the track, and he does have the range to help us out in cross country."
On the women's side, Chiariglione already knows how to win, as she brings a French national pentathlon championship from her time at Universite de Nice-Sophia. Sunquist said he looks for her to make a splash on the regional and national levels as a Buccaneer. "Pauline is a very determined individual," he said, "and we as a staff are very thrilled that she has decided to further her academic and athletic career here at ETSU."
"Our women's program continues to grow," said Sunquist, and we are really hoping that next year will be a breakout year for them."
In addition to the talent set to return in Emani Harrison (Columbia, S.C.), Emma and Hannah Bowers (Jonesborough, Tenn.), as well as horizontal jumpers Bethany Lender (Altoona, Pa.) and Lexie Burley (Johnson City, Tenn.), regional recruits for the womenâ€™s team tap some of the premier prep pipelines.
Bertling brings flexibility in sprints and relays from Ridgewood High School, while Edgecombe makes the trip up the interstate from acclaimed Dorman High School, where she was the No. 1 female hurdler in South Carolina. Morton said both can contend for conference gold in sprints, while adding an extra energy shot to the relay squad. "[Bertling,] along with Demetria Edgecombe, Emani Harrison, Hannah and Emma Bowers will all challenge for relay spots," he said, adding that Edgecombe "will make an immediate impact on the conference level and will look to push the envelope by qualifying for NCAA Regionals."
Another product from the Carolina Piedmont, Alexander adds another dimension to the rapidly developing complement of women's sprinters and hurdlers. Morton said he attributes great development at Northwestern High, where Alexander notched a personal best 14.66 in the 100 hurdles.
Thorold joins Sunquist and the horizontal jumpers, while pure distance runner Grosskopff should augment fifth-year senior runner Caitlyn Epps (Cookeville, Tenn.) in cross country and the endurance runs.
Sunquist said the team hopes to add eight-to-ten more recruits in a second wave of signees for next season. For more on ETSU Track and Field, visit ETSUBucs.com.