PHILADELPHIA - One of the deepest and most talented recruiting classes in program history is set to join the University of Pennsylvania men's track and field team for the 2012-13 campaign. Head Coach Robin Martin announced the nine newest Quakers on Friday afternoon.
A full breakdown of the Class of 2016 - by event, state and individual - can be found below along with complete analysis from the Penn men's track and field coaching staff.
The class includes four individuals that currently rank in the Top 10 in the nation. Two have claimed state championships and another has won a national championship.
In the class are five middle distance and distance runners, two jumpers, two sprinters and a thrower with several of the Class of 2016 members falling into more than one of those categories.
The nine incoming Quakers hail from seven different states. Both New York and the home state of Pennsylvania have multiple representatives, while Samuel Mattis is from neighboring New Jersey.
The Quakers have just begun their 2011-12 indoor track and field season. The 2012 Indoor Heptagonal Championships are slated for Feb. 25-26 in Ithaca, N.Y.
Class of 2016 Breakdown:
3 - Middle Distance
2 - Jumps
2 - Sprints
2 - Distance
1 - Throws
2 - Pennsylvania, New York
1 - Colorado, Illinois, Virginia, Connecticut, New Jersey
National Rank: 2
East Brunswick Senior High School
East Brunswick, N.J.
From the Coaching Staff: Sam is quite simply the best American high school discus thrower. He has been the New Jersey state champion, the Penn Relays champion, and that National Champion in the discus throw. He was also the runner up at the New Jersey State Championships in the shot put. What this does for Penn is somewhat unprecedented. His best converted throw would have put him number four at last year's NCAA Championships. He instantly has the opportunity to be a national scorer who has a shot at the taking his career as far as the Olympics. Obviously Sam is a very talented athlete, but his work ethic and attention to detail is what really makes him one of the most special athletes in America. His father built him a throwing ring in his backyard, and he is a tireless worker. He volunteers with unprivileged children, and plays stand up bass in a jazz band. This is the most well-rounded young men I have ever come across, and will be a great addition to Penn in every sense of the word.
National Rank: 3
Upper Moreland High School
From the Coaching Staff: Drew is one of the top middle distance prospects in the country, and he has just begun to access his potential. Drew could be the best middle distance recruit at Penn in the last 30 years, and that is saying a lot as Penn has produced two top-three finishers at NCAA’s in the middle distances. The Penn middle distance program has been one of the team's strengths during the last 20 years, and to unite that kind of program with this type of talent is very exciting. He has the ability to win Ivy Championships in both the 800 and 1500. This type of versatility doesn’t end on the track, and we expect Drew to be a contributor in cross country as well. Drew is a very hard worker, and someone who races with no fear. He is one of the toughest racers that I have ever seen. His willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed, and his very large will, give him a very good opportunity to be a national champion. He is very excited to be a Quaker.
National Rank: 12/2
Chaminade High School
East Norwich, N.Y.
From the Coaching Staff: One of the top distance running recruits in the country, Thomas is ranked 12th in the mile, 14th in the 1500, 22nd in the 1600 and 26th in the 3200 among current high school seniors. Thomas currently has the No. 2 time in the two-mile in the U.S. indoors. He qualified for Nike Nationals this year in cross country. On his official visit he connected with our team in an extraordinary way and quickly became a part of the group in a way that rarely happens. Upon his arrival at Penn, he will likely be one of our top cross country runners and is on pace to compete for All-Ivy honors as a freshman. With his ability on the track he will also compete immediately at the Ivy level in the 3,000 meters in his first indoor season.
Event: High Jump
National Rank: 14
Malvern High School
West Chester, Pa.
From the Coaching Staff: Thomas is the best high jumper in Pennsylvania and one of the elite high jumpers in the country. He is also a top-level triple jumper. Tom has a very high potential for growth. His high jump would have placed him third at last years Heptagonal Championships. Thomas, of all the high jumpers that we recruiting this year, had the very highest ceiling. He will be a great understudy for our own high jump All-American, Maalik Reynolds. Tom’s ability to grow in this event is limitless, and I look for Tom to win a couple Ivy Titles and All-America honors. Tom is a great character addition to our program.
Event: High Jump/110 hurdles
National Rank: 30/94
James B. Conant High School
From the Coaching Staff: Ben Bowers is a very interesting talent in that he is a top-level talent in two very different events. He is one of the best high jumpers in the country, while also a very good 110-high hurdler. Ben is really a perfect fit for this league. Ben’s sill learning both events, so his development looks to be very high. He has a perfect build for both events and has the speed and jumping ability to really develop at the next level. Ben can be a multi-point scorer for Penn both indoor and outdoor for many years to come. By his senior year, we expect him to compete on the national stage as well.
National Rank: 54/15
Monarch High School
From the Coaching Staff: Kirk is one of the best mid-distance talents in the state of Colorado, a state known for it’s mid-distance prowess. Kirk fills a number of very important roles for this team. He has the ability to score in every event from the 800 to the 3k. Kirk,who like Drew Magaha is a very hard worker, is a runner on the rise. Kirk has all of the tools to be a multiple All-American. This year, Kirk was the Colorado state champion in cross country. He will make an immediate contribution on the cross country team, and has the opportunity to be one of next year's top runners. Kirk and Drew will be a great tandem - not only on race day - but in training as well. Kirk is someone who also spends considerable parts of his time volunteering. He will be a great addition to the Penn community.
National Rank: 68/104
Glass High School
From the Coaching Staff: Harrison is a state champion sprinter from Virginia. He is going to be a great contributor for us in the 100 and 200 meters. Harrison has a very high ceiling, and is another one of those athletes that is really just getting going when it comes to track and field. He is very excited to learn the finer points of sprinting, and will be very successful at the next level. Harrison can be a dominant Ivy League sprinter. He is a very important piece of the puzzle for us. Harrison is another member of this class that is very active in his community.
National Rank: 2
Christian Brothers Academy
From the Coaching Staff: Brendan has had an extraordinary senior cross country season and very quickly emerged as one of the top cross country runners on the east coast. Entering his senior track season he is ranked #No. 2 among U.S. seniors in the steeplechase, but his cross country performances this fall have been even more impressive. Most recently, Brendan won the NYSPHSAA Class C Championship by 14 seconds and again demonstrated that he is quickly becoming a nationally competitive cross country runner. On the track, he will run the 3,000 and 5,000 meters indoors and focus on the steeplechase outdoors.
National Rank: 16
Amity Regional Senior High School
From the Coaching Staff: In the mile, Clark is currently ranked No. 16 among U.S. high school seniors. In addition to his track credentials, Clark is the captain and top runner for his high school cross country team. He recently demonstrated that he will contribute to our cross country program by finishing 17th at the New England Cross Country Championships. His middle distance credentials combined with those of fellow Class of 2016 recruits Kirk Webb, and Magaha make for a very exciting combination. Clark in his own right has all the tools to be a player in the Ivy Championships and the national stage.