April 18, 2012
HOUSTON- The University of Houston's track and field head coach Leroy Burrell announced the signing of nine student-athletes to National Letters of Intent Wednesday afternoon. The group of nine incoming freshman will join the team for the 2012-13 academic year
"As a coaching staff, we are really excited about the class we have accumulated," Burrell said. "Especially with the men, we feel like we have went out and acquired athletes who we think can come in and make an immediate impact. We have brought in athletes who are nationally ranked, with impressive national stature."
"When you sign a state's athlete of the year, in a really good track state like Penn., that's a tremendous accomplishment. As well as looking into the future of joining the Big East, signing athletes in the footprint of the traditional Big East is really big for us."
"We are really excited about this class, not only have we built a class that can help us continue to stay atop of Conference USA, but also to compete at a very high level nationally."
Houston's signing class now includes six men and three women, and provides the program with a wealth of incoming talent. Addressing a variety of event areas on the men's side, Houston added three new speedsters in Pennsylvania's Erik Futch, Houston's Ahmed Ali and Isaac Williams of Willingboro, New Jersey. In addition, the men welcome Rio Grande, Royse City and Kingwood, Texas natives Alejandro Garza (throws), Joseph Beck (pole vault) and Sean Spiehler (multi -athlete), respectively.
On the women's side, the Cougars will welcome two distance runners in Bridge City, Texas native Meagan Shockley and Round Rock, Texas's Selena Sierra. In addition, Houston added a sprinter in Silsbee, Texas's Ashley Johnson, who will also compete in the jumps.
The most recent signee, sprinter/hurdler and Gatorade 2011Pennsylvania Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year Eric Futch highlights the 2012 class. Futch is the nation's No. 1 returning outdoor 400m hurdler (51.67), he was also the nation's No. 1 2011 indoor 300m hurdler with his time of 33.56. In addition, Futch is the No. 10 200m athlete, with his 21.60 mark, which was the best in his home state of Pennsylvania. During his senior outdoor campaign, so far he has claimed first place in five of six events competed in and currently holds the nations No. 7 time in the 300m hurdles (37.23).
Full list of 2012 signees:
Ahmed Ali - Alief, Texas (Hastings HS) - Sprints
Currently ranked No. 1 nationally in the boys 200m dash with his time of 20.59, set at the Alief Heintschel Relays... Ranked No. 1 in Texas, No. 27 nationally in the 55m dash with his time of 6.42 during the 2012 indoor season... Ranked No. 3 nationally, No. 2 in Texas in the indoor 200m dash (21.33).
Isaac Williams - Willingboro, NJ (Willingboro HS) - Sprints
Currently New Jersey's No. 1 high jumper during the 2012 outdoor season, with his jump of 6'6... Ranked No. 8 nationally, No. 2 in the state of New Jersey in the boys 55m hurdles with his time of 7.22...
Alejandro Garza - Rio Grande, TX (Rio Grande HS) - Throws
Currently ranks No. 9 nationally in the shot put with his 63'2" mark, No. 3 in the state of Texas for the 2012 outdoor season... Also ranks No. 22 in the discus throw (165'2")... During the 2012 indoor season Garza ranked No. 2 in Texas and No. 40 nationally in the shot put (56'9")... Texas 5A 2010 State Shot Put Champion.
Joseph Beck - Royse City, TX (Royse City HS) - Pole Vault
Currently ranks No. 17 nationally, No. 9 in Texas in the pole vault with his 16'1" vault...
Sean Spiehler - Kingwood, TX (Kingwood HS) - Hurdles/HJ/Dec
Currently No. 52 nationally in the 110m hurdles with his time of 14.87... Ranks No. 11 nationally, No. 5 in Texas in the high jump with his mark of 6'10"...
Eric Futch - Lansdowne, PA (Penn Wood HS) - Sprints/Hurdles
Currently ranks No. 7 nationally in the 300m hurdles, No. 1 in PA with this time of 37.23... Was Pennsylvania's top 200m athlete, No. 10 nationally in the 200m dash (21.60)... The nation's No. 1 indoor 300m athlete (33.56)... In addition, Futch is the nation's No. 1 returning outdoor 400m hurdler... 2012 Penn. Indoor State 200m Champion... 2011 Penn. Outdoor 300mH Champion.
Ashley Johnson - Silsbee, TX (Silsbee HS) - Sprints/Jumps
Currently ranked No. 9 in Texas in the high jump with her mark of 5'6", No. 54 nationally... Ranked No. 36 nationally in the high jump, No. 2 in Texas during the 2012 indoor season...
Selena Sierra - Round Rock, TX (McNeil HS) - Middle Distance
Currently ranks No. 32 in the state of Texas in the 800m run with her time of 2:18.42... During the 2011 cross country season, she claimed the 75th fastest 3200m time (11:34) in Texas... Set her personal best mark in the 800m of 2:17.33 during the 2011 outdoor season, which ranks No. 47 in Texas.
Meagan Shockley - Bridge City, TX (Bridge City HS) - Sprints
Meagan posted a personal best time of 5:53.13in the 1600m during the 2011 outdoor season.