Card Signs 16
STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford strengthened its cross country and track and field programs with a fall signing class of 16, as announced by J.J. Clark, Stanford's Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track and Field.
Women who signed National Letters of Intent are: Brandy Atuatasi (Santee, Calif./West Hills HS), Audrey DaDamio (Bloomfield Village, Mich./Seaholm HS), Kaiah Fisher (Applegate, Ore./Hidden Valley HS), Imogen Gardiner (Sydney, Australia/Pymble Ladies' College), Taylor James (Erie, Colo./Niwot HS), Camille Peisner (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian HS), Trinity Price (Buford, Ga./Buford HS), Tess Stapleton (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Ludlowe HS), Audrey Suarez (Pasadena, Calif./Mayfield Senior School), and Teagan Zwaanstra (Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge HS).
Men's signees are: Robert DiDonato (Wyndmoor, Pa./Germantown Academy), John Lester (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley HS), Udodi Onwuzurike (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Brother Rice HS), Galen Topper (Redwood City, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep), Nolan Topper (Redwood City, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep), James Wright (Temecula, Calif./Great Oak HS).
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Brandy Atuatasi (Santee, Calif./West Hills HS)
Personal bests: Shot put – 45-1 1/2 (13.75m); Discus – 141-4 1/2 (43.08m)
As a sophomore, Brandy Atuatasi won the 2019 CIF-San Diego Section title with a put of 43-7 (12.28m), qualifying for the California State Meet, in which she placed 15th. In winning the Dick Wilkins Frosh-Soph Invitational, she set her best of 45-1 ½ (13.75m), which ranks No. 6 all-time in San Diego Section history.
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Audrey DaDamio (Bloomfield Village, Mich./Seaholm HS)
Personal bests: 1,600 – 4:52.10; Mile – 4:55.30; 3,000 – 10:04.31; 3,200 – 10:24.78
Audrey DaDamio is the 2020 Michigan Division I cross country champion and state Meet of Champions winner. She was fifth overall at the AAU national cross country championships (15-18 age group) last week with the No. 6 high school time ever recorded at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida. She is the Michigan Indoor Track Series state meet record holder in the 3,200 meters (10:24.78) and has won six regional and three Oakland County titles in track and cross country. DaDamio is the granddaughter of Olympic speed skating champion Terry McDermott and sister of Notre Dame distance All-American Rachel DaDamio.
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Robert DiDonato (Wyndmoor, Pa./Germantown Academy)
Personal bests: 5,000 – 14:25.40; Mile – 4:15.78; 3,200 – 9:15.73
Robert DiDonato ran the second-fastest 5,000 in Pennsylvania high school track history with a 14:25.40 in October in a race with one other competitor. The time was the fastest among preps in the U.S. at the time and now is No. 2. He was a Foot Locker national cross country finalist in 2019, placing 31st, and won the New Balance Games indoor mile in 4:15.78, No. 2 in Pennsylvania and No. 15 in the country. DiDonato won two Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association cross country titles and swept the distances (800, 1,600, 3,200) at the 2019 Inter-Academic League Championships as a sophomore, in his most recent scholastic outdoor season. Rated as the No. 50 national boys' recruit by MileSplit.
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Kaiah Fisher (Applegate, Ore./Hidden Valley HS)
Personal bests: Discus – 148-1 (45.13m); Shot put – 45-6 1/2 (13.88m)
Kaiah Fisher was second in the Oregon Class 4A state meet in the shot put and discus as a sophomore after placing third in the shot as a freshman and setting a state 4A class record. She is a two-time Skyline Conference shot put champ. Fisher was a 2019 USATF Junior Olympic national qualifier (17-18) in both events, placing ninth in each. An outstanding athlete, Fisher was all-state first-team in basketball and soccer, earning Skyline Conference Player of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year, respectively. She helped Hidden Valley to the 2018 4A state soccer title and in basketball, averaged a double-double for her high school career.
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Imogen Gardiner (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia/Pymble Ladies' College)
Personal bests: Mile – 4:39.23; 1,500 – 4:20.34; 800 – 2:09.08; 3,000 – 9:38.24
Imogen Gardiner is in top form, running 4:39.23 to place third against mostly university competitors in the Albie Thomas Mile in Georges Hall, Australia, on Dec. 19, 2020. She had a stellar season from December 2019 through February 2020, winning the 1,500 at the Australia and Oceania under-18 championship meets, and swept the 1,500 and 3,000 at the Australian All-Schools Championships. She capped that stretch with a big 1,500 personal best at the Sydney Track Classic, running 4:20.34. At the 2017 International School Sports Federation Championships in Nancy, France, Gardiner won the 800 – she has a best of 2:09.08 -- and helped Australia to the team title. She was second in the 1,500 at the 2019 ISF Championships in Split, Croatia. Gardiner follows two-time NCAA javelin champ Mackenzie Little from Pymble Ladies' College to Stanford.
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Taylor James (Erie, Colo./Niwot HS)
Personal bests: 800 – 2:05.83; 400 – 54.25; Mile – 4:49.75; 200 – 24.76; High jump – 5-8 1/4 (1.73m)
Taylor James, the 2020 Gatorade Colorado Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year, has outstanding range, from 100 to 5K. The 2019 Colorado 4A Girls Athlete of the Year, James broke the 4A state meet record in the 800 held by Stanford's Elise Cranny. She clocked her best, 2:05.83, in winning the Music City Distance Carnival in Memphis, Tenn. James was a four-time 4A champion at the 2019 state meet, winning the 200, 400, 800, and 4x400 at the 2019 state meet, repeating in the 800. In cross country, James was the runner-up at the 4A State Championships while helping Niwot to the title, and capped her sophomore campaign with 35th at Nike Cross Nationals. James was selected by the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation to compete with seven other Americans in the Reykjavík (Iceland) International Games, winning silver in the 800 on Feb. 2. James is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Czech Republic. Grandmother Jana Veverkova (200, 4x100) and grandfather Zdenek Veverka (triple jump) were Czech record-holders. James is rated as the No. 28 national girls' recruit by MileSplit.
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John Lester (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley HS)
Personal bests: 800 – 1:48.26; Mile – 4:06.97
John Lester ran one of the fastest high school 800's in history on June 13. Lester's 1:48.26 at the Desert Dream Last Hurrah Invitational in San Tan Valley, Arizona, placed him No. 7 on the all-time California performers' list, was the third-fastest ever nationally by a junior, and No. 3 in North Coast Section history. Despite a season disrupted by the pandemic, Lester dropped his best 1,600 time by 24 seconds, to 4:05.46. Lester was the highest-placing sophomore at the 2019 California State Meet, in seventh. In the prelims of the same meet, Lester rolled off a 48.6 split in the 4x400 relay to help the Dons reach the final. Lester was the 2019 NCS Meet of Champions and NCS Tri-Valley Area 800 champion. Rated as the No. 6 national boys' recruit by MileSplit.
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Udodi Onwuzurike (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Brother Rice HS)
Personal bests: 100 – 10.60; 200 – 21.12; 60 – 6.84
Udodi Onwuzurike brings another dimension to the Cardinal sprints corps. Onwuzurike snagged two personal bests on July 12 while sweeping the 100 (10.60) and 200 (21.12) at the West Coast AAU Junior Olympics in Las Vegas, at his first outdoor meet in 11 months. Onwuzurike is ranked as the No. 13 recruit nationally in the class of 2021. Indoors, Onwuzurike had the nation's No. 13 time in the 200 (21.15) and was Michigan runner-up in the 60 with a best of 6.84. He aspires to compete for the Nigerian Olympic team. Brother, Chiebuka, is a sprinter for Boston University. Udodi was a middle school teammate with fellow signee Audrey DaDamio.
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Camille Peisner (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian HS)
Personal bests: 200 – 24.08; 400 – 54.31; 100 – 12.21
Camille Peisner set personal bests in the 200 and 400 at the 2019 Colorado state 5A Championships. Peisner was second in the 400 in 54.31 and third in the 200 in 24.08 as a sophomore. She also was on the winning 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams to give Valor Christian a huge boost on the way to capturing the team championship. Peisner was second in the 100 at the AAU Junior Olympics in 12.37 on Aug. 6, after capturing the West Coast AAU title in the same event in July.
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Trinity Price (Buford, Ga./Buford HS)
Personal bests: 100 – 11.98; 200 – 23.58; 400 – 53.76; 60 – 7.55
Trinity Price had a strong 2020 indoor season with U.S. top 10 performances in the 200 (No. 8) and 400 (No. 4). She is No. 11 on MileSplit's top 50 recruits for the class of 2021. Price took third in the 400 and fourth in 200 at the 2019 Georgia 5A Championships as a sophomore. She also ran legs on Buford's winning 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams, helping the Wolves to the state title. Price ran her 400 best of 53.76 to win her second AAU National Club championship in that event and captured the 200 title at the same 2019 meet. This year, Price ran 23.99 in the 200 to win the Simplot Games and 54.34 in the 400 to win the Music City Invitational. Price will reunite with her former Buford teammate, Alexa Rossum, at Stanford.
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Tess Stapleton (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Ludlowe HS)
Personal bests: Long jump -- 19-8 1/4 (6.00m); 100 hurdles – 14.10
Tess Stapleton was Connecticut's 2020 Gatorade Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year, winning the 55 hurdles (7.88) and long jump (19-6 1/2) at the New England High School Indoor Championships. She set her long jump best of 19-8 ¼ (6.00m) on Nov. 22, 2020. Her hurdles time ranked as the nation's No. 4 performance of the year and broke her own state record. Stapleton's long jump effort tied for No. 6 in the country this year. Stapleton also won both events at the Class LL indoor and the State Open championships. In 2019, Stapleton won both the long jump and the 100 hurdles outdoors at the State Open. Stapleton is co-founder of the "Songs for Smiles" troupe, which performs musical shows for special needs groups around Fairfield. Rated as the No. 17 national girls' recruit by MileSplit.
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Audrey Suarez (Pasadena, Calif./Mayfield Senior School)
Personal bests: 800 – 2:11.16; 1,500 – 4:32.26; 1,600 – 4:45.00; 3,200 – 10:29.58
Audrey Suarez was the 2018 California State Division IV cross country champion and was third in 2019. On the track, she took third in the 1,600 at the 2019 State Meet as a sophomore, in a best of 4:45.00, after winning the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet in 4:45.04. Suarez also was the CIF-Southern Section Division IV 800 champ in 2:11.16 and placed third in the Adidas Boost Boston Games Dream Mile. As a freshman, she became the first Mayfield athlete ever to qualify for the State Meet, placing fifth in the 1,600, and was a Foot Locker national cross country finalist, placing 30th. Suarez is a three-time Prep League Runner of the Year.
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Galen Topper (Redwood City, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep)
Personal bests: 1,600 – 4:25.95; 3,200 – 9:30.31
Galen Topper and twin Nolan come to Stanford from San Jose's Bellarmine College Prep, a local cross country power that also produced current Cardinal runner Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau. Galen was eighth at the Desert Twilight Festival XC (unattached/club sweepstakes) in Queen Creek, Ariz., this fall, running 15:14.90 for 5K. He helped Bellarmine to the team-time course record at venerable Crystal Springs in Belmont, placing eighth as the Bells captured the 2019 Central Coast Section Division I title. The Bells went on to place third in the California state Div. I championship with Topper placing 25th.
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Nolan Topper (Redwood City, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep)
Personal bests: 3,200 – 9:09.89; 1,600 – 4:24.11; Mile – 4:25.85
Nolan Topper joins his twin Galen in this Stanford recruiting class. Nolan was a 2019 Foot Locker national cross country finalist, placing 30th after taking seventh in the West Regional. Topper was 10th at the California State Meet, placing 10th in the 3,200 as a sophomore in 9:09.89, placing third in the Central Coast Section to qualify. In cross country, Topper helped Bellarmine to the 2019 CCS Division I title and a team-time course record at Crystal Springs in Belmont, and to third in the State Division I race, placing sixth as an individual. At the Desert Twilight Festival XC in Arizona last fall, Nolan placed seventh in the unattached/club sweepstakes race, running 15:13.17 for 5K. Sons of an ultramarathoner father, the Toppers were coached in middle school by former Stanford star and former women's head cross country coach Dena Dey Evans.
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James Wright (Temecula, Calif./Great Oak HS)
Personal bests: Hammer (12 lb.) – 192-9 (58.75m); Shot put (12 lb.) 54-7 ½ (16.64m); Discus (1.6 kg.) -- 165-3 ¾ (50.37m); Weight throw (35 lb.) -- 63-6 (19.35m)
James Wright was third at the 2019 USATF National Junior Olympic Championships in the hammer, throwing a best of 178-9 (54.48m). His 2020 personal best of 192-9 (58.75m) was the No. 19 in the country for 2020. Won the 2019 California State Games in the hammer and discus. One of only two throwers to rank top-5 in the sophomore class in two events in 2019. Set his shot put best of 54-7 ½ (16.64m) at a March 2020 meet a week before the pandemic shutdown. Won the Inland Empire championship in the shot put and discus as a sophomore in 2019. Took seventh at the 2019 CIF-Southern Section Division I meet in the discus. Wright has 3.5 million followers on TikTok.
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Teagan Zwaanstra (Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge HS)
Personal bests: Long jump – 19-7 (5.96m); 100 – 11.76; 60 – 7.58; Triple jump – 37-4 ½ (11.39m)
Teagan Zwaanstra ran 11.76 to place third in the 100 at the Colorado State 5A Championships as a sophomore in 2019 and was third in the long jump. At the 2020 Great Southwest Indoor Classic, Zwaanstra won the long jump with a best of 19-7 (5.96m) and was third in the 60 with a best of 7.58.
She won both the 100 and long jump at the 2018 and 2019 USATF Region 10 Junior Olympic Championships. Zwaanstra won Continental League titles in both events, plus the triple jump in 2018, in consecutive years. Rated as the No. 34 national girls' recruit by MileSplit.