Cal Announces Track and Field Recruiting Class

June 4, 2003

BERKELEY -- Sixteen men and eight women have signed on to compete in track and field for the University of California, director of track and field Chris Huffins announced today.

'This recruiting class represents the beginning of a new era at the University of California,' said Huffins. 'It covers a broad scope of the sports of track and field in both genders. Our program has truly moved forward in the area of talent recognition and I look forward to the upcoming seasons and exploring this class' athletic excellence.'

Highlighting the incoming freshmen on the men's side are several state champions, school record holders and nationally ranked athletes.

Leading the hurdler group is Thomas Mack, from Bakersfield, Calif. Mack is the defending state champion in both the 110 and 300-meter hurdles. A product of Bakersfield High School, Mack was the 110m and 300m hurdles league and section champion and has clocked best times of 13.94 and 37.12 in those respective events. Mack was also an indoor All-American.

Craig Woods is another heralded hurdler from southern California. Woods competed at Compton's Dominguez High School where he recently won both hurdles events at the CIF Southern Section championships. A state leader in the 300m hurdles, he ran 14.08 and 37.42 in the 110m and 300m hurdles, respectively, for the fastest times in the state this year. Woods also won the hurdles events at the Arcadia Invitational and Mt. SAC Relays-two premier track and field events held in southern California.

Craig Gallimore, from Lake Braddock High School in Burke, Va., is a state champion in the 300m hurdles. He also earned an indoor state championship title in the 60m hurdles and was an indoor All-American. Gallimore has best times of 14.02 and 37.60 in the 110m and 300m hurdles, respectively.

Bjorgvin Vikingsson, from Reykjavik, Iceland, is a European Junior Championships finalist in the 400m hurdles. He is also the Icelandic junior record holder in that event with a time of 52.34.

Darren Woods, from Tacoma, Wash., was the Washington state champion in the 400m. An indoor All-American at Stadium High School, Woods was a Simplot Games champion and Arcadia Invitational finalist. He has an indoor time of 47.63 in the 400m.

Ben Karl, from Colorado Springs, Colo., took second in the 200m and third in the 100m at the Colorado state championship meet. He ran times of 10.59 and 21.39 in the 100m and 200m, respectively, at Palmer High School. Bryan Renshaw, from Newark, Calif., was a North Coast Section finalist and state meet qualifier in the 100m at Newark Memorial High School. Cal added an 800m runner in Tim Wallach, a local product from Bishop O'Dowd in Oakland. Wallach has a best time of 1:53.85 in the 800m and was a state meet finalist. David Torrance is a long distance runner from Loyola High School in Tarzana, Calif. Torrance has times of 4:11.52 in the 1600m and 9:05.12 in the 3200m and is ranked in the Top 10 in the state in both events. He was also a member of his school's cross country state championship team.

In the combined events, Huffins has pronounced Michael Rawlins as a multi-talented decathlete prospect. Rawlins, from Mt. Baker High School in Bellingham, Wash., has a time of 48.50 in the 400m and marks of 6-7 in the high jump and 22-11 in the long jump. Donny Appanaitis, from Palos Verdes, Calif., was a state leader and southern section champion in the pole vault. He is also the Loyola High School record holder in that event.

Cal also brought five strong throwers into the mix. Craig Kent, from Mead, Wash., was the state champion in both the shot put (62-4.75) and discus (185-9). The Central Valley High School student-athlete has only thrown for two years. John Ludden, from Harvard Westlake High School in Canoga Park, Calif., was an Arcadia Invitational finalist in both the shot put and discus. His personal bests are 59-4.5 and 177-10 in those respective events. Joe Perkins, a discus thrower from Vacaville, Calif., was the San Joaquin section champion in the discus and ranked 11th in the state in that event. His personal bests are 181-1 in the discus and 55-6 in the shot put. His discus PR is a Vacaville High School record. Zak Thomas, from South Kingston High School in Wakefield, R.I., ranked No. 2 in the nation in the weight throw (74-8.75) and No. 6 in the nation in the hammer throw (197-2). He was an indoor All-American and Rhode Island state champion. Another Rhode Island athlete, Andy Sinotte from Bishop Hendrickson High School, will compete for Cal in the javelin throw. Sinotte was ranked No. 5 in the javelin and is also a possible hammer thrower for the Golden Bears.

'Obviously we're very strong in the hurdles on the men's side and on the women's side we have bolstered our middle distance area a great deal,' said Huffins. 'I look forward to a major increase in point production in our combined events areas, and I am very excited to have a national high school record holder in the women's pole vault in the fold.'

The pole vaulter Huffins refers to is Kira Costa, who hails from Lemoore, Calif. She competed at San Joaquin Memorial High School where she was the national outdoor pole vault leader and Central Coast Section record holder and champion. Costa was named the 2002 Golden West Field Athlete of the Meet and was a 2002 Fresno Bee Academic All-Star selection. Costa's personal best in the pole vault is 13-4.75, and her personal best point total in the heptathlon is 4520.

Tiffany Johnson, a transfer from the University of Maryland, was an ACC finalist. Originally from El Sobrante, Calif., Johnson's has bests of 11.88 in the 100m, 24.72 in the 200m, 18-11 in the long jump and 38-11 in the triple jump. Crystal Griffin is a shot putter from Milton Hershey High School in Hershey, Pa. She took second place in the shot put at the Pennsylvania state championships meet.

Pippa MacDonald, Samantha Jones, Whitney Russell and Amanda Thornberry will aid the Bears in the middle distance and distance events. McDonald, a student-athlete from Punahoe Academy in Kailua, Hawaii, was a four-time state champion in the 800m. She has been ranked in the Top 10 in cross country for the past two years. McDonald was also an all-state selection for her school's state championship soccer team and is a national merit scholar. Her father, Duncan McDonald, was a miler at Stanford, a former U.S. national champion and American record holder in the 5000m and a 1976 Olympian. Jones, a local athlete out of Alhambra High School in Martinez, was a state qualifier in the 3200m. Russell was a league champion in the 1600m and ran 5:00.01 in that event as a sophomore at Hart High School in Newhall, Calif. Thornberry, from Valley Christian High School in San Jose, was ranked No. 1 in the state in the 1600m (4:49.43). She was also ranked in the Top 10 in the state in both the 800m and 3200m, as well. A young runner, she is a senior at 16 years old, Thornberry is expected to fit well into Cal's track and field system.

Cal also added two hurdlers to the women's class in Eghosa Isa and Danielle Povio. Isa, from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., was a league champion in the 100m hurdles, state finalist in the 4x100m relay and Arcadia Invitational finalist in both the 100m hurdles and 100m. Isa is also a possible prospect for the heptathlon. She owns best times of 11.9 in the 100m, 24.6 in the 200m, 57.1 in the 400m and 14.40 in the 100m hurdles. Povio, from Milpitas High School in Milpitas, Calif., was the CCS champion in the 300m hurdles and also an Arcadia Invitational finalist in that event. Huffins said that Povio should bolster an already strong long hurdles group.

'In this recruiting class we've included athletes from as far as Rhode Island and Hawaii in the United States and Iceland worldwide,' said Huffins. 'We have clearly moved our recruiting to a much more global perspective.'

Huffins added that, 'Performance is a product of athlete recruitment and athletic development and we feel that California's track and field program has made a giant leap forward in those two areas. Cal track and field has a new face, and the future of the sport and at this university looks bright.'

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