FAYETTEVILLE - Head coach Chris Bucknam and the No. 1-ranked University of Arkansas men's track and field team have announced the signing of five student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the 2012-13 season. This marks the fourth Razorback recruiting class for Bucknam and his staff.
The first wave of Arkansas' 2012-13 recruiting class includes Kemoy Campbell (Manchester, Jamaica/South Plains College), Eric Janise (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS), Stanley Kebenei (Nakura, Kenya/Iowa Central CC), Jarrion Lawson (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau HS) and Cale Wallace (Cypress, Texas/Cypress-Ranch HS).
"We are very excited about this first wave of signees," Bucknam said. "It gives us tremendous depth with our distance crew and adds talent in our already solid group of sprinters and jumpers. We chose these specific athletes from the beginning, went out and got them. We are thrilled they have all chosen to be Razorbacks.
"Putting together a class like this take a lot of time and effort from our staff, which has done a phenomenal job. We are not done yet. There are a few more guys out there we want to get and we're working hard to build on this solid foundation."
Manchester, Jamaica/South Plains College
Personal Bests: 800 meters - 1:50.32; 1,500 meters - 3:42; 3,000 meters - 8:20; 5,000 meters - 14:18
Campbell is a native of Manchester, Jamaica, and specializes in long distances. Competing for South Plains College, he was a two-time national champion with victories at the 2011 NJCAA Cross Country Championships and in the 800 meters at the 2011 NJCAA Outdoor Championships. Campbell also turned in a pair of runner-up performances at 1,500 and 5,000 meters at the outdoor national meet. At the 2011 NJCAA Indoor Championships, he was the runner-up at 3,000 meters and finished third in the mile.
Campbell helped South Plains win the 2011 NJCAA Championships outdoor team title. He was also part of the team's runner-up finish at the NJCAA indoor meet. In his native Jamaica, he is the national record holder at 1,500 meters. Campbell holds personal bests of 1:50.32 at 800 meters, 3:42 at 1,500 meters, 8:20 at 3,000 meters and 14:18 at 5,000 meters.
What Bucknam says about Campbell: "Kemoy Campbell is a terrific addition to our program. He is a certainly a talented cross country runner but also add great depth on the track with range from 800 meters to the 10K. His foot speed is phenomenal and he has a rare combination of strength and speed. It's rare to have a Jamaican distance runner, and we are very excited our program has attracted such a special talent."
The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS
Personal Bests: 200 meters - 21.9; 400 meters - 47.75; triple jump - 46-1
Janise is a native of The Woodlands, Texas, and specializes in sprints and jumps. During his junior season at The Woodlands High School, he was the 400-meter champion at the District 14-5A meet and UIL Region II-5A Championships. He went on to finish in sixth place in the 400 meters at the 2011 UIL Texas 5A State Championship meet. At the district meet, Janise also turned in a runner-up effort in the triple jump.
With his help, The Woodlands captured the 2011 District 14-5A team title. Entering his senior season with the Highlanders, Janise holds personal bests of 21.9 in the 200 meters, 47.75 in the 400 meters and 46-1 in the triple jump. His time in the 400 meters represents the 20th-best returning time among high school runners in the country. The son of David and Lauren Janise, he owns a 4.0 grade-point average and ranks in the top-10 percent of his class.
What Bucknam says about Janise: "Eric is an all-around student-athlete that will be a tremendous 400-meter runner for us, plus he has the added bonus of being a solid triple jumper, as well. We have had a lot of success with athletes from The Woodlands, especially at 400 meters recently with current Razorbacks Ben Skidmore and Travis Southard. This is a huge compliment to The Woodlands High School coaching staff and to our sprints coach, Doug Case. We want to continue that tradition of great Woodlands' athletes exceling at Arkansas and Eric is certainly going to help us do that."
Nakura, Kenya/Iowa Central CC
Personal Bests: 800 meters - 1:50; 1,500 meters - 3:42.88; mile - 4:07.51; 3,000 meters - 8:09.42; 5,000 meters - 13:58.84; 8,000 meters (XC) - 23:57; 10,000 meters (XC) - 29:51.71; 3K Steeplechase - 8:45.81
Kebenei is a native of Nakura, Kenya, and specializes in long distances. In his first season at Iowa Central, he was a seven-time NJCAA national champion and helped the Tritons to two team titles. At the 2011 NJCAA Indoor Championships, he was a triple winner with first-place results in the mile, 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters. At the outdoor national meet, Kebenei collected another three titles with wins in the 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters and 3,000-meter steeplechase to help Iowa Central to a runner-up team finish. He also won the individual title at the NJCAA Half Marathon meet.
The Tritons won team titles at the NJCAA Indoor and Half Marathon Championships behind the efforts of Kebenei. Among his personal bests, he set the NJCAA record in his half-marathon victory with a time of 1:06.17.70, more than 90 seconds faster than the previous record. With outstanding range, Kebenei owns personal bests of 1:50 at 800 meters, 3:42.88 at 1,500 meters, 4:07.51 in the mile; 8:09.42 at 3,000 meters, 13:58.84 at 5,000 meters and 8:45.81 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. In cross country, he has an 8K best of 23:57 and a 10K best of 29:51.71.
What Bucknam says about Kebenei: "Stanley is one of the most decorated junior college athletes ever. He is a tremendous talent and has an upbeat personality that is fun to be around. We are thrilled Arkansas and the Fayetteville community has attracted an athlete of his caliber. Having Stanley and Kemoy Campbell on the same team in addition to our current talent-Solomon Haile, Eric Fernandez, Patrick Rono, Anthony Lieghio, just to name a few-is going to be a lot of fun. We are certainly excited for him to join our program."
Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau HS
Personal Bests: long jump - 24-5.5; triple jump - 49-1.5
Lawson is a native of Texarkana, Texas, and specializes in jumps. He is a three-time state champion at Liberty-Eylau High. At the 2011 UIL Texas 3A State Championship meet, he was a double winner with victories in the long jump and triple jump and was named the Texas 3A Most Outstanding Athlete. Lawson helped the Leopards to a third-place finish at the state meet. As a sophomore, he was part of a state champion 4x400-meter relay team. In addition to his prowess on the track, he was a letterwinner and team captain for Liberty-Eylau basketball and football, earning second-team all-state honors as a defensive back.
As a member of the Texarkana Trailblazers Track Club, Lawson was the gold medalist in the triple jump at the 2010 AAU Junior Olympics, winning the competition by more than two feet. Entering his senior season, he has personal bests of 24-5.5 in the long jump and 49-1.5 from the triple jump. Lawson is the No. 1-ranked prep long jumper and is ranked fourth among returning triple jumpers. The son of Jerrel and Carol Lawson, he is currently ranked 11th academically in his class of 163 students.
What Bucknam says about Lawson: "Jarrion is one of the most athletic individuals we've seen in a long time. He is a mega-talent in everything he does. He obviously can jump but can sprint, as well. He is a well-rounded student-athlete as well with his involvement in a variety of community service projects along with an outstanding academic record. Coach (Travis) Geopfert has had six All-Americans, three SEC champions and an NCAA champion in the long jump in the last two years. Jarrion is exactly the type of student-athlete we wanted to keep that part of our program moving forward. We are thrilled he has chosen to be a Razorback."
Cypress, Texas/Cypress-Ranch HS
Personal Bests: 800 meters - 1:52.77; 1,600 meters - 4:09.30; 3,200 meters - 9:29.76; 5,000 meters - 15:00.50
Wallace is a native of Cypress, Texas, and specializes in long distances. Running for Cypress-Ranch High School, he was a member of the 2011 TX-Running Texas All-State and All-Greater Houston Cross Country Teams. During his senior season, he won the 2011 Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville, finished seventh at the Texas 5A State Cross Country Championship and placed 27th at the Nike Cross Country National meet.
As a junior on the track, Wallace won the 800-meter title at the District 17-5A meet and 1,600-meter title at the UIL Region III-5A Championships. He also placed second at the Texas state meet at 1,600 meters as a junior. He owns personal bests of 1:52.77 at 800 meters, 4:09.30 at 1,600 meters, 9:29.76 at 3,200 meters and 15:00.50 at 5,000 meters. The son of Allan and Tammy Wallace, he owns the sixth-fastest time among returning high school runners in the country.
What Bucknam says about Wallace: "Cale is a terrific young man that has tremendous potential in cross country and on the track. We have seen him compete and he is the type of athlete that competes hard and smells the finish line. We tell our guys it's about competing in the championship races and Cale knows how to do that. He's also an exceptional student, ranking in the top 15 percent of his class. We are extremely pleased that our university has attracted such a talented student-athlete like Cale."
In addition to its first wave of commitments for the 2012-13 season, Arkansas has added the talents of David Flynn and Tomas Squella to its current spring roster. Flynn, a native of Dublin, Ireland, is distance runner with personal bests of 3:54.32 at 1,500 meters, 9:09.82 at 3,000 meters, 14:56.53 at 5,000 meters and 8:52.19 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Squella, a native of Chile, is a middle-distance specialist with personal bests of 48.45 at 400 meters and 1:48.79 at 800 meters.
The Razorbacks' last recruiting class was ranked the fourth best in the nation by Track & Field News. Freshmen Andrew Irwin and Gunnar Nixon, members of that recruiting class, have already secured their spots at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships in the pole vault and heptathlon, respectively. Irwin currently owns the second-best vault mark (5.50m/18-0.5) in the country while Nixon set the world junior record (6,022 points) in his first collegiate heptathlon.
For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
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