T&F: Bearcats Sign Four to National Letters of Intent|
April 20, 2017
CINCINNATI - Four more high school standouts have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers with the University of Cincinnati track & field/cross country program, Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Susan Seaton announced today. All four individuals will be on campus this fall for the start of the 2017-18 academic year and bring this year’s signing class to 10.
“The recruiting class that we are adding with our April signees is a welcomed addition and really gives the Bearcats one of the best men’s signing classes we have had in recent history while also adding some depth on the women’s distance side,” Seaton said. “I am particularly excited with the balance in this signing class. We are covering a lot of different event areas this year. What excites me the most about the April signees is I believe they all have a lot of upward potential and, combined with the fall signing class, we feel this is a very solid signing class. On the women’s side, we are only graduating two seniors, so there isn’t going to be a lot of turn over there. The men, however, this strong class coming in will really help us to step it up in conference competition and hopefully get some people to compete at the national level right out of the gate.”
The latest additions to this year’s signing group include Sam Mikula (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Watterson HS), who will join the women’s distance program, and three men’s track athletes, including Connor Duricky (Mentor, Ohio/Lake Catholic HS) in the short sprints and hurdles; Jeremy Hayton (Hillsboro, Ohio/Hillsboro HS) in the high jump; and Cannon Riddle (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby HS) in the high and long jumps.
Mikula comes to Cincinnati by way of Columbus’ Bishop Watterson High School where she has competed with the cross country, track & field and soccer programs. This past winter, during the indoor track and field season, Mikula continued to impress as she lowered 1,600m time and placed ninth in the state championships. A two-time Central Catholic League champion, Mikula captured the conference’s title in cross country in both 2014 and 2016.
“I am very excited to add Sam to our growing women’s distance program,” Lara Crofford, UC assistant coach for women’s cross country and track & field said of her newest addition. “She was a multi-sport athlete in high school, balancing soccer with cross country, and now, with the ability to focus solely on running, we should see a lot of growth from her in a short period of time. She has tremendous potential and I expect her to make an immediate impact starting this fall.”
Duricky is currently racing for Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, Ohio, where he ranks among the Top 35 nationally in a pair of hurdle events. A three-time New Balance National Championships participant where he placed third nationally in the outdoor 110m hurdles one year ago. On the state level, Duricky placed sixth at the OHSAA outdoor meet in 2016 in both the 110m hurdles and the 300m hurdles after winning both events at the conference level. He ended his most recent indoor season ranked 33rd nationally in the 60m hurdles (8.06) and entered the 2017 outdoor season ranked 27th in the 400m hurdles (53.34).
“We are so excited to have Connor joining our men’s program,” said Nadine Faustin-Parker, UC assistant coach in sprints, hurdles and relays. “He will have great training partners and can immediately impact the program in his first year. He is coming from high school as a strong short and long hurdler and we look forward to having him with us.”
Hayton comes to Cincinnati from Hillsboro High School where he has excelled in the high jump. This past indoor season, Hayton captured the Division II/III state title in the high jump. Earlier in the year, he climbed over 6’ 9”, which tied him for the 12th-best mark in the nation this season. He also was the 14th-place finisher at the 2017 New Balance Indoor Championships.
“Jeremy literally elevated his high jump game this past indoor season,” high jump event coach and UC Associate Head Coach Chris Wineberg said. “He had the highest jump in the state of Ohio during the indoor season with a clearance of 6’ 9” and, in all eight meets during the indoor season, he jumped higher than his previous year’s personal best. He had never qualified for the state meet prior to this indoor season and, in his first appearance, he brought home the Division II/III state title. I look forward to seeing him continue to jump higher.”
Riddle won the 2017 state indoor title for Division I, meaning he and fellow signee Hayton swept the state titles this season. A two-time conference champion, Riddle finished fifth at the 2016 outdoor state meet for Hilliard Darby High School before placing 12th at the New Balance national meet. Riddle, who has competed in several sprint events and even in cross country during his prep career, also holds the school’s record in the long jump.
“Cannon was the most consistent, high-level high jumper in the state of Ohio this year during the indoor season,” Wineberg said. “He jumped his personal best of 6’ 8” in three of the six meets he entered. Last year outdoors, he placed fifth in the Division I state meet, but, this year indoors, he was crowned the Division I state champion. He also is a very good long jumper and a talented athlete that will contribute to the team’s success right away.”
While the latest signees continue their high school seasons, the current Bearcats will do the same as they will head north to Columbus this weekend for the Jesse Owens Track Classic this Friday and Saturday. The meet will be held on the Ohio State campus at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium and will feature some strong competition at the half-way point in the outdoor season for UC.
// JEREMY HAYTON
// SAM MIKULA
// CANNON RIDDLE