McKendree University cross country and track and field head coach Mike Mendez has been rather busy on the recruiting trail, adding 11 more newcomers who will join the Bearcats for the 2014-15 academic year.
Of the 11 new student-athletes, six will compete for the McKendree's women's programs: Mollie Bowmann, who competed in jumps at Sullivan High School; Linette Hernandez, a distance runner from Collinsville High School; Lindsey Jansen, a hurdler/middle distance runner from Lafayette High School in St. Louis County who transfers in from Missouri Baptist University; Ciara Jones, a jumps/hurdles specialist from O"Fallon High School; Cheyenne Pinkstaff, a distance runner from nearby Lebanon High School; and Jessika Silas, a sprinter from Collinsville High School.
The McKendree men have added five individuals to their 2014-15 roster: Reginald Weston Brown, a multi-sport athlete from Murietta Valley High School in California; Sean Fulton, a throws specialist from North Greene High School; Christopher Jackson, a middle distance runner from Belleville West High School; Zeke Snell, a middle distance athlete from Goreville High School, and Frankie Veal III, a multi-sport athlete from Liberty High School in California.
McKendree University competes as a member of NCAA Division II in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Bearcats had individuals qualify for the Division II Men"s Cross Country Championships, as well as the NCAA Division II Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Championships during the 2013-14 academic year.
Who: Mollie Bowmann (Hometown: Sullivan.)
Events: Jumps/Hurdles at Sullivan High School, Sullivan.
Highlights: Competed in triple jump and hurdles at Sullivan High School. Was also a member of the 4 x 200-meter and 4 x 400-meter relay squads for the Redskins. Wwas an Illinois state qualifier in the triple jump three times and the 4 x 200-meter relay team twice during her career set school record in triple jump at 35 feet, 3 inches, finished ninth in the state in the triple jump as a senior and second in the event as a junior in 2013. Was part of Sullivan's state title team in the 4 x 200 event as a senior. She helped team to a third-place finish at the IHSA Class 1A state meet as a senior and a sixth-place showing as a junior. She led Sullivan to the Monticello Invitational team championship as a senior.
Coach Mendez on Bowmann: "Mollie is a wonderful addition to our team. She brings a lot of excitement to the sport, and her focus when it is 'game time' is a sight to see. She leaves 100 percent on the track and she is going to battle for her teammates."
Who: Ciara Jones (Hometown: O'Fallon.)
Events: Jumps/Hurdles at O'Fallon High School, O'Fallon.
Highlights: Excelled in the triple jump and hurdles at nearby O'Fallon High School. She set new team records of 37 feet, two inches in the triple jump and 14.81 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles for the Panthers. Was an Illinois state qualifier in the triple jump all four years of her high school career. She finished fifth in the 100-meter hurdles at the IHSA Class 3A state meet as a senior. Was a two-time All-Conference and All-Area honors. Collected All-Metro accolades as a freshman
Coach Mendez on Jones: "The type of and determination Ciara will bring to this team is exactly what we need to push us to the next level. Her accomplishments and ability on the track are only outweighed by her performance in the classroom. We are very excited to see what Ciara can do at the conference and national levels. She is going to be a leader on and off the field for us."
Who: Linette Hernandez (Hometown: Granite City.)
Events: Distance at Granite City High School, Granite City.
Highlights: Starred as a distance runner at Granite City High School. Earned four varsity letters for the Warriors in cross country and three in track and field. Was twice selected as an All-County performer in cross country (2011 and 2013). Was a three-time All-County honoree in the 1600-meter run, including a third-place finish as a senior. Collected the Most Valuable Athlete Award in cross country and the Best Distance Runner Award in track and field at Granite City. Also earned the Rising Star Award and 100 Percent Award with the Warriors.
Coach Mendez on Hernandez: "Linette has a great personality and I'm very excited to add her to our distance squad. She has had much success and has progressed well throughout her career. I"m excited to see her growth at McKendree as she will make a great Bearcat on the field and in the classroom."
Who: Lindsey Jansen (Hometown: University City, Mo.)
Events: Hurdles/Middle Distance at Lafayette High School in Wildwood, Mo. A transfer from Missouri Baptist University.
Highlights: Transfers to McKendree from Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis. Was an Academic All-Conference selection for the Spartans. Was a Missouri state qualifier in both the 4 x 200-meter relay and 4 x 400-meter relay as a senior at Lafayette High School. Helped the Lancers to a second-place finish in the district meet as a senior. Was also a member of the St. Louis Blues Track Club. Was an AAU national qualifier in the 4 x 400-meter and 4 x 800-meter relay squads in 2013.
Coach Mendez on Jansen: "Lindsey has tried almost every event and she is ready to do whatever it takes to help the team. That approach is exactly what we need to continue the growth of our program and I cannot wait to see what she will accomplish here at McKendree."
Who: Cheyenne Pinkstaff (Hometown: Lebanon.)
Events: Distance at Lebanon High School, Lebanon.
Highlights: Ran cross country and participated in track and field at nearby Lebanon High School. Posted a top-15 finish in the conference cross country meet as a senior...competed in the 800-meter, 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs for the Greyhounds in track and field(*133*)was the recipient of the Citizenship Award and the National Honor Society President"s Award of Academic Excellence.
Coach Mendez on Pinkstaff: "Cheyenne is a great student with a great work ethic. I believe she is going to make an excellent addition to our team and I believe she will improve well through her freshman year. I am excited to see what she can do with a group of girls pushing her on a daily basis."
Who: Jessika Sillas (Hometown: Collinsville.)
Events: Sprints (*150*) Collinsville High School, Collinsville.
Highlights: Competed in sprint events at Collinsville High School. Specialized in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash as well as the 4 x 100-meter and 4 x 200-meter dash for the Kahoks.
Coach Mendez on Sillas: "Jessika is like a bolt of lightning on the track. We are very excited to have her join our squad. We know she has a lot of ability and, with her work ethic, she is going to be do very well at this level."
Who: Reginald Weston Brown (Hometown: Murrietta, Calif.)
Events: Multi-Sport at Murrietta Valley High School, Murrietta, Calif.
Highlights: Competed in numerous events during his career at Murrietta Valley High School in California. Raced in the 400-meter dash as well as the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles as well as the 4 x 400-meter relay for the Nighthawks. Was team MVP and hurdles MVP in each of his last two years at Murrietta(*133*)holds personal bests of 50.3 seconds in the 400-meter dash, 15.3 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles and 39.9 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles. Also earned the Scholar-Athlete award for the Nighthawks. Ccollected second-team All-Conference honors in football as well.
Coach Mendez on Brown: "We are very excited to have Weston join the McKendree family. He will be a multi-sport athlete and we anticipate he will make a name for himself right out of the gates. I'm sure the GLVC will know Weston well and we hope he takes his talents to the national level for us."
Who: Sean Fulton (Hometown: Hillview)
Events: Throws at North Greene High School, White Hall.
Highlights: Starred in the shot put at North Greene High School. Was an IHSA Class 1A state qualifier in the event as a sophomore and junior for the Spartans. Helped lead North Greene to county and conference championships(*133*)was a member of the National Honor Society and Honor Roll.
Coach Mendez on Fulton: "Sean is a great person and I am very happy to have his character on our squad. He has so much room to improve and he has the fire to do it. I cannot wait to see what he is capable of during his time at McKendree."
Who: Christopher Jackson (Hometown: Belleville )
Events: Middle Distance at Belleville West High School, Belleville.
Highlights: Was a middle distance star at Belleville West High School. Was a two-time IHSA state qualifier in relay events for the Maroons. Helped Belleville West take fifth place in the 4 x 400-meter relay in state competition as a senior. Led team to a first-place showing at the conference meet in the 4 x 400-meter relay while taking seventh place in the 800-meter run. Was a third-team All-Conference selection as a sophomore and junior before grabbing first-team accolades as a senior(*133*)nabbed All-City honors and All-State honors. Posted personal-best times of 1:58 in the 800-meter run and a 49.6 second split in the 4 x 400-meter relay.
Coach Mendez on Jackson: "Chris is a great young man and I cannot wait to see what he is capable of at the next stage of his career. Coach Segraves from Belleville West continues to groom bright, young talent into accomplished individuals, and Chris is a great example. He brings character and work ethic that will be the staple of our program in the coming years."
Who: Zeke Snell (Hometown: Vienna)
Events: Middle Distance at Goreville High School, Goreville.
Highlights: Was a three-time IHSA Class 1A state qualifier in the 400-meter dash for Goreville High School. Placed fifth (50.68 seconds) in the state finals of the event as a junior in 2013. Was the first Blackcat in more than 50 years to qualify for the state meet(*133*)holds team records in the 200-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter races. Was twice named as a first-team All-Conference selection.
Coach Mendez on Snell: "Zeke is a great example of the type of student-athlete who we are proud to call a part of our track family. He has only scratched the surface in this sport and we believe with his natural ability he is going to flourish in the coming years."
Who: Frankie Veal III (Hometown: Brentwood, Calif.)
Events: Multi-Sport at Liberty High School, Brentwood, Calif.
Highlights: Competed in the triple jump and long jump at Liberty High School in California. Was a three-year letterman in track and field for the Lions(*133*)was a North Coast Section, CIF Scholar-Athlete in track and field all four years. Earned the Athletic Director"s Academic Award for track and field in 2012(*133*)also starred in football at Liberty.
Coach Mendez on Veal: "Frankie will be a multi-sport athlete here at McKendree and we are excited to have him as part of our program. We think he will make an immediate impact at the conference level and we cannot wait to see how he will perform in our program."