Head Track Coach Art Venegas Announces the Signing of Three Athletes to NLI's

April 25, 2005

UCLA Men's Track and Field Head Coach Art Venegas announced the signing of three student-athletes to National Letters-of-Intent on Friday: distance runner Laef Barnes (Spokane Mead HS, Washington), and sprinters Elijah Wells (Taft HS, Woodland Hills, CA) and Garland West, III (Cypress HS/Cypress, CA) will begin their UCLA careers in the fall as freshmen.

Barnes is one of the top prep distance runners in the nation and comes to Westwood with very impressive times and honors. In 2003, at the Washington State Meet, Barnes placed third in the 3200m and fourth in the 1600m. He could not compete in the 2004 Washington State Meet due to a leg injury, but has returned at full strength this season. Last Fall, in his senior cross country season, Barnes led his team at the Nike Team National Cross Country Championships to a third place finish, placing sixth overall individually. During the indoor season, Barnes won the Boston Indoor Games Mile in a time of 4:12, beating a national class prep field.

Barnes has personal-bests of 4:09.14 in the mile (converts to a 4:07.7 1600m), 8:28 in the 3000m and 1:53.6 in the 800m. At Arcadia (4/9), Barnes ran a personal-best 9:03.13 in the two mile, placing third overall.

West comes to Westwood as one of the top California State 100m returners. Dyestat.com projects West as a First-Team All-State honoree in the 100m after a solid junior campaign. Last season, West placed third at the Masters Meet with a personal-best time of 10.66 and has a wind-aided best of 10.59. At the Arcadia Invitational (4/9), West placed third in his heat of the 100m in a time of 10.76.

Wells hails from Taft High School in Woodland Hills and is one of California's top sprinters this season. Dyestat.com lists Wells as a preseason first-team all-state runner in the 200m and 400m. Wells has top times of 21.56 in the 200m and 47.5 in the 400m. He holds the sixth fastest 200m and fifth fastest 400m returning times in the State.

Barnes, West and Wells join Kevin Craddock (James Logan HS) and Alexander Pearlstone (Sir Francis Drake HS) as future Bruins. Both Craddock and Pearlstone signed NLI's during the fall signing period.

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