The Tennessee cross country/track and field program recently signed nine new faces on to the team’s roster for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The newcomers will include five men and four women, ranging from long jumpers and sprinters to long-distance cross country athletes.
Director of track and field and cross country Beth Alford-Sullivan says she is excited about the signees and feels that they may all play solid roles in progressing the program in years to come.
“We are a young team, so this is really going to fill us out nicely in all of the squads,” Alford-Sullivan said. “Cross country, indoor and outdoor, they'll fill us out nicely as we roll through next year."
As of right now, there is one member of the recruiting class who will be eligible to compete in the upcoming spring season. Sophomore Ingar Kiplesund, an international student from Norway, will join Tennessee’s spring lineup in January and be ready to compete for Tennessee in the long jump.
Kiplesund is a two-time Norwegian national champion in the long jump, with a personal best sitting at 25 feet and four-and-a-half inches.
In terms of recruiting, Alford-Sullivan suggested that it was a combined effort from everyone on the staff and credited some current student-athletes with bringing on the new talent.
“This is a great recruiting class coming into the University of Tennessee,” Alford-Sullivan said. “It is a reflection of the hard work of our coaching staff and our student-athletes in the recruiting process. These young people will represent the University of Tennessee track and field/cross country at the highest levels.”
Aside from Kiplesund, Tennessee’s remaining four male signees include sprinters Eric Allen Jr. from Maryland, Cameron Council hailing from North Carolina and dual-threat sprinter and jumper Cameron Murray from Atlanta, Georgia.
Eric Allen Jr. is the No. 2-ranked runner in the country in the 300-meter race heading into his senior year in high school. Cameron Council is ranked ninth in the 200-meter and decided to stick with track and field, even after receiving a whopping nine scholarship offers for football.
Cameron Murray has been ranked in the nation’s top five for hurdles and long jump, coming in at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.
On the women’s side, Akira Rhodes from North Carolina will be a welcome addition, along with Alonie Sutton from Alabama, who claimed the nationally-ranked spot of No. 3 in the triple jump.
As for cross country runners, the team will welcome three new faces: Sydney Seymour from Ohio, Karl Thiessen from Virginia and Katie Thronson from the Spokane, Washington on the West coast. Thiessen has been a two-time state champion for cross country, and Katie Thronson was a 2016 Foot Locker Cross Country Finalist who has won the Washington state cross country champion title.
The Tennessee track and field team will be holding its first exhibition meet at Indiana this December before jumping into the new season in the spring. The Indiana meet is set for Dec. 8.