Feb. 16, 2011
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - University of Louisville men's and women's track and field coach Ron Mann announced Wednesday that four top-level athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Cardinals in the fall of 2011.
"Since we've come to the University of Louisville, our philosophy has been to work from the inside out," Mann says. "We want to recruit the best athletes from the state of Kentucky, and we've done that in our two Kentucky recruits. On our way out, we move on to the Midwest region and we're working that as well. Beyond that, we're working the best available athletes throughout the United States and worldwide from that basis."
A Youngwood, Pa., native, Rachel Serafin is one of the top throwers in the state of Pennsylvania. She won the three state titles as a junior in 2010: the indoor shot put, the outdoor shot put and the discus (also won in 2009). She became the only female in her high school's history to win a state title in the shot put. Serafin's top shot put mark of 14.42m/47-3.75, which she achieved in 2010, was the top-ranked junior mark in the state. She will graduate in May from Hempfield Area Senior High - the same high school as current Cardinal Weston Banks - after being coached by Dave Murray. A two-time indoor All-American in the shot put, she holds the top rank in the indoor shot put in the state and chose Louisville over Penn State, Texas Christian and Michigan State.
"Rachel is going to be an immediate impact for us in the throwing areas," Mann adds. "You don't replace D'Ana McCarty, but Rachel is going to go a long way in trying to make a move in that regard."
Andrew Stewart, a Radcliff, Ky., native, is a highly touted in-state recruit. Named the 2009 Kentucky United States of America Track and Field (USATF) Male Athlete of the Year, he holds the fifth-fastest time in the mile in the state of Kentucky and is listed as having the seventh fastest 800m time in state history. Tabbed captain of his track and field team this year as a senior, Stewart has accumulated multiple honors in track and cross country in his prep career at North Hardin High under coaches James Jackson, John Russell, James Webb and Leeland Warsaw.
"Andrew Stewart is a local kid, who I've seen run multiple times," Mann comments. "He's capable of doing some really great things. He's very versatile, competing in the 800m all the way through cross country. We look at him predominantly as a 1,500m specialist at the collegiate level. We felt very fortunate to get him at the University of Louisville. He's a great a student. He's the salutatorian of his class and is very close to a 4.0 grade-point average."
In cross country, he earned first team all-state honors twice, was named the News Enterprise Runner of the Year twice, won three conference titles and captured the regional title as a senior. On the track, he was even more impressive. As a freshman, he garnered second team all-state honors and won the 800m regional title, while qualifying for Nike Outdoor Nationals in the mile that year. A season later, he was named the News Enterprise Sophomore of the Year. Not only did he collect conference titles in the 800m and 1,600m, but he also won a regional title in the 800m and the 3,000m indoor state title. This past year, as a junior, he captured the 3,200m conference title and won the 800m regional title. Despite finishing third at the state tournament in the 800m, he broke the school record in the event. Additionally, that year, he took second in the 800m run at the New Balance Nationals Emerging Elite race and fourth in the mile.
A highly decorated distance runner, Megan Klein will make the 90-minute trip west to Louisville from Lexington, where she competed at Paul Laurence Dunbar High under coaches Phil Wilder and Killian Timoney and was a three-time academic all-state selection (2008-10).
Klein garnered multiple cross country honors in 2008 and 2009, including Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association all-state Super Team honors, first team all-state status twice, all-area and all-region honors, along with being named Bluegrass Runners Club Female Runner of the Year twice. Each year, she also won the regional cross country title to add to her accolades.
On the track side, she won four regional titles - one in 2008 (4x800m relay) and three in 2009 (1,600m, 3,200m and the 4x800m relay). Currently the school record-holder in the 1,600m (5:07.32), Klein was a New Balance Championships qualifier in 2010 in the steeplechase, where she finished 13th nationally. That same year, she was the Eastern Relays champion in the 2,000m steeplechase, which qualified her for nationals.
"Megan Klein, in our women's distance program, certainly is a need. We have Kim Grieshaber and Emily Borsare who are graduating, and Megan will be a nice addition as it relates to in-state recruiting."
The Cardinals also gain the services of Hannah Cox, who hails from Christian Academy of Knoxville in Knoxville, Tenn. She holds the school record in four different events: long jump, triple jump, pentathlon and the 4x200m relays.
One of the state of Tennessee's top jumpers, she was named to the 2010 MileSplit National Elite first team in the long jump. Cox, currently ranked in the top-25 nationally among seniors in the long jump, took 11th last year at the AAU National Junior Olympics in the event. She placed third at the state championships in the long jump, while registering a third-place finish in the 2x200m relays. For the second-straight year in 2010, she garnered all-region (long jump) and all-Knoxville Interscholastic League (long jump) Prep Xtra honors, along with the coaches' award as the top field athlete. At the 2009 state championships, she took runner-up in the long jump, finished third in the 2x400 relays and was fifth in the pentathlon.
"Hannah Cox is going to be a new dimension for us," Mann states. "She is a multi-event (pentathlon/heptathlon) athlete because she is good in a lot of different events, especially the pole vault. Specifically, we're recruiting her as a multi-event athlete. She comes very well-coached out of Tennessee, and we expect her to make an immediate impact in the BIG EAST Conference.
"We're a long way from being completely finished as it relates to recruiting, but certainly this is a great start and something that we will build upon. Track and field, historically, you recruit starting the first day of recruitment and ending in the middle of the summer. Generally, there's somebody who comes alive who you want late, so we've reserved some flexibility to do that."
For all of the latest information on Louisville cross country and track and field, log on to uoflsports.com, or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow the team's Twitter account at www.twitter.com/louisvilletrack.