April 13, 2007
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Four standout distance runners, including a 2007 qualifier in the prestigious Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals, have signed letters-of-intent with the Vanderbilt women's track and field program, Commodore distance coach Steve Keith announced.
The class includes Rita Jorgenson of White Station High School in Memphis, Tenn.; Carolyn Bell of McKinney Christian Academy in McKinney, Texas; Haley Kolff of Holy Innocents' Episcopal School in Atlanta, Ga.; and Erin Guglielmo of Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Ga.
The newest additions to Vanderbilt's female distance corps were announced by Keith on Friday. The commitments are part of the first Commodore signing class developed by Keith, who has enjoyed considerable successes coaching several Vanderbilt runners since accepting the distance position last summer.
"First recruiting classes are always very special and I feel that this group, the 2007 grads, will provide an excellent base for years to come," Keith said. "Everyone of these girls is a state champion and they will bring that championship mentality and expectation to our program. I can't wait to get started."
"We are trying to build a foundation for years to come and I believe that we are well on our way. These young women are great students, super competitors and truly love to run which are the qualities we need in order to run for Southeastern Conference and national titles," Keith added.
A brief bio of each commitment, along with quotes from Coach Keith follows:
White Station High School
Personal Bests: 2:13.94 (800 meters); 4:53.74 (1600 meters); 10:35.55 (3,200 meters); 17:41 (three miles, cross country); 17:23 (5,000 meters, cross country)
Jorgenson, one of the South's most accomplished and versatile distance runners, headlines the spring signees. A product of the same school that produced 2007 Vanderbilt football signee Chris Marve, Jorgenson has traveled the country competing against the nation's top prep runners.
Last November, after finishing second at the Tennessee state cross country championships, Jorgenson ran a superb race at the Foot Locker South Region meet in Charlotte, N.C., running a 5,000-meter personal record of 17:23 to claim eighth place overall. The finish earned Jorgenson a trip to San Diego two weeks later for the Foot Locker Nationals where she finished 38th overall.
On the track, the versatile Jorgenson produces outstanding performances at important occasions. Jorgenson's outdoor career bests at 800 meters, 2:13.94, and 1,600 meters, 4:53.74, came last year at the Tennessee state championships. Her best effort at 3,200 meters, 10:35.55, came at the Nike Indoor Nationals in Maryland.
Coach Keith of Jorgenson: "A high level of athletic accomplishment combined with some very nice academic credentials made Rita a very sought after recruit. I'm extremely happy and proud that Rita has decided to attend Vanderbilt. As a runner, I like Rita's range from the 800 up through 5K cross country. Rita should have an immediate impact both within our program and in the SEC."
McKinney Christian Academy
Personal Bests: 5:17 (1600 meters); 11:21.35 (3200 meters); 17:58 (5000 meters)
Bell is a multiple state champion in Texas' Association of Private and Parochial Schools classification, winning the TAPPS 2A state cross country individual title on four occasions, and capturing the 1600 and 3200 meters competitions in track and field. This year, she ranks among metro Dallas' top high school runners in the 1600 and 3200.
Coach Keith on Bell: "Coming from a small school in Texas, Carolyn hasn't always had a lot of competition but she has responded well to this limitation and I look for her to really thrive within our program. Carolyn is yet another state champion who knows what it takes to be successful."
Collins Hill High School
Personal Bests: 2:19.02 (800 meters); 5:11.63 (1600 meters); 11:10.40 (3200 meters); 18:55.35 (5000 meters, track); 19:00.85 (5000 meters, cross country
Guglielmo helped powerful Collins Hill to multiple Georgia cross country state championships. Last fall, she finished third overall behind teammate Jackie Drouin at the GHSA AAAAA cross country meet, running a PR of 19:00.85. At the 2005 Georgia state cross country competition, she finished second to Drouin, again helping Collins Hill to the overall title. As a sophomore, Guglielmo finished sixth in the 1600 meters at the GHSA AAAAA Track and Field Championships, running 5:18:38. She also ran 2:19.02 in the 800 as a junior.
Coach Keith on Gugliemo: " I look for Erin to be a strong contributor. She has produced excellent performances at important competitions, with second and third place individual finishes at the Georgia HS 5A State Cross Country Meet. Erin's range on the track, as well, is excellent from the 800 through 3200 meters."
Holy Innocents' Episcopal School
Personal Bests: 2:19.38 (800); 5:08.75 (1600); 11:10.87 (3200); 18:54 (5000, cross county)
Kolff was a dual individual winner at the 2006 Georgia AA Track and Field Championships, capturing the 800 in a personal best, then earning the 1600-meter title in a near PR. As a freshman and sophomore, Kolff was the Georgia AA 1600-meter and 3200-meter outdoor champion.
Coach Keith on Kolff: "As a multiple state champion, both as an individual and part of a team, Haley brings a wealth of experience to our program. Haley is definitely a team player and I know she looks forward to a nice large freshman group with whom she can train and compete."