UCR adds track athletes

(July 7, 2008) – UC Riverside Track & Field Coach Irv Ray announced today the signing of 18 track and field recruits that will make up the recruiting class for 2008-09. “This is our finest recruiting class in our 5 years of building this Division I program,” said Ray. “(Assistant coaches) Browne and Basler have done an outstanding job in recruiting an excellent class of student athletes who will represent UCR with excellence in both the class room and on the track.”

Women’s Track & Field Recruits

Amy Cordisco – Skyline HS – Oakland, CA
CIF Oakland Section champion this year at 3200m. She owns personal bests of 11:14 and 5:21 for the 3200m and 1600m races. “Amy will be a solid addition to the team. She comes in knowing her best events at this level will be the 5k and 10k. This will allow her transition to come easier as she is ready and willing to step up her racing distances.”

Karen Han – Arcadia HS – Arcadia, CA
Pacific League champion in the high jump and made it all the way to the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet. Her best marks are 5′ 7″ in the high jump, 37′ 9″ in the triple jump and 12.67 in the 100m. “Karen fills a glaring need for us in her primary event, the high jump. She’ll also be a factor in the triple jump as she learns that event as she has only done it a handful of time. We are excited about what she brings to the table.”

Yozmine Modeste – Scripps Ranch HS – San Diego, CA
State qualifier in the 400m out of the San Diego Section. She trimmed her 400m best down to 57.60 this year at the San Diego Section Finals to qualify for State. “Yozmine has a great personality and a strong desire to continue her improvement in track. She is just starting to scratch the surface on what she can accomplish in this sport. She also runs the 200m and will add to our 400m depth from last year.”

Chinwe Oniah – Skyline HS – Oakland, CA
CIF State Championships qualifier in the high jump and triple jump. This was after being the Oakland Section champ in both events. Her best marks are 39′ 1″ in the triple jump, 5′ 1″ in the high jump, 17′ 6″ in the long jump, 12.5 in the 100m and 25.5 for the 200m. “Chinwe is the total package. She is intelligent and has the athletic abilities to boot. She will do a lot of different events for us focusing primarily on the jumps and sprints. Coach Cooks (Skyline HS coach) has done an excellent job of getting her prepared for our program.”

Brittany Reimer – La Quinta, HS – La Quinta, CA
CIF Southern Section Prelims qualifier in four events after being Desert Valley League champion in the 800m, 1600m, 3200, and 4x400m relay. Has run 2:21 for 800m, 5:08 for 1600m, 11:24 for 3200m and completed a road 5k in 18:22. “Brittany is a conscientious student and also has that mindset about her training. She is looking forward to being part of a team that can push her. Her marks will continue to drop during her Highlander career.”

Jessica Soltysiak – Otay Ranch HS – Chula Vista, CA
CIF San Diego Section finalist. Jessica played basketball for years and brings that athleticism to the throws. She comes in with marks of 131′ 0″ in the discus and 37′ 2″ in the shot put. “Jessica will headline the next generation of throwers for Coach Rica Bush (UCR Throws Coach). Her marks are comparable with where other athletes came in as a freshman that Coach Bush developed into NCAA Regional qualifiers and Big West conference scorers. This bodes well for the type of improvement Jessica will see with continued dedication and focus.”

Reanne Swafford – Chaparral HS – Temecula, CA
Scholar athlete from the Murrieta/Temecula area. Her best marks are 25.9 for the 200m and 58.7 for the 400m. “Reanne is a stellar student and has expressed a desire to move up to the 800m distance. Her speed at the shorter distances suggests she can be a factor in the conference at 800m. We need someone to help fill the space left by two seniors and Reanne looks to be one of them.”

Diahann Williams – Templeton HS – Templeton, CA
CIF Southern Section Masters qualifier. Diahann played volleyball and soccer in addition to having her stellar track career. She has the ability to do the triple and long jump at a high level as well as the short sprint events. Her triple best is 38′ 8″, long jump is 18′ 4″, 100m is 12.2 and 400m is 58.6. “Diahann is an athlete! This is what her father and Coach Steve informed me at a meet. After watching her compete I agree. Her ability is untapped at this point. She will be a point scorer right away for our team. There is no question that she can help our sprints group as well.”

Men’s Track & Field Recruits

Conor Burton – Loyola HS – Los Angeles, CA
CIF Southern Section Prelims qualifier. Conor is new to the sport of track & field having played basketball for a number of years. He comes from the storied Loyola HS program which has produced many solid collegiate athletes. His personal bests are 51.2 for the 400m, 1:56.2 for the 800m and 4:30 for the 1600m. “Conor comes from a great family and has a tremendous desire to improve and run fast. His background as a basketball player and long lanky physique makes him primed and ready for the 800m races in college. This guy will improve by leaps and bounds.”

Steven Crum – Santiago HS – Corona, CA
First Team All State in XC and All CIF Southern Section in XC as well. Steven has run a very fine 15:29 for 5k on the Woodward Park State Meet cross country course. Also has a 15:01 Mt. Sac time to his credit, 9:23 for 3200m and 15:13 for a flat 5k. “Steven is a workhorse – enough said. He is the most ready distance runner to contribute to our program at this level. He wants to run the 5k and 10k in college and has the ability, stamina and desire to make it happen.”

Sean Ferrara – Claremont HS – Claremont, CA
CIF Southern Section Finalist in three events – the 400m, 300m hurdles and the 4x400m relay. Sean was the Baseline League Champ in the 400m, 300m hurdles and the triple jump and was named the Claremont HS Athlete of the Year. His best marks include 39.28 for the 300m hurdles, 49.43 for the 400m and a 45′ 0″ triple jump. He is a younger brother to UCR basketball alum Mike Ferrara. “Sean has tremendous potential. He’s athletically gifted enough to do several events well. He will be a contributor over the hurdles and on the 1600m relay right out of the gate. Although he comes from an athletic family, I’m confident Sean will make a name for himself.”

Reginal Jackson – San Gorgonio HS – Highland, CA
CIF Southern Section Masters qualifier in the high jump after finishing as the runner up in Southern Section Division 1 Finals in that event. He also qualified for the CIF Finals in the 110m high hurdles and was the San Andreas League titlist in the high jump. His best marks are 6′ 10″ in the high jump, 14.94 in the 110m hurdles and 46′ 8″ in the tripe jump. “We are thrilled to have Reggie as a part of our program. He turned down full scholarship offers to play football because of his love for track & field. This guy can get up high – he’ll challenge the school record in the high jump before he graduates. His height and explosiveness will make his transition to college hurdle height (39″ to 42″) much simpler.”

Talal Khan – Valencia HS – Placentia, CA
CIF State qualifier in the 1600m and the State XC Championships. He was also the CIF Southern Section Champ for Division 2 at 1600m. Talal was the Empire League Champion at 4 events this year 800m, 1600m, 3200m, 4x400m relay. Talal sports personal bests of 1:55, 4:13 ,9:21 ,15:30 for the 800m, 1600m, 3200m and 5k XC race distances respectively. “He has all the tools to be a mainstay on our team for the next four years. Talal is driven to run with the best. He comes from great coaching and a strong program that does similar work to what we do at UCR. Coach Pat Hadley has done a fine job molding Talal into a great prospect.”

Jerome Rideaux – Roosevelt HS – Corona, CA
CIF Masters qualifier as the leadoff man on Roosevelt HS school record setting 4x400m relay. Fine student who boasts track bests of 22.3 for the 200m, 49.5 for the 400m and 21′ 8″ in the long jump. “Jerome comes with high recommendation from his high school Coach Grace Margain. He has some incredible turnover and will challenge for a spot on the 4x100m and 4x400m relays right out of the gate.”

Travis Smith – Clovis West HS – Clovis, CA
CIF Central Section Finalist in the throws. Travis hails from the renowned Clovis West program where he played football and did both the shot and discus at a high level. His farthest throws are 52′ 7″ in the shot put and 160′ 10″ in the discus. “Travis is a big, strong kid already. It’s just a matter of time before Coach Rica Bush has him at the top of the Big West conference in the throws. He was coached by his father who did an excellent job preparing him for this step.”

Ryan Swafford Jr. – Vista Murrieta HS – Murrieta, CA
This combo triple, long and high jumper was the 2008 California State Runner Up in the triple jump after being taking 5th in 2007 in that event. He has bests of 49′ 1″ in the triple jump, 23′ 0″ in the long jump, and 6′ 8″ in the high jump. “Ryan is our most explosive recruit because he can do all three jumping events well. He has the ability to do three events really well and will excel as a collegiate triple jumper. He’s only been doing track for three years so his potential is enormous. He comes from one of the largest and best programs in this area in Vista Murrieta HS. We were fortunate to sign Ryan as many other top end programs were after his services.”

Shane Tucker – El Toro HS – Lake Forest, CA
CIF Masters qualifier after being the CIF Southern Sections Division 1 runner up in the discus throw. Shane is also a solid performer in the shot put. His discus best is 166′ 0″ and he has thrown 51′ 3″ in the shot put. “Shane is an honor student in the classroom and is downright explosive on the field. His lifts and foot speed are on par with collegiate level hammer throwers already. He’ll get the chance to try the different throws but I’d bet he’ll be a dominant hammer and discus thrower on this level.”

Brett Valencia – Los Osos HS – Rancho Cucamonga, CA
CIF Southern Section Prelims qualifier after winning both the 800m and the 1600m at the Baseline League Finals. He was also the Baseline Champion in XC and was ranked in the Top 3 in San Bernardino County during the XC season. His best mark in the 1600m is 4:19 and he also ran 14:56 for a three-mile XC race. “Brett is fairly new to the sport – only two years of competitive running. He is barely getting started and will make some remarkable improvement because he is a student of the sport. He comes from a great family which includes a supportive environment, making for an easier transition to collegiate athletics.”