MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (July 24, 2015) – The second largest recruiting class in Milligan College cross-country and track & field history will join the Buffaloes for 2015-16, announced Head Coach Chris Layne.
The full list of 21 names, along with their hometowns and previous schools, can be found below.
“Recruiting is the cornerstone to developing and sustaining a successful program,” Layne said. “With the talent in this class, we’ve been able to address a number of needs on the field of play, but what also stands out with this group of young adults is what they bring to the table off the field through their focus on academics and character. The fit is important across the board and we’re confident these student-athletes will be great ambassadors for Buff Nation.”
Layne said his coaching staff put a strong emphasis this year on the men’s side, and they added 14 new men’s team members as a result. Among the newcomers, Issac Carson (decathlon/Tennessee), Jay Solinger (mile/Kentucky) and Tyler Mayes (100m hurdles/Tennessee) have experience at the state championship level, each finishing in the top 10 in their respective events/states.
Additionally, Solinger and fellow miler Luke Boeche will aid Milligan’s distance events and the cross-country program as they both run the 5k in under 16:30.
“This is a group of young men that is going to help us at both the conference and national level,” Layne said. Last year’s squad took 21st nationally and was the top Appalachian Athletic Conference school at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships.
Local talent will add depth to Milligan’s sprints and throws corps as Science Hill High School’s Jamichael Glass (sprints) and Christian Magee (sprints), along with Johnson County High School’s Jake Greer (throws), have all signed letters of intent to join the Milligan Buffs.
Adding depth to Milligan’s cross-country team are Knoxville natives Carson Kirby and Hunter Lewis, both of Bearden High School, along with Bradley Mathis of Cumberland County High School and Eric Shull of Franklin County High School.
Coming from outside Tennessee are Andrew Sheppard of Cayuga, Indiana, and Mark Stair of Wooster, Ohio. Sheppard is a thrower who competed at North Vermillion High School while Stair owns a high jump personal best 6-foot-9 which he recorded at Wooster College. Stair’s high jump mark will come in topping the national championship qualifying standard and the Milligan record.
Milligan’s recruiting class on the women’s side is highlighted by distance standout Jepkorir Mitei of Eldoret, Kenya. Mitei holds a 5k personal best 18:36 and is one several future Buffs with a high ceiling.
“Jepkorir certainly stands out in this class of women,” Layne said, “but when we look at the group as a whole and forecast potential, we’re excited about what we see 2-3 years down the road after they’ve been able to come in and develop.”
Like the men’s side, Milligan’s cross-country and track & field women’s teams will be deep with local talent. Alissa Furches of South Greene High School ranked in the top 40 at the Tennessee State Cross-Country Championships and holds a 5k personal best 20:47. Stephanie Coffey (sprints) of Johnson County High School, BreAnna Rimer (sprints) of Cherokee High School and Grace Owen (jumps) of University High will also look to make an immediate impact.
Owen is one of two incoming cross-country/track Buffs with an older sibling already on campus. Owen is the younger sister of middle distance runner Carly Owen, while Kaitlynn Ellis is the younger sister of Brandon Ellis. The latter Ellis was the AAC cross-country runner of the year and took home the national runner-up in the marathon at the end of the most recent track & field season.
Stephanie Coffey (Mountain City, Tenn./Johnson County HS)
Kaitlynn Ellis (Sapulpa, Okla./Sapulpa HS)
Alissa Furches (Greeneville, Tenn./South Greene HS)
Jeptorir Mitei (Eldoret, Kenya)
Grace Owen (Johnson City, Tenn./University High)
BreAnna Rimer (Rogersville, Tenn./Cherokee HS)
Victoria Nelson (Seymour, Tenn./Seymour HS)
Luke Boeche (Seminole, Fla./Indian Rocks Christian)
Issac Carson (Mosheim, Tenn./West Greene HS)
Wyatt Fedorka (Mooresville, N.C./Lake Norman HS)
Jamichael Glass (Johnson City, Tenn./Science Hill HS)
Jake Greer (Mountain City, Tenn./Johnson County HS)
Carson Kirby (Knoxville, Tenn./Bearden HS)
Hunter Lewis (Knoxville, Tenn./Bearden HS)
Christian Magee (Johnson City, Tenn./Science Hill HS)
Bradley Mathis (Crossville, Tenn./Cumberland County HS)
Tyler Mayes (Rogersville, Tenn./Cherokee HS)
Andrew Sheppard (Cayuga, Ind./North Vermillion HS)
Eric Shull (Winchester, Tenn./Franklin County HS)
Jay Solinger (Simpsonville, Ky./Martha Layne Collins HS)
Mark Stair (Wooster, Ohio/Wooster HS)