Cal Inks 10 Top Track & Field Athletes to Letters of Intent

Nov. 29, 2004

BERKELEY, Calif. - The California track & field program has signed ten top high school seniors to national letters of intent during the fall signing period, track & field director Chris Huffins announced today. The class is comprised of seven men and three women and includes four out-of-state students.

The women's class is headlined by Inika McPherson of Memorial High School in Port Arthur, Texas. McPherson enters her senior year as the one of the top high school high jumpers in the U.S. (PR 6-0). McPherson, both a Track & Field News High School All-American in 2004 and a USATF Verizon Junior All-American, is tied for sixth all-time in the Texas High School record books. She was also a 2004 IAAF Word Junior Championships finalist in the high jump for Team USA. As a junior, McPherson was the Adidas High School National Outdoor Champion in the high jump and finished second at the USATF Junior National Championships and third at 5A Texas State Track Championships. McPherson was the Texas 5A State Champion in the event as a freshman.

McPherson is joined by North Carolina native MacKenzie Pierce and Californian Kristin Holmes. Pierce, of Forsyth Country Day in Pfafftown, N.C., is one of the top middle distance high school runners in the United States (PR 55.44, 400m; 2:06.62, 800m; 4:58.4, mile). She was a Track & Field News All-American in both 2003 and 2004 in the 800 meter run. As a junior, Pierce was the North Carolina State Champion in the 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters, and 1600 meters. She was second in the 800 meters at Nike Indoor Championships and fifth in the high school girls' mile race at Penn Relays. Perhaps most impressively, the versatile Pierce was the only high school athlete ranked in the U.S. in each of the 400 meters, 800 meters, and mile events. As a sophomore, Pierce was the North Carolina State Champion in the 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters, and 1600 meters. Holmes, of Pomona, Calif., is among the top high school long jumpers in the country (PR 19-5). As a junior at Claremont High School, Holmes finished fifth at USATF Junior Olympics and sixth at California State Championships in the long jump.

The men bring solid credentials to Cal as well, starting with Yosef Ghebray, a local from James Logan High School in Union City, Calif. Yosef's brother Giliat is the top distance runner for the Golden Bears and their older brother, Bisrat, also graduated from Cal. Ghebray (PR 4:12.39, 1600m; 8:52.41, 3200m) was the California State Champion in the 3200 meters and in Division II Cross Country as a junior while leading Logan High to its first-ever California State Championship.

Mark Matusak, Jake Schmitt, and Matthew Miller add strength in the distance events. Matusak (PR 4:11, 1600m; 9:04, 3200m) and Miller (PR 4:24, 1600m) are both from Loyola Prep High School, where they helped lead the school to a cross country state championship as freshmen in 2002 and as juniors in 2004. Matusak was the California State Champion in the 1600 meters and in Division II Cross Country. The Torrance, Calif., native finished 22nd at Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships. Schmitt (PR 4:15.25, 1600m; 9:10.10, 3200m), of Redwood High School, was the California Division III champion in cross country this year and also won the Division III cross country title at the Mt. SAC Invitational. Schmitt, of Kentfield, Calif., boasts Cal lineage as both his parents were distance runners at Cal.

The men's class is rounded out by javelin thrower Ryan Young, hurdler/long jumper Jake Hanson, and hurdler Jordan Paul. Young, a native of Poulsbo, Wash., enters his senior year ranked among the top ten high school javelin throwers in the country (PR 203-6). As a junior at North Kitsap High School, Young was the Washington 4A State Champion in the javelin. Hanson, another Washington state native from Yelm, was the Washington 3A State Champion in the Long Jump, 110 meter hurdles, and 300 meter hurdles last year (PR 14.25, 100mH; 37.37, 300mH. As a junior at Yelm High School, Hanson also won the 110 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles at the Oregon-Washington Meet of Champions. As a sophomore, he was second in the 100 meters at the Washington 3A State Championships. Paul (PR 14.34 110HH), a Los Angeles native from Loyala High School, finished eighth in the 110 meter high hurdles at California State Championships last year -- his first year running track.