Aug. 2, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - A total of 19 outstanding student-athletes will call UC Davis their home beginning this fall after signing National Letters of Intent with the Aggies, it was announced Thursday by Drew Wartenburg, the Director of Cross Country and Track and Field.
All of them will compete for the men's and women's track and field squads while nine will double with cross country participation as well. Joining the men's track and field team are Matt Bender (Shafter HS), Justice Chambers (James C. Enochs HS), Chase Dariso (Oceanside HS), Amar Dholakia (Esperanza HS), Ryan Donnahoe (Gridley HS), Caine Harder (Westview HS), Eric Neill (Yreka HS), Steven Pust (Golden Valley HS), Nick Ratto (St. Joseph Notre Dame HS), Jordan Rushing (Del Campo HS) and Shane Ryan (Ventura HS).
Joining the women's program are Praise Adesida (Alhambra HS), Siobhan Anderson (Maria Carillo HS), Erika Barr (Simi Valley HS), Christine Hoffman (San Luis Obispo HS), Nicole Lane (El Molino HS), Danielle Steffen (Petaluma HS), Anna Welsh (Monterey HS) and Julia Yang (Westview HS).
Dholakia, Neill, Ratto, Rushing, Barr, Hoffman, Lane, Welsh and Yang will also run with cross country. Wartenburg, who enters his second year this fall leading the programs this season, is excited about the recruiting class. The Aggies are coming off Big West Championships in both women's cross country and track and field while the men were cross country champions in 2010 and second at the 2011 track championships.
"This year's recruiting class shows as much breadth and depth as any group that we have brought to UC Davis in recent years," he said. "Our program's commitment to excellence across the entirety of track and field disciplines brings both a challenge as well as great reward when identifying talented student-athletes to help shape our future success.
"The entire staff remains excited about the way in which our incoming class will bolster the strong framework of returners already in place, and we look forward to having stronger men's and women's roster for the 2012-13 cross country and track and field campaigns," he added.
Following are profiles of each of the signees.
MATT BENDER (Throws, Shafter, Calif./Shafter HS '12)
Four-year letterwinner for Shafter HS, earning All-South Sequioa League honors three times, and all-area and All-CIF Central Coast Section honors twice... Named 2010 Athlete of the Year at Shafter HS... Won CCS Master's discus title this spring... Has PR of 53-1.5 in shot put and 178-2 in discus... The latter ranked 13th in California this season and earned him sixth place at the state meet... Also played three years of football... Valedictorian with a 4.5 GPA.
JUSTICE CHAMBERS (Sprints, Modesto, Calif./James C. Enochs HS)
Earned three varsity letters at Enochs HS and two more in football... Ran PR of 11.00 seconds in the 100-meter dash at the Sacramento Meet of Champions in April... The time was ranked among the top 100 in California this spring... Also had a PR of 22.03 in the 200 at the same meet... That mark ranked 64th... Captured Modesto Metro Conference titles in 2011 in the 100, 200 and as member of 4x400... Averaged nine yards a carry for football team in 2011 and returned four kickoffs and/or punts for touchdowns over his last two seasons.
CHASE DARISO (Jumps, Oceanside, Calif./Oceanside HS '12)
Qualified for the state meet in the triple jump with mark of 45-10.25 at CIF-San Diego Section Finals... Effort ranked 37th in the state in 2012... Had four jumps this season above 45 feet... Also had a best of 21-11.75 in the long jump at the section finals after going 21-2.765 in the prelims... Earned a spot in section prelims in the triple jump as a junior.
AMAR DHOLAKIA (Distances, Anaheim, Calif./Esperanza HS '12)
Competed in both cross country and track and field at Esperanza HS, earning a spot in the CIF-Southern Section Divisional Finals where he posted a career-best time of 9:18.73 in the 3,200-meter run... The time ranked 54th in the state... Also went 4:20.12 in the 1,600 at the Century League Finals... Advanced to the Div. II state championship meet during the 2011 cross country season, finishing 17th in the 5K race in 15:42.00... Was sixth among Div. III competitors (15:54.00) at Mt. SAC last fall.
RYAN DONNAHOE (Throws, Gridley, Calif./Gridley HS '12)
Earned a pair of varsity letters in track and field... Finished third in the shot put at the state meet with a PR of 61-6.00... Had three throws surpass 60-foot barrier this spring... Posted PR of 154-9 at North State Relays in March... Holds school record in the shot put... Captured CIF-North Section shot put title in 2012 and was second in the discus... Was fourth in the shot put at the 2012 California State Indoor Championships... League champion in shot put and discus... Team captain and team MVP... Four-year member of football team at Gridley HS... Chico Enterprise Record Top Male Athlete for 2012... His high school coach, Ed Roach, was also his grandfather.
CAINE HARDER (Sprints, San Diego, Calif./Westview HS '12)
Had best fully automatic time of 11.00 for 2012 during dual meet with Torrey Pines HS in April... Owns PR's of 21.65 in the 200 at the CIF-San Diego Section prelims in May and 49.76 in the 400 at the Bronco Invitational in March... Ran anchor on 4x400 relay which captured Palomar League title in 3:21.30... Ran leadoff leg for 4x100 which had season-best time of 44.44 in March... Had 100 time of 10.98 as a junior and a mark of 21.84 in the 200.
ERIC NEILL (Distances, Yreka, Calif./Yreka HS '12)
Four-year letterwinner in cross country and three-time winner in track and field for Yreka HS... Has career-best time of 4:17.71 in 1,600 from CIF State Trials in June... Won Northern Athletic League title in the 3,200 and was second in both 800 and 1,600... Captured 800 as a junior as well and was member of 4x400 relay that won CIF-North Section Div. II title... Four-year All-NAL member in cross country and two-time individual champion, placing eighth among Div. IV runners at state meet in 15:51... Twice earned all-section honors... Helped lead Yreka HS to a trio of NAL cross country championships and school's first-ever 2010 Div. IV state championship... Track team also earned league title... California Scholarship Federation member.
STEVEN PUST (Pole vault, hurdles, Merced, Calif./Golden Valley HS '12)
Earned four varsity letters in track and field at Golden Valley HS... Has a career-best pole vault of 16-1 achieved at the CIF-Sac-Joaquin Div. I finals, earning him first-place... Won that meet by nearly a foot... Qualified for state meet finals where he finished fourth... Captured first at the CCC Championships... Went career-best 15.20 in 110 hurdles at Woody Wilson Invitational at UC Davis in April... Qualified for the CIF-Sac-Joaquin Master's Meet... Won multiple all-league first-team honors and was team MVP as as a junior... Was also a first-team honoree in soccer, earning defensive MVP honors.
NICK RATTO (Distances, Alameda, Calif./St. Joseph Notre Dame HS '12)
Three-year varsity letterwinner in track and field and four years in cross country... Won the Bay Shore League cross country title last fall, was second at CIF-North Coast Section Championships and third among Div. V runners at state meet... Was all-league first-team honoree for track team as well... Posted career-best time of 1:51.57 in 800 at state track finals, finishing third... Has PR of 4:17.69 in the mile from the Stanford Invitational.... Was fifth in section and state cross country finals as a junior... Has career-best time of 15:45 in cross country, achieved at state meet... Member of California Scholarship Federation.
JORDAN RUSHING (Distances, Sacramento, Calif./Del Campo HS '12)
Received a pair of varsity letters in track and field and four in cross country at Del Campo HS... Went to state meet in 1,600 for track team this spring where he tied for 14th in the prelims... Has PR of 4:12.64 in 1,600 from state championship finals as a junior... Won section title in the event last year as well... Qualified for 2011 state cross country championships where he finished 42nd among 183 runners... Advanced to the title meet after winning league and section individual titles... Was second in section meet as a junior... All-Capital Valley Conference honoree for both cross country and track and field squads... Also earned All-City honors for cross country.... Team had a pair of top-five finishes at state meet during his career... Holds school records in 1,600 and 3-mile run (14:22).
SHANE RYAN (Sprints, jumps, Ventura, Calif./Ventura HS '12)
Went to CIF-Southern Section Championships in the high jump, finishing eighth... Has career-best mark of 6-7.92 from Mt. Sac Relays in April, finishing fourth... Also went 6-6 in dual with Santa Barbara HS... Posted 49.74 PR in 400 during Channel League Finals in May... Also ran 200 and 4x400 for Cougars... Won Ventura County and Channel League high jump titles as a senior and was league titlist in 400 by more than a half-second.
PRAISE ADESIDA (Throws, Martinez, Calif./Alhambra HS '12)
Won four varsity letters in track and field for Alhambra HS.... Advanced to the CIF State Meet Prelims in discus this spring after PR of 141-0 in discus at CIF-North Coast Section Meet of Champions... Also earned spot in Meet of Champions in shot put after season-best mark of 41-3 in NCS Tri-Valley Championships... Won both events at the latter meet, taking the discus by more than five feet over the nearest competitor and the discus by more than 20 feet... Team MVP and multiple all-league certificates... MVP thrower for her team as a freshman... Four-year Scholar-Athlete.
SIOBHAN ANDERSON (Pole vault, Santa Rosa, Calif./Maria Carillo HS '12)
Standout pole vaulter for Maria Carrillo HS who finished 17th at the CIF State Championship Prelims in June... Won the North Coast Section Redwood Empire Championships with career-best mark of 12-5... It was the second time this past season she cleared the 12-foot barrier after also doing so at the Amador Sprint Festival in March... Finished third at the NCS Meet of Champions and Woody Wilson Invitational... Advanced to the state meet as junior as well.
ERIKA BARR (Distances, Simi Valley, Calif./Simi Valley HS '12)
Participated in both cross country and track and field for Simi Valley HS, advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Prelims in the 1,600 as a senior... Posted a PR of 5:00.98 in the event during her junior year, placing sixth at the section finals... Also has career-best of 10:56.98 in 3,200 from section prelims in 2011... Competed at prestigious Nike Cross Country Nationals in December... Was fifth in her heat at Div. II section cross country prelims and 17th at the finals... Finished third at prelims during her junior year.
CHRISTINE HOFFMAN (Distances, San Luis Obispo, Calif./San Luis Obispo HS '12)
Earned varsity letters in both cross country and track and field for San Luis Obispo HS... Advanced to the state meet in 3,200 and had PR of 10:31.73 in 3,200 during the season... Posted PR of 5:04 for the 1,600 as well... Two-time San Luis Obispo County champion in cross country while capturing Pac-7 title as well in 2011... Was second at CIF-Southern Section Div. III Finals in 2010 and third as a senior... Went on to state finals where she was eighth and 10th, respecitvely... League MVP... Team captain... 4.44 weighted GPA... California Scholarship Federation member, honor roll, and winner of Mayor's Award for Community Service.
NICOLE LANE (Distances, Forestville, Calif./El Molino HS '12)
Two-sport standout in cross country and track and field for El Molino HS... Finished seventh among Div. IV runners at California State Cross Country Championships during senior season... Was also a state championship participant in 2011, placing 19th in Div. IV... Press-Democrat Runner of the Year in 2011 along with All-Empire first-team and All-Nor Cal second-team honors... Sonoma County League and CIF-NCS Section titlist a senior... State meet qualifier this past season in 1,600 after 5:02.41 PR in NCS Meet of Champions... Posted 11:00.65 PR in 3,200 at Meet of Champions... 1,600 and 3,200 titles for Sonoma County League and NCS Redwood Empire Championships... Team MVP, All-Empire selection... AP Scholar Award... NCS Scholar-Athlete for both cross country and track and field.
DANIELLE STEFFEN (Pole vault, Petaluma, Calif./Petaluma HS '12)
Four-time varsity letterwinner for Petaluma HS, specializing in the pole vault... Had career-best mark of 12-0.50 at the North Coast Section Redwood Empire Championships in May, advancing to the NCS Meet of Champions... Had a mark of 11-9 at the Meet of Champions during junior season... Multiple All-Empire first-team honors and an honorable mention nod as a freshman... State meet qualifier in the pole vault in 2011... Career included pole vault, triple jump and long jump titles at the Sonoma County League Championships... Captured the 2012 California State Indoor Championship in pole vault... Petaluma HS Female Field Athlete of the Year... Student of the Month at Petaluma HS for March... Honor roll.
ANNA WELSH (Distances, Monterey, Calif./Monterey HS '12)
Varsity letterwinner for both cross country and track and field at Monterey HS.... Highlighed senior cross country season with ninth-place finish in California State Div. II Championships... Won a trio of Monterey Bay Athletic League titles and was third in her section at the Mt. Sac Cross Country Invitational in October... Had career-best time of 18:51 for three-mile race in 2011... Also advanced to the state meet as a sophomore and junior... Captured 3,200 league title this spring and advanced to CIF-Central Coast Section semifinals... Had 10:44.52 PR in event at 2011 Stanford Invitational... Has 5:01.82 PR in 1,600, also from 2011 season... Was fifth at CCS Championships in 3,200... Team Captian... Helped lead team to league titles in both sports... Member of school orchestra.
JULIA YANG (Distances, San Diego, Calif./Westview HS)
Four-year letterwinner for both cross country and track and field at Westview HS... Advanced to the California State Cross Country Championships in both 2011 and 2012, finishing with a 18:53 PR and 44th-place showing among Div. II runners as a junior... Was sixth at the section finals during junior season.... All-Palomoar League, all-section and team MVP during her cross country career... Named Track Athlete of the Year three times and was Westview Athlete of the Year for 2012... On track, has PR's of 2:15.48 for the 800., 4:58.11 for 1,600 and 11:10.90 for the 3,200... Advanced to the state meet prelims this spring in the 1,600 and sectional prelims in the 800 after taking third in the former at the section meet... Won league title in the 800 during senior season... Member of California Scholarship Federation.
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