Update on Women's Signees Includes Adding Two Recruits


Track & Field |

July 7, 2014

The University of Cincinnati women's track & field and cross country programs have announced the signing of two student-athletes to an already strong recruiting class of seven, which was announced in February.

Head coach Susan Seaton has added a pair of hurdlers in Aliya Barnes and Juliana Puopolo. Barnes comes to UC from New Jersey, while Puopolo will be the first Canadian on the Bearcats' roster.

Below is information regarding both of the new signees along with updates on the other seven and their outdoor accomplishments.

NAME                          EVENT        HOMETOWN/HIGH SCHOOL
Rebecka Abrahamsson     Jumps Karlshamn, Sweden/Karlshamn
Aliya Barnes Hurdles West Orange, N.J./West Orange
Loretta Blaut Jumps Cincinnati, Ohio/Seaton
Annette Echikunwoke Throws Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North 
Alexis Gray Throws Solon, Ohio/Solon
Leah Heckaman Throws Plymouth, Ind./Culver Academies
Kellsa Mbah Jumps West Chester, Ohio/Lakota East
Meg Westerheide Mid-Distance     Fort Loramie, Ohio/Fort Loramie
Juliana Puopolo Hurdles Speed Academy Athletics Club/Ontario, Canada

Aliya Barnes
West Orange, N.J. | West Orange | Hurdles
Aliya is a two-time N.J. State Meet of Champions qualifier in the 55 and 100-meter hurdles. To cap off her high school career, she finished fifth at the State Meet of Champions. Barnes has competed on the national stage a handful of times with running the 60-meter hurdles at the New Balance Indoor Nationals three times and competing in the 100-meter hurdles at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals once. In 2012, she won the 100-meter hurdles at the USATF New Jersey Junior Olympic Championships.

Barnes’ Personal Records
8.19 (ranks 17th nationally among the 2014 signing class)
60H: 8.87
100H: 14.08

Juliana Puopolo
Speed Academy Athletics Club | Ontario, Canada | Hurdles
Juliana is one of the top hurdlers in Canada. During this past indoor season, she finished second in the 60-meter hurdles at the Ontario Junior Championships. She also competed at the New Balance Indoor Nationals.

Puopolo’s Personal Records
100H: 13.79

Rebecka Abrahamsson
Karlshamn, Sweden | Karlshamn | Jumps
Abrahamsson is waiting for the Swedish outdoor season to begin in the coming weeks. She is coming off a strong indoor campaign that saw her achieve a personal-best leap of 41’ 11.5” in the triple jump.

Abrahamsson’s Personal Records
Long jump: 18’ 8.75”
Triple jump: 41’ 11.5”

Loretta Blaut
Cincinnati, Ohio | Seton | Jumps
Blaut closed out her senior year with a runner-up finish in the high jump at the Ohio D1 State Championships. On her way to the state meet, she won the high jump at the district and regional meet.

Blaut’s Personal Records
High jump:
5’ 9” (ranks t-19th nationally among the 2014 signing class)

Annette Echikunwoke
Pickerington, Ohio | Pickerington North | Throws
Echikunwoke wrapped up her high school career with a third-place finish at the Ohio D1 State Championships in the shot put. The Pickerington, Ohio native garnered two finishes in the shot put and discus at both the Ohio Capital Conference Championships and the District meet.

Echikunwoke’s Personal Records
Shot put:
44’ 9.75”
Disucs: 131’ 9”

Alexis Gray
Solon, Ohio | Solon | Throws
Gray ended her high school career by qualifying for the Ohio D1 State Championships in both the shot put and discus. She finished third in the discus and fourth in the shot put. On her way to the state meet, Gray won the NOC Valley, District and Regionals titles in both shot put and discus.

Gray’s Personal Records
Shot put:
43’ 5.25”
Discus: 156’ 4” (ranks 14th nationally among the 2014 signing class)

Leah Heckaman
Plymouth, Ind. | Culver Academies | Throws
Heckaman had a busy senior season as she competed at the Indiana State Championships in both the shot put and discus. She garnered a fourth-place finish in the shot put and grabbed fifth in the discus.

Heckaman’s Personal Records
Shot put:
46’ 2” (ranks 25th nationally among the 2014 signing class)
Discus: 146’ 4” (ranks 36th nationally among the 2014 signing class)

Kellsa Mbah West Chester, Ohio | Lakota East | Jumps
Mbah close out her senior season by qualifying for the Ohio D1 State championships in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and long jump. Prior to the state meet, she had recorded personal-best times in both the 100 and 200 at Regionals, which earned her runner-up finishes in each event.

Mbah’s Personal Records
200m: 24.67
Long jump: 19’ 7.25”

Meg Westerheide
Fort Loramie, Ohio | Fort Loramie | Mid-Distance
Meg had a successful senior season in the 800-meter run with winning every race except for two. One of the 800’s she lost was the Ohio D3 State Championships, where she was second. On the road to state, she won the 800 at the conference, district and regional meets.

Westerheide’s Personal Records
Mile: 5:07.42



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