Calif. - A total of five men and three women will be joining the UC
San Diego cross country program this fall, as head coach Nate Garcia announced
his 2010 recruiting class on Monday.
Representing the Triton men will be true freshmen Mario Flores (Bellflower, Calif.), Kellen Levy (Fresno, Calif.), Ben Rich (Fremont, Calif.), and Justin Wright (Chino Hills, Calif.), while Daniel Cooper (Chino Hills) will enroll at UCSD as a junior college transfer. Freshmen Jessica Chang (Anaheim, Calif.), Kamilah Foley (Misson Viejo, Calif.), and Kaity Malloy (Temecula, Calif.) will join the Triton women.
"We are extremely excited about this group of incoming student-athletes," Garcia said. "In addition to their obvious talent, they are each great competitors and teammates. They will all make great additions to the Triton Cross Country family."
Flores comes to UCSD following a very successful career at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif., where he was a four-year varsity letterwinner in both cross country and track. A two-time team captain, Flores led the Braves to four straight Trinity League championships and a CIF Southern Section D-II title in 2006. SJBHS went on to finish third at the State Championships that season. He owns personal bests of 15:10 in the three-mile, 15:57 at Mt. SAC, and 16:01 in the 5,000-meters.
"Mario had an extremely strong senior season putting up impressive marks as the year progressed," Garcia continued. "We anticipate him being able to be a CCAA scorer immediately on the track team and he should vie for a top spot on the cross country team, as well."
Levy just wrapped up his prep career at Clovis West High School in Fresno, Calif., where he was a state qualifier in cross country as a senior, finishing 22nd at the Division I State Championships with a time of 15:39 in the 5,000. He also placed 16th in the 3,200 at the California State Track and Field Championships after registering a personal best time of 9:16.58 this spring. Levy boasts a personal best of 15:24 for three miles on the Mt. SAC cross country course.
"Kellen brings with him one of the more impressive resumes in the history of the program, having posted a sub-9:20 3,200 time and qualifying for the California State Meet," Garcia said. "He backed this up with a very strong 1,600 performance, as well."
Rich joins the Tritons from Washington High School in Fremont, Calif., where he posted a cross country personal best of 15:55 in the 5,000 at Woodward Park. He was also very successful on the track, recording top times of 2:02 in the 800, 4:26 in the 1600 and 9:30 in the 3,200.
"Ben was extremely consistent throughout his career," Garcia added. "That physical maturity will enable him to be able to make a smooth transition to our program."
Wright was a four-time MVP and team captain of both the cross country and track teams at Ayala High School in Chino Hills, Calif. A two-time All-Sierra League selection, he led the Bulldogs to a seventh place finish at the State Cross Country Championships as a junior and went on to earn All-CIF Southern Section Division II accolades as a senior. He owns a personal best of 15:38 at the Mt. SAC course.
"Justin was a cross country specialist in high school," Garcia said. "He posted one of the fastest times among the incoming athletes on the challenging Mt SAC course, which is a great indication of his strength."
The final newcomer on the men's side will be Cooper, a transfer from Riverside Community College. An integral part of both the cross country and track and field programs at RCC, Cooper led the Tigers to back-to-back state championships in track and earned All-State distinction as a freshman in 2009. He recorded a personal best of 15:19 in the 5,000 at the Orange Empire Conference Championships this spring and went on to post the third-fastest steeplechase time in the state at 9:30.
"Daniel was one of the top steeplechasers in the state of California at the community college level the past two years and also excelled in the longer races," Garcia continued. "I have no doubt that his transition to the NCAA level will be an easy one."
Chang, a cross country and track standout at Esperanza High School in Anaheim, will be one of three new recruits on the women's side. She holds personal bests of 17:47 for the three-mile and 18:30 in the 5,000 in cross country, while registering individual records of 2:18 in the 800 and 5:06 in the 1,600 on the track. Chang was a four-time Distinguished Aztecs Award recipient and was the California Scholarship Federation Seal Bearer in 2010.
"Jessica comes to us from a very strong Esperanza program," commented Garcia. "She showed great cross country strength, while also posting fast track times in high school. She's an all-around athlete with good potential for growth."
Foley comes to La Jolla from Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she was an All-Sea View League First Team selection and a two-time Mustang Scholar athlete. A former teammate of current Triton harrier , Foley holds individual bests of 60.7 in the 400, 2:13.91 in the 800, 5:20 in the 1,600, 17:20 in the three-mile and 18:54 in the 5,000. She captained both her cross country and track and field teams as a senior last season.
"Kamilah was a great high school athlete, as well," Garcia said. "After a very successful fall campaign for Trabuco Hills, she really shined on the track in the spring, qualifying for Nike Track Nationals in the 800. Her marks will allow her to make an immediate impact with the team."
Lastly, Malloy will join the Tritons this fall following an impressive prep career at Great Oak High School in Temecula, Calif. A two-time team captain in both cross country and track, Malloy was an all-league selection for the Wolfpack in 2008 and went on to win the league title in the 800 in 2009. She registered personal bests of 2:17.22 in the 800 and 5:14 in the 1,600 on the track, as well as 18:04 in the three-mile during her career at GOHS.
"Kaity was a 1600-meter specialist this past spring, routinely running both relay and open races and really showing a willingness to work for the team," added Garcia. "But she was also able to take care of business personally. She will bring a great team mindset to the program."
UCSD opens the 2010 season with a home meet on Friday, September 3, before taking part in the UC Irvine Invitational the following weekend.
Daniel Cooper is the lone transfer in this year's class.