Aug. 8, 2014
AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn track and field head coach Ralph Spry announced the signing of eight student-athletes for the 2015 season.
"I really felt last year we had a lot things line up for our young team, which is a big deal for us, because that is our foundation for this upcoming year," Spry said. "The incoming freshmen we have and the transfers we have is one of the best we have had since I have been here. When you talk about the potential of this class, we have a couple who are in the top-10 in the world as juniors. You are talking about the best recruits on the planet. They are going to come in and have a direct impact right away. This is one of the best classes we have had and that is directly attributed to our coaching staff. We put some energy in different groups and we are ready to get back in business."
Thrower Sven Martin Skagestad, jumper Shawn Johnson, sprinter Travis Johnson and distance runner Wesley Pectol highlight the 2015 men's class.
Norwegian thrower Sven Martin Skagestad will join the Tigers in January and is coming off a third place finish at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene, Ore. Skagestad held the world's longest throw in the discus among juniors before the World Junior Championships with a throw of 215-5/65.65m.
The Tigers inked one of the top in-state sprinters in Travis Johnson. A Prattville native, Johnson was runner-up in the 100m 6A State Championships and placed third in the 200m at 21.49. Johnson ran a 10.56 in the 100m, which ranks as the state's third fastest time and 45th nationally.
Hailing from Greeneville, Tenn., Wesley Pectol posted the nation's seventh-fastest time and Tennessee's fastest time in the mile at 4:05.25 at the adidas Grand Prix. Pectol claimed individual state championships in the 800m, mile, and 3200m at the 2013 Tennessee Division I A-AA Championships. During the 2013 cross country season, Pectol was the individual state champion with a time of 15:36.79.
Spry also announced the addition of junior college transfer Shawn Johnson from South Plains College. Johnson, who will have two years of eligibility, was runner-up in the high jump at the NJCAA Division I National Championships with a clearance of 7-1.75/2.18m. The Pittsburgh, Pa., native also finished third at the NJCAA National Championships in the triple jump with a distance of 51-9/15.77m.
Auburn added depth to its women's team by signing jumper Jakayla Hand (Opelika, Ala.), sprinters Jonielle Smith (Kingston, Jamaica) and Dominique Bullock (Miami, Fla.) as well as thrower Makenzie Holmes-Digiovine (Phoenix, Ari.).
Smith will provide an immediate impact for the women's sprints, joining an already talented group that features rising senior Samantha Scarlett and sophomores Ebony Morrison and SheKara Martin. Smith holds the world's eighth fastest time by a junior in the 100m at 11.32 and her 200m time of 23.36 is the 18th fastest by a junior globally.
During the 2014 outdoor season, Hand claimed the individual state championships title in the triple jump and long jump. Hand won the triple jump title in all six meets she competed in and never finished worse than third in the long jump. Hand set a personal records in the long jump (17-11/5.46m) and triple jump (40-0.5/12.20m) at the Coaches Invitational held in Atlanta.
Holmes-Digiovine comes to Auburn as the back-to-back state champion in the discus. In 2013, she posted a personal-best throw of 151-3/46.10m in the discus at the 2013 Arizona State Championships. At the USATF Region 10 Junior Olympics, Holmes-Digiovine won the hammer throw at 137-11/42.03m and was runner-up in the discus.
During her senior season, Bullock posted the nation's 36th fastest time in the 100m at 11.73 at the Florida 4A Region 4 meet, while also competing in the 200m, 400m, and long jump. At the GMAC Championships, Bullock won the long jump title at 19-10/6.04m, placed third in the 400m at 56.92 and third in the 200m at 24.95.
|2015 Recruiting Class|
|Dominique Bullock||Sprints||Miami, Fla.|
|Jakayla Hand||Jumps||Opelika, Ala.|
|Makenzie Holmes-Digiovine||Throws||Phoenix, Ari.|
|Shawn Johnson||Jumps||Pittsburgh, Pa.|
|Travis Johnson||Sprints||Prattville, Ala.|
|Wesley Pectol||XC/Distance||Greeneville, Tenn.|
|Sven Martin Skagestad||Throws||Norway|
|Jonielle Smith||Sprints||Kingston, Jamaica|