EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon will welcome an impressive class of 14 newcomers, including seven from within Oregon’s borders, to the men’s track and field team next fall Head Coach Robert Johnson announced Wednesday.
The class of 2013 includes arguably the top distance recruit in the nation, Edward Cheserek of Newark, N.J., but also the national champion in the 5,000 meters and other individuals who were ranked in the top 10 nationally in the 100 meters, 110 meter hurdles, 300 meter hurdles, pole vault and the decathlon in 2012.
“We are very excited about the individuals who have chosen to become ‘Men of Oregon’,” said Johnson. “There is a lot of talent and potential among these individuals and we’re excited to begin working with them in the fall.
“This was a very important recruiting class for us in terms of not only finding the best talent out there, but also identifying the type of individuals who fit into our program. Our staff did an outstanding job of recruiting across the nation to bring these high-level student athletes to Eugene.”
Cheserek recently broke the U.S. high school indoor two-mile mark by running 8:39.15 at the Millrose Games. He also holds the national prep record in the indoor 5,000 meters (13:57.04) and ranks among the all-time top 10 high school performances in the mile, 10,000 meters and 3,000 meter steeplechase.
Jake Leingang was the national 5,000 meter champion (14:26.16) at the 2012 New Balance Track and Field Championships.
The Ducks landed an impressive haul of distance and middle distance state Gatorade athletes of the year, including Jackson Darland of Eugene, Ore., Bryan Fernandez of Goleta, Calif., and Travis Neuman of Bend, Ore., as well as Leingang and Cheserek.
Others bolstering the distance and middle distance group will be Dan Oekerman of Beaverton, Ore., Samuel Prakel of Versailles, Ohio, and Brett Willyard of Seaside, Ore.
Oregon also added in the field with promising pole vaulter Cole Walsh of Phoenix, Ariz., and thrower Cullen Prena of Walled Lake, Mich.
Oregon’s decathlon group will nearly double with the additions of Joe Delgado of Ontario, Ore., and Mitch Modin of Bend, Ore.
In addition to the 13 who signed with Oregon track and field on Wednesday, recent football signees Devon Allen and Thomas Tyner are headed to Oregon with goals of carrying on the Ducks’ long-standing two-sport tradition that dates back to All-American Mel Renfro and continued with recent stars such as De’Anthony Thomas, LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner and Jordan Kent.
Allen ranked fourth nationally in the 110 meters hurdles in 13.52 and had a wind-aided mark of 13.32 that led the nation. He was also fifth nationally in the 300 meter hurdles (36.59) and 200 meters (20.75).
Tyner set the Oregon state record in the 100 meters by running 10.43 in 2011.
DEVON ALLEN, PHOENIX, ARIZ./BROPHY COLLEGE PREP
Prep Bests: 100 Meters - 10.48w; 200 Meters - 20.75; 400 Meters - 48.45; 110 Hurdles - 13.32w; 300 Hurdles - 36.39.
A 2013 Oregon football signee at wide receiver, Allen is also a polished sprinter and hurdler, breaking 14.00 in the 110 meter hurdles eight times last year.
In 2012, he ranked fourth nationally in the 110 hurdles with a wind-legal time of 13.52. His wind-aided best, 13.32 would have led all high schoolers a year ago.
Allen also ranked fifth nationally in both the 300 hurdles (36.59) and the 200 meters (20.75) in 2012, while his legal 100 time, 10.49, was 22nd.
He was named the 2012 Arizona Gatorade Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year after winning state titles in both the 110 (13.58) and 300 (36.94) hurdles and finishing as the runner-up at both 100 (10.49) and 200 (20.75) meters. Allen scored 36 of Brophy College Prep’s winning 63 points.
After the high school season, Allen went on to the USA Junior Championships where he took third in the 110 hurdles (13.66) and fourth in the 200 meters (21.04).
Allen had a big day at the 2012 Arcadia Invitational, where he set his legal prep bests in the 110 (13.52) and 300 (36.39) hurdles. Those times were both Arizona state records and were two of his five wins at the meet. He also captured the 200 meters (21.10) and ran on the winning 4x100 and shuttle hurdle relays.
As a sophomore in 2011, Allen was second in both the 200 meters and 110 hurdles, third in the 100 meters and fourth in the 400 meters.
EDWARD CHESEREK, NEWARK, N.J./ST. BENEDICT’S PREP
Prep Bests: 800 Meters - 1:49.98; 1,500 Meters - 3:55.53; Mile - 4:02.21i; 3,000 Meters - 8:13.88i; Two-Mile - 8:39.15i; 5,000 Meters - 13:57.04i; 10,000 Meters - 29:42.31; 3,000 Meter Steeplechase - 9:00.11.
Arguably the nation’s top distance recruit, Cheserek signed with the Ducks after having broken the 49 year-old boys’ national indoor high school two-mile record Saturday at the Millrose Games in New York City. The native of Kenya finished in 8:39.15 to take down the 8:40 run by Gerry Lindgren of Rogers High in Spokane, Wash., in 1964.
Cheserek was the 2013 Gatorade National Cross Country Runner of the Year and hasn’t lost a cross country race since 2010, when he finished second as a freshman at the Nike National Championships.
Since then, he has won two Footlocker national cross country titles, becoming just the fourth boy to win twice. Impressively, Cheserek broke cross country course records in 12 of his 21 career high school starts.
Overall, Cheserek is an eight time high school national champion for St. Benedict’s Prep.
In addition to breaking the national indoor two-mile mark, which ranks fourth in all conditions, Cheserek also holds the national indoor record in the 5,000 meters, 13:57.04, a time that is No. 7 in all conditions. He is also ranked second in the indoor mile (4:02.21), fifth in the 3,000 meter steeplechase (9:00.11) and eighth in the 10,000 meters (29:42.31).
JACKSON DARLAND, EUGENE, ORE./SHELDON HIGH SCHOOL
Prep Bests: 800 Meters - 1:54.80; 1,500 Meters - 3:55.38.
Another in a long line of local products to sign with the Ducks, Darland was the 2012 Oregon 6A state cross country champion for Sheldon High School, covering the 5,000 meter course in 15:40. He was named Oregon’s 2012 Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year.
On the track, Darland was the state runner-up in the 1,500 meters as a junior in 2012 and has a personal best of 3:55.38 in the event.
JOE DELGADO, ONTARIO, ORE./ONTARIO HIGH SCHOOL
Prep Bests: 110 Hurdles - 14.71; 300 Hurdles - 38.24; Long Jump - 22-9.5; Decathlon - 6,508.
Delgado swept the hurdles at the 2012 Oregon State 4A Championships, taking the 110 in 14.83 and the 300 in a prep best 38.24. He was also the runner-up in the long jump at 22-7.25. Earlier in 2012, he had bests of 14.71 in the 110 hurdles (Heinz Invitational) and 22-9.5 in the long jump (Greater Oregon League District Meet).
Delgado also captured the state 4A title in the 300 hurdles as a freshman in 2010 (39.47) and was fourth in the state in the long jump both his freshman and sophomore seasons. Additionally he was second in the 300 and third in the 100 hurdles as a sophomore in 2011.
Delgado’s future may lie in the decathlon after scoring 6,508 points in a win at the 2011 USATF Junior Olympic intermediate decathlon.
BRYAN FERNANDEZ, GOLETA, CALIF./DOS PUEBLOS HIGH SCHOOL
Prep Bests: 3,000 Meters - 8:49.07; 3,200 Meters - 9:14.55; Three-Mile - 14:05.77; 5,000 Meters - 15:09.00.
Fernandez was undefeated in cross country in 12 prep races in the fall, including the prestigious Mt. SAC Invitational, as he won the California Division 5 state title for Dos Pueblos High School. During the 2012 cross country season, he broke the Seaside Invitational course record held by Meb Kefleghzi and Louie Quintana by running 14:05 over three miles and also set the Channel League course mark in 14:21.
He was named the 2012 Gatorade California Cross Country Runner of the Year.
On the track, Fernandez was third in the 3,200 meters at the California state championships in 9:14.55 as a junior in 2012.
JAKE LEINGANG, BISMARCK, N.D./BISMARCK HIGH SCHOOL
Prep Bests: Mile - 4:10.60; 3,200 Meters - 8:51.23; 5,000 Meters - 14:26.16.
Leingang was the 2012 national high school champion at 5,000 meters and is a nine-time North Dakota state champion for Bismarck High School. He won the 5,000 in a personal best 14:26.16 at the 2012 New Balance Track and Field Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. That time was third-fastest among high schoolers in 2012.
He also won the last three North Dakota state cross country titles, as Bismarck extended its run of state championships to eight last fall. Leingang has been honored with three straight Gatorade North Dakota Cross Country Runner of the Year honors.
Following the 2012 high school cross country season, he won races at the Footlocker Midwest Regional and Nike Heartland Regional before taking third at the national Footlocker XC Championships.
Leingang won his first state title on the track as a freshman in 2010, taking the 3,200 meters in 9:27.16. As a sophomore, he added the cross country title and doubled up with wins in both the 1,600 (4:19.24) and 3,200 (9:43.15) at the state track meet.
He repeated that feat as a junior in cross country, the 1,600 (4:13.62) and the 3,200 (9:34.19) and added a fourth title by running a leg on the winning 3,200 meter relay team.
MITCH MODIN, BEND, ORE./MOUNTAIN VIEW HIGH SCHOOL
Prep Bests: 200 Meters - 22.30; High Jump - 6-6; Long Jump - 22-7.5; Decathlon - 6,341.
Modin, a multi-sport star from the same high school as decathlon Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton, had the 10th best prep decathlon score in the nation in 2012 with 6,341 points, which he scored at a USATF Junior Olympics regional meet. He then went on to place third at the Junior Olympic national meet (6,294).
He scored in four events for Mountain View High School at the 2012 Oregon 5A State Championships, the 200 (third), high jump (eighth), long jump (fifth) and 4x400 meter relay (seventh).
Modin also excelled on the basketball court for Mountain View and was recently named a McDonald’s High School All-American
TRAVIS NEUMAN, BEND, ORE./SUMMIT HIGH SCHOOL
Prep Bests: 1,500 Meters - 4:03.90; 3,000 Meters - 8:57.75.
Newman won back-to-back Oregon 5A state cross country titles in 2011 and 2012, leading Summit High School to state crowns both years. He was named the 2012 Gatorade Oregon Cross Country Runner of the Year.
Newman was the state runner-up in cross country as a sophomore.
He impressed at an early age by scoring as a freshman at the state track meet in both the 1,500 and 3,000 meters.
DAN OEKERMAN, BEAVERTON, ORE./BEAVERTON HIGH SCHOOL
Prep Bests: 1,500 Meters - 3:55.36; 3,000 Meters - 8:36.87.
Oekerman was the 2012 Oregon 6A state champion at 3,000 meters for Beaverton High School. He won the state meet in 8:40.16 after running a prep-best 8:36.87 at the Centennial Invitational earlier in the season. He was also fifth in the 1,500 meters at the state meet.
In cross country, Oekerman was the state runner-up in 2012 and took third in 2011.
SAMUEL PRAKEL, VERSAILLES, OHIO/VERSAILLES HIGH SCHOOL
Prep Bests: 1,600 Meters - 4:10.33; 3,200 Meters - 9:16.14.
Prakel is a two-time Ohio Division III state champion in cross country (2011-12) for Versailles High School and also captured the 1,600 meters (4:10.33) and the 3,200 meters (9:16.14) at the 2012 state track meet.
He then went on to finish fourth in the mile at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in 4:11.82.
Prakel was named a 2012 Wendy’s High School Heisman winner, as well as the Ohio Gatorade Runner of the Year.
He was also a Footlocker Nationals qualifier in 2012.
CULLEN PRENA, WALLED LAKE, MICH./WALLED LAKE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL
Prep Bests: Shot Put - 57-2.5i; Discus - 188-9; Weight Throw - 59-10.
Prena won the 2012 USATF Junior Olympics national championship in the discus with a throw of 185-4.
He placed second in the discus and third in the shot put at the 2012 Michigan state championships for Walled Lake Central High School. He set his personal best in the discus, 188-9, at the 2012 Oxford Invitational.
Prena also recently set a personal best in the shot put with a toss of 57-2.5 at the MITS meet at Michigan. That came on the heels of an indoor PR in the weight throw of 59-10 last month.
THOMAS TYNER, ALOHA, ORE./ALOHA HIGH SCHOOL
Prep Bests: 100 Meters - 10.35 nwi; 200 Meters - 21.41.
Tyner, another football signee who will compete in both sports at Oregon, set the state record in the 100 meters as a sophomore by running 10.43. That mark ranked 11th nationally in 2011 and broke the state record set by 2012 U.S. Olympian Ryan Bailey.
He timed an all-conditions best of 10.35 at the 2011 Metro League Championships (no wind information available) before going on to take the 6A state title in a meet record 10.48. He also anchored Aloha High School’s state win in the 4x100 meter relay (41.82).
As a freshman in 2010, Tyner was second at the state meet in the 100 (10.54).
On the football field, Tyner was a first-team Parade and USA Today All-American running back for Aloha. The five-star prospect and two-time 6A OSAA state offensive player of the year ran for a single-season state-record 3,415 yards his senior year.
COLE WALSH, PHOENIX, ARIZ./BROPHY COLLEGE PREP
Prep Bests: Pole Vault - 16-5.
Walsh won the pole vault at the Arizona Meet of Champions with a clearance at 16-5 for Brophy College Prep.
He had that clearance following a runner-up finish at 16-3 at the Arizona Division I State Championships.
Walsh began 2012 with a clearance at 14-0 and then progressed to 14-9, 15-6, 16-1 and 16-3 before finishing the year at 16-5, a height that ranked 18th nationally.
More recently during the 2013 indoor season, Walsh again cleared 16-5 at Northern Arizona’s meet, which ranks fifth nationally.
BRETT WILLYARD, SEASIDE, ORE./SEASIDE HIGH SCHOOL
Prep Bests: 800 Meters - 1:52.60; 1,500 Meters - 3:56.20; 3,000 Meters - 8:38.14.
After finishing as the Oregon state 4A runner-up in the 800 meters two years in a row for Seaside High School, Willyard broke through with a pair of wins at 1,500 and 3,000 meters in 2012. Both came in personal best times, 3:56.20 in the 1,500 and 8:38.14 in the 3,000.
Willyard also posted an 800 PR in 2012 of 1:52.60 at the 2012 Portland Track Festival.
In cross country, Willyard was sixth at the state meet as a senior last fall.