Head coach Nathan Taylor announced the addition of 19 student-athletes to Cornell’s men’s track and field and cross country teams as the Class of 2016. The new members, who represent eight states and two countries, look to begin contributing to the team as soon as possible.
Stephen Afadapa joins the Red, looking to contribute to the team’s jumps unit. A four-year track athlete in high school, the Texas native was a consistent 6-8 jumper during his senior season, saving his best performance for the most important meets at the end of the year, where he recorded a personal best 6-11. He finished third at the 5A Texas State championships in the high jump, and his team earned the division champion title in 2012. Afadapa also earned individual honors in 2012, becoming the district and region high jump champion.
Samuel Baxter adds some international flair to the team, coming to Cornell from St. Mary’s, Ontario. He was one of the top distance runners in Ontario, as well as the rest of Canada, when he completed a two-mile run in 9:12.
Matt Crawford joins the team after finishing as the New York State runner-up in the 600-meter indoors. The Bethlehem, N.Y. resident ran 1:21 at the Barton Hall, ranking him among the Top-10 nationally. Crawford posted multiple 1:53 800-meter races during the outdoor season.
Brian Eimstad is another talented distance runner joining the already acclaimed roster. The Oregon native ran 9:12 for the two-mile. Eimstad also won a cross country state title with South Eugene in 2011, and finished as the state runner up as an individual. He served as captain of both the cross country and track and field teams, and was a finalist for the Nike-Steve Prefontaine Prep Distance Runner of the Year Award.
Hailing from North Carolina, Larry Gibson will bring his talents to the sprints division. His best event in high school was the 400, where he ran 48.31 and won a state championship. Gibson also shows promise through the range, as he led his team to a state championship and ran on three nationally-ranked relays. Another highlight of his high school career was running the 800 in 1:53.
Max Hairston looks to add depth to the Red’s sprints and hurdles talents. The Pennsylvania native experienced a very successful indoor season as a senior, where he ran 7.98 for the 60-meter hurdles and anchored his team to a second-place finish in the state 4x400 relay with a 48.0 split. Hairston’s outdoor season was cut short due to an injury, despite his running 14.08 and 37.99 in the 300 hurdles to place in both events.
Connor Herr joins Cornell after running cross country and track for four years at Shawnee High School. The New Jersey runner finished the year as one of the top high school cross country runners in the Northeast. He placed 21st at Footlocker Regionals, after placing Top-5 at the New Jersey State meet. Herr was a conference champion all four years in cross country, and earned a South Jersey Group 4 team title as a sophomore. He had a personal best of 9:23 in the two-mile and was named the Group 3 Indoor 3,200-meter champion. He was also named All-Burlington County three times.
Ryan Hynes was a state champion in the 100, posting a 10.65 during his senior year. The Pennsylvania native also shows potential in the hurdles — he ran 37.22 and long jumped just under 23 feet.
Logan Kreglow looks to join the ranks of elite decathletes. Despite missing his senior season due to recovering from knee surgery, Kreglow demonstrated his diverse potential by running 14.44 and jumping 6-6 as a junior. He hold the Whitehall High School record in the 110 hurdles and the high jump. He was named First Team All-Conference in 2012 and played football and basketball for four and three years, respectively.
Ben Rainero comes to Cornell from California, where he ran 4:13 at the California State meet in 2011, placing 11th overall. A distance runner, Rainero placed 12th at the USATF Junior National Championships in 2012.
Bryan Rhodes will join the Red as one of the top weight and hammer throwers in the United States. He was an All-American, posting a personal best of 70-3. A powerhouse, Rhodes placed fifth at the Emerging Elite Winter Nationals during his junior year. He finished first at the Long Island Elite weight throw the next year. He was the Eastern State Champion in the hammer throw and placed second in the shot put.
Robert Robbins comes to the Red as a sophomore transfer, looking to bring the Red success in the javelin division. He was a NCAA qualifier in 2012 with a personal best throw of 221 feet.
Praudman Singh looks to contribute his talents to the shot put. He has a personal best of just over 62 feet and is looking to focus on improving in the hammer throw, as well.
Wesley Tucker looks to get back up to speed, after suffering an injury during the latter part of his high school season. Despite the setback, he was the North Carolina runner-up in both hurdles events, with bests of 14.42 and 38.06.
Gavin Clark-Gartner comes to Ithaca boasting a personal best of 56.35 for the 400-meter hurdles. He was a five-year track athlete and four-year cross country runner. Clark-Gartner holds six indoor track records at Ichabod Crane, and won three indoor sectional titles during his time there.
Tyler Kawalec ran track and cross country throughout high school and competed in the Ohio state cross country championship in both 2010 and 2011. He was named All-Ohio cross country in 2011, as well as a district champion and a Cleveland Plain Dealer All-Star that same year. Kawalec also earned recognition as the Lake County News-Herald’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year in 2011. He enters this season with a personal best of 9:39 in the two-mile race.
Mitch Martin will join the Red, holding a personal best record of 4:19 in the mile.
A North Carolina native, George Oliver holds a personal best of 9:22 in the 3,200-meter race. He was primarily a distance runner for the four years he ran track in high school. Serving as team captain during his senior year, Oliver was named All-State Cross Country. He was recognized as All-Conference cross country three times. He was also a two-time 4x800 indoor state champion and an Emergine Elite 4x800 national champion.
Chris Groton is following in the footsteps of his older brother, Jonathan, who is also on the men’s track team. Groton is a strong thrower, reaching 53-7 in the shot put. He qualified for states during the winter 2011-2012 season and was named to the All-Selection and All-Country lists. The team captain qualified for the 2012 outdoor state meet, where he placed third in discus and fourth in shot put. Groton holds a school record in the shot put.