CSU track and field signs nine athletes to National Letters of Intent

Feb. 21, 2012

By Chris Feller
Athletic Media Relations

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State track and field program on Tuesday announced the signing of nine student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. The class of 2012 is highlighted by two Gatorade Runner of the Year recipients. 

The nine athletes signed by Colorado State:

Kordell Deffebaugh, Montbello High School; Denver, Colo.
Monica Franco, Fort Collins High School; Fort Collins, Colo.
Jessica Green, Liberty Hill High School; Liberty Hill, Texas
Alexandra Hess, Sioux Falls High School; Sioux Falls, S.D.
Pauline Mandel, Great Oak High School; Temecula, Calif.
Jacob Morgan, Washburn Rural High School; Topeka, Kan.
Marina Roberts, Kingston High School; Kingston, Wash.
Tyler Schultz, Custer High School; Custer, S.D.
Gus Waneka, Thompson Valley High School; Loveland, Colo.

Kordell Deffebaugh: Deffebaugh, a senior at Montbello High School in Denver, Colo., will add some speed to the Rams’ sprint squad.

He holds personal records of 11.0 seconds in the 100-meter dash, 21.9 in the 200-meter dash, 48.33 in the 400-meter dash and 7.03 in the 60-meter dash.

He is a member of the honor roll and recipient of the Hope Scholarship.

Monica Franco: Monica Franco won’t have a far drive to her first day of college as the Fort Collins native signed a National Letter of Intent to compete for the Rams this week.

Franco, a Fort Collins High School standout, holds the school record in the high jump, with a mark of 5 feet, 7 inches. She finished third at the 2010 state meet in the event.

Franco also holds the school record in the 100-meter hurdles, with a time of 15.12 seconds.  She took eighth in the event at the 2010 state meet.

She also swam in high school for the Lambkins.

“Monica has an amazing work ethic with a ‘team comes first’ mentality,” said assistant coach Tim Cawley. “I am very excited to see what she can do in the heptathlon.”

Jessica Green: Green, the younger sister of current CSU multis athlete Justin Green, was the 2011 Texas 100-meter hurdles state champion. She also took third in the high jump at the state meet. Her performances earned her all-state track and field honors.

The Liberty Hill, Texas, native qualified for the Texas Relays in the high jump and was named to the Austin American Statesman Central Texas Top 50 her junior season.

As a sophomore, Green took fourth in the high jump at the state meet after winning the district championship in the event and taking runner-up at the regional meet. She was also the district champion in the 100-meter hurdles and the 800-meter relay.

She qualified for regionals in the high jump her freshman year.

Green is a member of the National Honor Society and a three-year member of the honor roll at Liberty Hill. She also competed in basketball and softball.

“Jessica is an all-around athlete who has the dedication and passion to be a great heptathlete,” said Cawley. “She is also a fierce competitor and should fit in well with the team.”

Alexandra Hess: Hess, a Sioux Falls, S.D., native, won the 2011 AA state cross country championship, finishing the 4K race with a course- and school-record time of 14:19.5.

Hess is a three-time all-state cross country selection, and was named the 2011 South Dakota Gatorade Runner of the Year. She was also named to the 2009 Nike Heartland all-region team.

She was a member of the 2008 AA state champion team, which went on to qualify for the Nike cross country national meet.

In her four years at Sioux Falls Roosevelt High School she has recorded three top-10 finishes at the state cross country meet, and four top-six finishes at the state track meet.

Hess holds personal records of 19:00.0 in the 5K, 11:30.0 in the 3,200 meters, and 5:14.00 in the 1,600 meters. Her fastest time in the 800 meters is 2:18.0.

Hess has maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout high school and will be receiving the highest academic scholarship at CSU, the Presidents.

“Alex is one of those rare student-athletes that is equally gifted in the classroom and on the cross country course,” said assistant coach Bryan Berryhill. “When you can get an athlete with a 4.0 grade point average, state champion in cross-country, and state course record holder you can't help but be very excited about her future.

Pauline Mandel: Mandel, a senior at Great Oak High School in Temecula, Calif., was a member of the 2010 Division I CIF cross country championship team.

As a senior she took ninth at the CIF Southern Section cross country finals, and 16th at the state championships.

She was named Athlete of the Week by ESPN Los Angeles the week of Oct. 26, 2010.

Mandel holds personal records in the 1,600-meter run of 5 minutes, 4 seconds, and in the 3,200-meter run of 11:12.0.

She also ran personal bests in the three-mile run at the Woodbridge Invite, finishing in 17:03.0, and in the 5K at the Baldwin Park Invite, clocking in at 17:31.0.

“Pauline is going to have an immediate impact this fall for our cross-country team,” said Berryhill. “She is an extremely mature athlete that I believe will run in our top 5 as a freshman. We are excited to get her on campus.

Jacob Morgan: Over the last calendar year Morgan was named the 2011 Kansas Gatorade Runner of the Year, defended his 6A cross country state title, and finished a perfect undefeated season.

The Washburn Rural High School standout was the 2011 and 2010 6A cross country champion. During his senior season Morgan went undefeated, winning every race by 12-plus seconds. His most impressive performance came at the 2011 Rim Rock Farm High SchoolCross Country Classic, where Morgan set a course record of 15 minutes, 13.18 seconds, in a first-place effort.

Milesplit.com ranked him as high as 18th nationally following his senior season. He was a four-time all-city selection as named by the Topeka Capital-Journal. Morgan recently placed 15th at the Foot Locker Midwest regional championships.

He finished ninth at the 2009 state meet his sophomore year and fourth in 2008 as a freshman.

As impressive as Morgan has been on the course he is equally, if not more, impressive in the classroom, maintaining a 4.10 grade point average throughout high school.  He is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and National Honor Society. Morgan regularly volunteers at his school’s tutoring program and at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“Jacob brings with him a lot of hardware from his high school running and academic career,” said Berryhill. “He is one of the best cross-country runners to ever sign with the Rams. He was consistently ranked as one of the top 25 cross-country runners in the USA this past fall. He will have an immediate impact for our cross-country team.”

Marina Roberts: Roberts, who is from Kingston, Wash., a state known for its excellent high school distance running, was the 2011 state champion in the 1,600 meters.  She also recorded two second-place finishes in the 3,200 meters at the 2010 and 2011 state track meets.

As a freshman, Roberts placed seventh at the state cross country meet. She then earned two second-place finishes at the state meet her sophomore and junior seasons. As a senior she took third.

She holds personal records of 5:05.0 in the 1,600 meters, 10:54.00 in the 3,200 meters and 2:21.0 in the 800 meters.

Roberts, who comes from a family of champion distance runners, will be receiving the Dean’s academic scholarship at CSU after maintaining a 3.9 grade point average in high school.

“Marina is a tremendous student-athlete who excels in the classroom and on the track,” said Berryhill. “She will have an immediate impact for the Rams. Anytime you can sign an athlete that is a state champion from Washington you know you have a winner on your hands.”

Tyler Schultz: Schultz is not only is one the newest members of the Colorado State track and field team, he is also a world-renowned traveler.

The Custer, S.D., native spent last summer traveling the globe, competing at the World Youth Championships in Lille, France, where he took second in the shot put, and at the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational in Puerto Rico, where he won the shot put and discus.

Schultz also competed at the 2010 Junior Olympics, winning the shot put and discus, as well as the New Balance indoor nationals, finishing third in the shot put.

After competing in football and basketball at Custer High School his freshman and sophomore seasons Schultz decided to focus solely on track and field due in part to his success. Schultz was the 2009 state runner-up in the discus his freshman season. A year later he took home his first state championship in the discus and runner-up honors in the shot put.

Schultz returned to the state meet a year later defending his discus crown and winning his second state title in the event. He also placed second in the shot put.

Schultz’s personal record in the shot put of 63 feet, 8.5 inches, is fifth best all-time in South Dakota history. His top mark in the discus is 13th-best all-time in the state.

“Tyler will make an instant impact on our throws program next season,” said Head Coach Brian Bedard.  “He shows the ability to score in multiple events at the conference level and has the talent to make it to nationals in one or two events.  Tyler also has international experience competing in high-level meets as a high-school athlete.  This experience is invaluable when making the jump to collegiate competition.”

Gus Waneka: Waneka, a Loveland, Colo., product, finished second at the 2011 4A cross country state championships his senior year. He earned a fifth-place finish at the Nike Southwest regionals and later went on to place 40th at the Nike nationals meet in Portland, Ore.

He holds the school record in the two-mile run, with a time of 9 minutes, 43 seconds.

His personal record in the mile is 4:27.0 and 1:58.0 in the 800-meter run.

“Gus is an amazing student-athlete that is mature beyond his years,” said Berryhill. “He has the type of character that when you meet him you instantly want him part of your program. I can't wait to see Gus running in the green and gold this coming fall.”