Men's Track Team Adds Four Spring Signees

April 29, 2002

EUGENE - The University of Oregon men's track and field team announced the addition of four talented prep seniors to its recruiting class, all of whom will be freshmen for the 2002-2003 collegiate season.

The Ducks received National Letters of Intent (NLI) from prep seniors Travis Anderson of Arvada, Colo., and Westminster High School, Marcus Benton of McMinnville High School in McMinnville, Ore., Jan Olszowy of Jarfalla, Sweden and a 2001 South High School graduate (Eugene, Ore.), and Michael Mitchum of Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago.

'I'm really pleased with this group,' Oregon men's head coach Martin Smith said. 'They should all come in and contribute immediately and boost Coach (Steve) Silvey's areas which graduate several key athletes. By the end of the outdoor season, three from the entire recruiting class could end up in the 46-second range in the 400, so that helps us immensely, both sprint-wise and in the relays.'

Anderson ranked fifth nationally heading into this season among prep 400 runners based on 2001 bests (PR 47.09). A state 400 champion in 2000 as a sophomore, he missed last season's Colorado state finale after a 200 (21.54) - 400 (47.09 PR) double in the regional meet. Coaches report other bests of 21.4 and 10.72 in the 200 and 100 for the 5-10, 155-pounder, and his 2002 season best in the 400 (47.57) currently ranks 14th nationally and seventh among seniors.

In the hurdles, Mitchum expects to add depth in the 110 and 400 hurdles, and is in his second year of hurdling. Oregon coaches report that the 6-2, 170-pounder has clocked 7.39 indoors in the 60 hurdle prelims in the Illinois state indoor meet in 2002, and outdoors this season has run 13.7 hand-timed twice, and has high-jumped 6-8 once both indoors and outdoors. Other reported personal bests include 38.4 in the 300 hurdles and 49.1 in the 400.

Among the state prep ranks, Benton adds sprint depth in the 100 (10.6), 200 (21.64) and 400 (49.6 / 48.2 relay split). Last season he finished second in the Oregon 4A state 200 (21.64 PR), third in the 100 (10.97) and ran on the winning 4x400 (3:21.77). The following week he won the 100 in the Oregon-Washington meet (11.05w, +2.2w). As of last week, he ranked third in the state in the 200 (21.9) and 400 (49.94).

The middle distances will be boosted by the addition of Olszowy (pron. all-ZOW-ee) who competed locally for South High School in 2001. The native of Jarfalla, Sweden ran a personal best of 1:50.15 last season that ranked seventh nationally in the U.S. among preps. At the state meet in Eugene last May, he won the 800 (1:50.74), and added points in the 100 (fourth, 10.97, w:+0.8) and 4x100 (first, 42.73). Indoors this season, he has run 1:51 in the 800, and competed for the Swedish national team in an indoor scored meet in March against Great Britain, Scotland and USA.

The signing quartet raise the incoming Duck class to eight, a group that already featured two high jumpers and a pair of sprinters.

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