The Ferris State University women's track and cross country programs have signed six high school recruits and one junior college recruit to national letters-of-intent to attend and participate in the respective programs at FSU. The announcement was made by Bulldog head coach Jeff Kavalunas, who enters his third season of directing both programs this fall.
Comprising the group are Amanda Blakley (Almont), Elisia DuBreuil (Reed City), Katie Klaver (Wyoming/Park), Shauna Pennington (Cedar Springs/Greenville), Richelle Robinson (St. Ignace), April Smith (Charlotte), and JuCo transfer Jaime Sollose (Sterling Heights/Macomb C.C.).
"I'm excited with the well-rounded group we have coming in," said Kavalunas, who was named the 1998 GLIAC Women's Indoor Track and Field "Coach of the Year." "While we don't have any one individual who's exceptional, they all have the potential to contribute right away.
"We're still looking to add depth in cross country and the distance events, but this solid class should help put us in the direction to contend for a conference title."
Competing in cross country and the distance events will be Katie Klaver, Shauna Pennington, and April Smith.
Klaver, an academic all-state selection and class valedictorian, was a Class B All-State pick in track her senior year at Wyoming Park. She placed eighth in the 3,200 meter run at the 1998 Class B state track meet and was a member of the Vikings' state champion 3,200-meter relay team. Klaver received all-conference recognition in both track and cross country as a senior and was the league's track champion in the 1,600 meters. The school's Most Valuable Performer in both track and cross country this season, Klaver played an integral role in WPHS' record-setting 1,600-meter relay team. Pennington, a 1997 Class A state qualifier in cross country, finished a personal-best fourth in the state meet as a freshman and eighth during her sophomore campaign. In track, she was an All-Mid Michigan Conference honoree in the 3,200 meters. Smith also turned in a productive prep cross country season last fall, placing 20th at the state meet en route to attaining 1997 Class A All-State accolades. Kavalunas believes Smith has the potential to be a standout in the 5,000 meters.
Ferris added quality depth in throwing events with the inking of Amanda Blakley and Elisia DuBreuil. A two-time Class C state finalist in the discus, Blakley was an All-Southern Thumb Conference honoree in that event. Like Blakley, DuBreuil is a two-time Class B state finals qualifier. Kavalunas also welcomes sprinter Richelle Robinson and jumper Jaime Sollose. Robinson, a Class C All-Stater, was honored as the 1997 and 1998 Upper Peninsula State Champion in the 200 meter and 400 meter events. A transfer from Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich., Sollose totaled personal season highs in the long jump (17-11) and triple jump (36-0) this spring for the Monarchs.
Klaver was recently recognized as a state prep scholar-athlete by the Detroit Free Press while Robinson and DuBreuil have been accepted into the FSU Honors Program.
FSU placed fourth at the 1997 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Women's Cross Country Championships, fourth at the 1998 GLIAC Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships, and fifth at the 1998 GLIAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships.