both the Troy University men's and women's track and field teams
look ahead to the 2008-09 season, they will rely on the additions
of seven women (plus the return of red shirt Latoya Ragland) and
15 men to build on another successful year.
The loss of two men and six women (of a large class of seniors)
to graduation provides the opportunity for this talented group to
make their mark immediately.
The women will rely on the experience of two junior college athletes,
one international athlete and 4 incoming freshman. Kapri Hockaday
(Modesto Junior College), who was the North California Community
College champion in the high jump and Heptathlon, and NaQuita Rowe
(Bevill State) who was a National Junior College Championship national
scorer in the 4x100-meter relay and 100-meter hurdles. She also
qualified for the national championships in the long jump.
"Both Hockaday and Rowe have a wealth of untapped talent,"
Director of Track and Field Jill Lancaster said. "They will
look to carry a big load in the combined events as well as the jumps
The middle distance crew will be joined by Erika Fyrvall (Kista,
Sweden). She has placed in the Swedish Junior National Championships
in the 800-meters, 1500-meter and cross country championships.
"Her talents are to be a great addition to the cross country
team," Lancaster said. "She will provide points in events
on the track that have eluded the women's team in the middle distances."
The remaining four athletes, Jasmine Patton (Hazelwood/Hazelwood,
Ala.), Nicole Polk, (Oconee County), Ariel Cavazos (Osceola/Osceola,
Fla.), and Arielle Maxwell (Lake Mary/Lake Mary, Fla.) will bring
their talents in the jumps, hurdles and sprints.
Patton is a multiple state champion in the 110-meter hurdle, 300-meter
hurdles, triple jump, and state record holder in the high hurdles
and the triple jump runner-up in 400-meter dash. She is also coming
off a competitive season participating at the national level in
Junior Olympics this summer where she placed 13th in the hurdles.
Polk , finished as the Georgia State runner up in the pole vault.
She also saw elite competition this summer after huge season improvements
as she was selected to compete at the Nike Outdoor Invitational.
Cavazos, finished the season as the Florida long jump state champion
and will also be a part of the sprint and relay team. Meanwhile,
Maxwell is a high jump specialist with relay experience and will
look to join Hockaday in adding depth in the event.
"The addition of 15 men will close the gap in the Sun Belt
Conference race and build on the men's third place finish last season,"
Lancaster said. "The incoming class has added depth with some
of the best talent from Alabama and Florida in addition to an elite
A list of multiple state champions include Chancellor Scholarship
recipient Erik Burkett, (Scottsboro/Scottsboro, Ala.), a state champion
indoor and outdoor hurdle specialist. He also is a state high jump
participant who has the potential to look at additional events.
Terrell Irons (Cedar Bluff/Cedar Bluff, Ala.), the 2008 Alabama
state champion in the 100-meters, high jump, long jump and triple
jump will join the Trojans. He is also the state meet record who
lead his team to a state championship scoring 40 points..
"He will be looked at produce immediately in the jumps,"
Lancaster said. "He will also be a factor in our short spring
Payton McGhee (Luverne/Luverne, Ala.), the state champion in the
100-meter dash will join the Trojans this fall. He also finished
third in the 200-meter dash in the inaugural season of Luverne track.
He will be joining Irons in rounding out the short sprint crew.
Brandon Allen (Troupe/West Point, Ga.), the brother of women's
team member Chontia Allen looks to add depth in the sprints and
The long sprints will be led by Alabama
and Florida natives. Ryan Howard (Niceville/Niceville, Fla.), who
is the FSU Relay meet record holder and champion in the 400-meters
will be joined by Andre McElroy (West Florida Tech/Pensacola, FL),
who is a 400-meter and 800-meter specialist.
They will be joined by a pair of Alabama natives with championship
experience. Shane George (Smiths Station/Salem, Ala.), a 400-meter
and 800- meter specialist and Michael Bates (Sheffield/Sheffield,
Ala.). George finished as the state runner-up and second at the
FSU Relays who has great range and xc experience, while Bates is
also a 400-meter and 800-meter specialist was a state runner-up
in both events.
"The distance program is excited with the experience and talent
of transfer Denzel Ramirez (South Plains Junior College),"
Lancaset said. "His credentials will have an immediate impact
on both the cross country program and on the track. He will be joined
by a strong Alabama class of middle distance specialist who will
offer their support with state cross country credentials under their
belt or all who played a major role in their cross country programs."
Adam Vise (Hewitt-Trussville/Trussville, Ala.), an 800-meter specialist
state championship participant will lead the pack. He will be followed
by 1500-meter specialist Alec Hamm (Hoover/Hoover, Ala.). Nick Burrell
(John Carroll/Birmingham, Ala.), a state championship participant
in the 800-meters and 1600-meters.
"They will be providing talented depth to the cross country
program as they prepare for the track season," Lancaster said.
The throws will look to newcomers to fill some events. Mack Howell
(John Carroll/Birmingham, Ala.), a javelin specialist will look
to add additional throwing events. He will be joined by Trevor Funk
(Tampa Catholic/Tampa, Fla.), a discus specialist) and Allan Mason
(Mountain Brook/Mountain Brook, Ala.), a hammer specialist.