With the first season of Southwest Minnesota State track and field since 1993 on the horizon, Mustang head women's and men's cross country/track coach Nate Wolf announced Monday that 24 student-athletes have signed letters of intent to continue their careers at SMSU.
The recruiting class features athletes from seven states, including 10 from Minnesota, five from South Dakota, four from Iowa, two from Alaska and one each from Nebraska, Wisconsin and Texas. Nine of the athletes will compete in either women's cross country or track, and 15 will compete in men's cross country or track.
"I feel we have brought in a group that can be the foundation of what we want to accomplish as a program," Wolf said in a release. "It is a diverse group that has depth across the events. We looked for versatile athletes that were great students with solid character. I believe these athletes fit that profile. I look forward to seeing the impact that these students have on our campus and to working with them to maximize their abilities."
SMSU reinstated women's and men's cross country in June 2012 and competed during the fall season. Women's and men's track were reinstated over the winter and the teams will start competition during the 2013-14 season.
The school last sponsored men's track and field from 1969-86 and again from 1990-93. Women's track was last sponsored from 1972-86 and again from 1990-93.
The list of signees includes one student-athlete from Marshall-area school. Minneota graduate Amanda Grengs will run cross country and track at SMSU after finishing as a conference champion and all-state winner in cross country while competing for Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI. She finished 25th at the Minnesota Class A state cross country meet and has a personal best time of 15 minutes, 25 seconds in the 4,000 meters.
SMSU women's cross country and track signees:
Victoria Bensel, Eagle River, Alaska (Chuglak HS)
Will run track at SMSU ... two-year letterwinner ... personal best 13.44 in 100m, 28.74 in 200m and 60.04 in 400m.
Nya Buom, Lincoln, Neb. (Southwest HS)
Will participate in track and field at SMSU ... named 2010-11 female athlete of the year ... four-year letterwinner ... three-year state qualifier in track and field ... state qualifier in 2013 in 4x400m ... personal best 1:02.0 in 400m.
Amanda Grengs, Minneota (Minneota HS)
Will run cross country and track ... conference champion and all-state in cross country ... finished 25th at Minnesota Class A state cross country meet ... personal best 15:25 in 4k ... also member of conference champion relay team in 4x800m.
Alycia Hohenstein, Dassel (Dassel-Cokato HS)
2011 graduate of Dassel-Cokato ... will run track at SMSU ... five-year letterwinner ... personal best 13.1 in 100m ... personal best 28.3 in 200m ... spent two years at Ridgewater College, but did not compete.
Jaclyn Loban, Huron, S.D. (James Valley Christian HS)
Will compete in track and field at SMSU ... placed third at 2012 state meet in shot put ... set personal best 39-6.5 throw during senior season, also a school record ... all-conference performer in volleyball and basketball.
Samantha McNeel, Custer, S.D. (Custer HS)
Will compete in track at SMSU ... six-year letterwinner ... holds school record in long jump and 300m hurdles ... personal best 17-5.5 in long jump and 12.9 in 100m ... personal best 26.5 in 200m and 47.5 in 300m ... finished sixth in long jump at 2013 state meet ... state place winner for six years ... five year letterwinner in basketball.
Michaela Nordby, Odin (St. James HS)
Will run track at SMSU ... six-year letterwinner ... state participant ... tied conference and school record in 100m at 12.3 ... four-year letterwinner in tennis ... played in three state tournaments ... all-conference in both track and tennis ... also played basketball.
Chelsea Schlegel, Zimmerman (Elk River HS)
Will run both cross country and track at SMSU ... four-year letterwinner in both sports ... all-conference in both sports ... personal best 11:44.61 in 3,200m ... personal best 15:08.70 in 4,000m ... has been named most valuable athlete in both track and cross country ... member of section champion ... finished 26th at 2010 state Class AA cross country meet ... finished 42nd at state 2011 state Class AA cross country meet.
Paige Yi, Algona, Iowa (Algona HS)
Will run both cross country and track at SMSU ... four-year letterwinner in cross country and track ... state qualifier in both cross country and track ... state qualifier in 4x800, distance medley, 4x400 and 800m ... all-conference honoree ... holds school record in 800m at 2:20.9 ... personal best 15.46 in 4k ... personal best 1:00.54 in 400m.
SMSU men's cross country and track signees:
Trenton Draeger, Brownton (Glencoe-Silver Lake HS)
Will run track at SMSU ... four-year letterwinner in track ... all-conference honoree ... school record of 42-10.2 in triple jump ... personal best 21-22 in long jump ... member of two conference championship teams ... academic all-conference honoree ... also letterwinner in basketball.
Kelly Fitzsimmons, Sioux Falls, S.D. (Lincoln HS)
Will run both cross country and track at SMSU ... named all-state as a senior, placing 15th at state cross country meet ... member of 2012 state champion team ... five-year letterwinner ... team captain as senior ... personal best of 16:20 during senior season of cross country ... in track, personal best 53.0 in 400m, 4:33 in 1,600m, 2:00.52 in 800m and 16:29 in 5k.
Austin Handley, Madison, S.D. (Madison HS)
Will participate in cross country and track at SMSU ... finished seventh at state cross country meet as senior ... member of four cross country state championships ... member of track 2012 state championship team ... personal best 16:51 in 5k, finished third in 3,200m with 10:15 ... personal best of 4:37 in 1,600m.
Shawn Jensen, Winthrop (Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop)
Will compete in track at SMSU ... three-year letterwinner ... all-conference honoree ... two-time conference champion ... sub-section champion as senior ... personal best 141-9 in discus ... three-year letterwinner in football ... two-year letterwinner in basketball.
Matt Konrad, Estelline, S.D. (Estelline HS)
Will run track at SMSU ... five-year letterwinner ... personal best 11.0 in 100m ... ran 23.1 in 200m ... named team MVP in sprints as junior ... also letterwinner in football and basketball ... all-conference in football.
Christian Kveseth, Eagle River, Alaska (Chugiak HS)
Will run both cross country and track at SMSU ... four-year letterwinner in both track and cross country ... region IV champion in 200m, 400m and 800m ... state champion as a senior in the 400m and 800m runner-up ... named most valuable athlete as a senior ... member of 4x400m relay state champions in 2012 ... finished fourth at state meet in 400m in 2012 ... in track, personal best 50.0 in 400m and 1:58.31 in 800m ... in cross country, personal best 10:10.1 in 3k and 15:35.4 in 4,500m.
Austin LaFollette, Edgerton (Edgerton HS)
Will run track at SMSU ... holds school record for 300m hurdles and 110m hurdles ... conference champion and section runner-up in 110m hurdles ... 300m hurdles conference champion in 2012 ... finished ninth in 300m hurdles at state meet in 2012 ... personal best 40.68 in 300m hurdles ... 16.36 in 100m hurdles ... 17-7 in long jump ... also in football and basketball ... four-year letterwinner in football ... honorable mention all-conference ... member of 2011 state championship team ... team captain in basketball.
OJ Ojullu, Worthington (Worthington HS/North Iowa Area CC)
Spent two seasons at North Iowa Area Community College ... will run both cross country and track at SMSU ... at NIACC, was member of 4x400 relay team that competed at 2013 Drake Relays, becoming first NIACC runners to compete at Drake ... personal best 1:57.60 in 800m ... personal best 52.83 in 400m ... 2011 graduate of Worthington HS ... two-time team MVP in cross country ... also named most improved in track ... two-time all-state ... member of 4x400 relay team that won state championship ... member of 1,600m relay team that set school record ... personal best 1:56.37 in 800m in high school.
Alejandro Sanchez, Plano, Texas (Plano East HS/Waldorf College)
Spent 2012-13 season at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa ... will run cross country and track at SMSU ... will have three years of eligibility remaining in cross country and four in track at SMSU ... was named MCAC Freshman of the Year and all-conference in 2012 ... finished third at the MCAC championship with time of 27:15 ... recorded time of 28.23 at NAIA nationals ... 2012 graduate of Plano East HS ... was district champion in 800m ... personal best 1:54 in 800m, 4:20 in mile, 16:12 in 5k and 27.12 in 8k.
Jay Schneider, Mequon, Wis.
Will run track at SMSU ... will also play football at SMSU ... four-time state track medalist ... finished eighth at Wisconsin state meet as a senior with time of 22.01 in 200m ... finished fifth at state meet in 400m with 49.41 ... personal bests include school record of 6.63 in 55m, 10.98 in 100m ... personal best 22.01 in 200m ... long jump personal best of 22-6 ... in football, two-time all-conference ... all-region ... member of 2012 Division 2 state championship team ... three-year letterwinner ... rushed for 875 yards as senior ... also caught 20 passes for 333 yards ... finished season with 19 touchdowns ... named team and special teams player of the year ... also in swimming.
Brock Schultz, Rockwell, Iowa (Westfork HS/North Iowa Area CC)
Spent two seasons at North Iowa Area Community College ... will run track at SMSU ... at NIACC, member of indoor 4x400 relay team that set school record at 2013 NJCAA nationals ... member of outdoor 4x400 relay team that competed at NJCAA nationals ... 2011 graduate of Westfork HS ... three-year letterwinner in cross country and track ... all-conference honoree.
Trent Smith, Charles City, Iowa (Charles City HS/North Iowa Area CC)
Spent two seasons at North Iowa Area Community College ... will run cross country and track at SMSU ... 2011 graduate of Charles City HS ... four-year letterwinner and three-time all-conference in cross country ... all-state in cross country ... three-time all-conference and three-year letterwinner in track ... at NIACC, two-year all-region ... honorable mention All-American ... placed fourth at 2012 NJCAA indoor national championships in 5k with time of 15:19 ... placed fifth at 2013 NJCAA indoor national championships in 5k ... holds NIACC records in cross country 5k, indoor 3k and outdoor 10k ... personal best 14:58 in 5k, 8:44 in 3k and 32:29 in 10k.
Ryan Spiegel, Underwood, Iowa (Underwood HS)
Will run track at SMSU ... four-year letterwinner ... four-time state qualifier ... all-state ... conference champion and personal best 14.77 in 100m hurdles ... placed fourth at state meet in 110m hurdles as senior ... selected to run for Team Iowa at the Senior All-Star Spotlight meet in Illinois ... three-year letterwinner in football and basketball ... first team all-district in football ... all-conference honorable mention and second team all-conference in basketball.
Alex Weis, Luverne (Luverne HS)
Will participate in track and field at SMSU ... all-conference in shot put ... qualified for state in shot put, discus and 4x100 ... finished eighth in discus ... personal best 51-2.5 in shot put, 148-9 in discus, 16.78 in 110m hurdles and 46.05 in 300m hurdles ... three-time letterwinner in football and basketball ... all-conference ... all-area ... conference defensive lineman of the year.
Blake Wooten, New Prague (New Prague HS)
WIll run both cross country and track at SMSU ... two-time team captain ... all-conference honoree ... has earned most outstanding athlete award three times in cross country and track ... in cross country, personal best 9:54 in 3,200m, 16:40 in 5k ... in track, personal best 23.7 in 200m, 2:00 in 800m ... also letterwinner in basketball.
Information provided by SMSU Athletics