Despite late start, track coach Mark Elliott brings in impressive recruiting haul

Clemson adds seven women, two women for 2014

Elizabeth Dawson inked her National Letter of Intent to run cross country and track for Clemson University, during the signing day event at D.W. Daniel High School in Central.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Elizabeth Dawson inked her National Letter of Intent to run cross country and track for Clemson University, during the signing day event at D.W. Daniel High School in Central.

Head coach Mark Elliott and the Clemson track & field coaching staff announced the signing of nine athletes to national letters of intent and one mid-year enrollee.

The nine athletes include seven women and two men representing seven different states. The men’s class includes a middle distance runner and sprinter. The women’s class consists of three sprinters, a hurdler, three distance runners and a thrower.

The mid-year enrollee, Olivia James, is slated to begin competition during the 2014 outdoor season.

Following is a Q&A with Elliott on the overall signing class.

Q: Overall, it appears as though you and your staff addressed some areas of need despite a late start in the recruiting process?

Elliott: “I’m not one to make excuses. We did start late, but this class is not only a testament to the coaches we have, but also benefitting from the history of the program. It’s not just that we’re expert recruiters, (thoug)h we do know how to recruit. But it was a combination of everything – the history of Clemson track & field, the prospects all visited and saw the facilities, they listened to my vision and their event coach’s vision. We’re hopefully signing some top kids who can help us down the road for sure.”

Q: Was a heavy focus on sprints your intended starting point with recruiting?

Elliott: “The bottom line is we needed to replace the nucleus of the team. Some athletes turned pro and others moved on, so we need to replace that. You have to cover those areas. But you also have to work with your niche.

"We’re trying to get the middle distance and distance group started from a national level. It’s the same thing in the throws, that’s why we signed a female thrower. You see a very good miler on the women’s list, so hopefully we’ll have a really good DMR next year.

"We touched areas across the board, but we also had to work around the scholarships we had available. It’s not an exact science. You have to use the money the right way to piece it with what you have already here, and then you coach them up.”

Q: Do you anticipate signing any athletes late on the men’s side?

Elliott: “We didn’t have many scholarships available. We only have a couple of seniors. We needed a good quarter miler. Jeffery (Green) comes to us from Miami Northwestern High School, which has a great history of quarter milers. He will be one of the top high school kids this season, so our goal is to build around him and recruit a good half-miler that can also run on the 4x4. I don’t want to just frivolously sign people, you want to know you’re signing kids who can contribute for years to come.”

MEN'S SIGNEES

Chad Fennell

Event: Middle Distance

Hometown: Rock Hill, SC

High School: Northwestern HS

• Competed at the 2013 New Balance Outdoor Nationals in the emerging elite 800 meters

• Earned four all-state awards on the track in 2012 and 2013, which includes three state medalist honors

• Four-time all-region runner and 2013 Most Valuable Performer on his team

• Has won 11 York County Championships across various events

Jeffery Green

Event: Sprints

Hometown: Hialeah, FL

High School: Miami Northwestern HS

• 2013 New Balance Outdoor All-American in the 400 dash

• 2013 USA Youth Outdoor Champion in the 17-18 year old division in the 400 dash

• 2013 Florida AAA runner-up in the 400; also all-state in 2012 in the event

• Attended same high school that sent NCAA record-holder and 2013 The Bowerman winner Brianna Rollins to Clemson

WOMEN'S SIGNEES

Danielle Borriello

Event: Throws

Hometown: Ellenville, NY

High School: Ellenville HS

• 2013 New Balance Outdoor All-American in the hammer throw, she finished eighth with a mark of 157’6” (No. 14 mark on national performance list)

• Competed at 2012 and 2013 New Balance Indoor National in the girls weight throw, and in 2011 Outdoor Nationals in the hammer

• 2013 Millrose Games runner-up in the girls weight throw

Elizabeth Dawson

Event: Distance

Hometown: Clemson, SC

High School: D.W. Daniel HS

• Competed at the 2013 New Balance Indoor Nationals in the 5000 meters

• Placed 19th at the 2011 USATF National Junior Olympics XC Championships in the two-mile run (out of 138 competitors)

Katie Fortner

Event: Distance

Hometown: Roanoke, VA

High School: Cave Spring HS

• Two-time New Balance Indoor All-American in the mile

• Ran personal best 4:49.79 in the 2012 New Balance meet

• 2013 Group AA State silver medalist in the 1000 and 1600 meters

• 2013 runner-up in the 3200 meters at the Raleigh Relays

• Finished 12th in the 2012 Foot Locker South Regional 5K

Olivia James

Event: Sprints

Hometown: St. Andrew, Jamaica

High School: Vere Technical HS

• Won IAAF World Junior Championship silver medalist in 2012 with Jamaica’s 4x400 relay

• Won IAAF World Youth Championship bronze medal in the 400 dash and won gold medal with Jamaica’s medley relay in 2011

• Finalist in the 400 dash at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships in Spain

• Won golf medal at the 2011 Carifta Games in the U20 division of the 400 dash

Katie Moses

Event: Distance

Hometown: Traverse City, MI

High School: Traverse City Central HS

• One of Michigan’s top 800 runners, she was region champion in the event and in the 1600 during 2013 outdoor season

• Father, Joe, lettered from 1974-77 for the Tiger golf team under Head Coach Bobby Robinson and earned a Clemson degree as well

Deja Parrish

Event: Sprints

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL

High School: American Heritage School

• 2013 New Balance Outdoor All-American in the 400 dash

• 2013 Florida AA champion in the 400 dash and bronze medalist in the 200

• 2011 and 2012 Florida AA silver medalist in the 400

• Owns personal bests of 53.20 in the 400 dash and 23.94 in the 200

• Posted No. 9 time during 2013 indoor season at the Brooks PR Invitational

Torie Robinson

Events: Sprints/Hurdles

Hometown: Sicklerville, NJ

High School: Winslow HS

• Ranked second in New Jersey and 14th nationally in the 55 dash during 2013 indoor season

• Competed at 2013 New Balance Indoor Nationals and competed in the 60 dash alongside fellow Clemson signee Taylor Williams in the event

• 2013 New Balance Indoor National Champion with her school’s 4x55 shuttle hurdle relay

• 2013 New Jersey state champion in the 400 hurdles, posted personal best 59.56 which was the No. 5 time nationally by a high schooler

• New Jersey Group 3 State Champion in five different events in 2013

• In 2014, already No. 7 in the U.S. in the 55 dash with a personal best 7.03

Taylor Williams

Event: Sprints

Hometown: North Wales, PA

High School: Hatboro-Horsham HS

• 2013 USATF Club Champion in the 100 dash

• 2013 New Balance Outdoor All-American in the 100 dash

• Competed at the 2013 New Balance Indoor Nationals

• Owns personal bests of 7.09 in the 55 dash and 7.63 in the 60

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