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winner1st
05-14-2010, 12:05 AM
The Minnesota women’s track & field/cross country programs announced a talented list of student-athletes whom have signed National Letters of Intent to compete for the Golden Gophers in the 2010-11 school year.

“This class is a well-rounded class that we are excited to bring to the University of Minnesota,” said Golden Gopher head track & field coach Matt Bingle. “They really fit the student-athlete culture that we have established and feel that they can keep us at a championship level.”

Tina DeLakis (Eau Claire, Wis./Eau Claire Memorial HS) will join the Gopher throwing crew. DeLakis placed third in the shot put at the 2009 Wisconsin Division 1 Track & Field Championships and sixth in the event as a junior. Tina was also a swimming standout in Eau Claire, though she did not swim as senior turning her attention to track full time. She owns a personal best of 45-0 in the shot put.

“Tina retired from swimming after the fall season and dedicated her time to training for the shot and discus,” said Golden Gopher throws coach Lynne Anderson. “Tina’s training in the weight room is paying off. She will add great depth to our shot crew and may try the javelin and hammer.”

Ashlie Decker (Des Moines, Iowa/Dowling Catholic HS) is a distance runner familiar to Minnesota after competing in the Griak Invitational. Decker placed second in the 2009 Griak helping Dowling Catholic to the team title. Dowling has captured the last three Iowa Class 4A Cross Country Championships crowns. Decker was the individual titlist as a junior in 2008 and the state runner-up in both 2007 and 2009. Decker went on to finish ninth in the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships last fall. On the track, she was four-time all-state performer last spring, including a second-place finish in the 3,000 meters and a third-place showing in the 1,500 meters.

“Ashlie is exactly the type of student-athlete we look for at Minnesota,” said Golden Gopher cross country coach Gary Wilson. “She has worked her way up and improved every year in the state national high school distance running scene and will continue to improve at the college level. She has had great success in cross country with two National Footlocker appearances and will excel even more on the track as the races get longer. We are thrilled to add her to our group!”

Erica Hinchcliffe (Greeley, Colo./Greeley West HS) also has experience in the Griak Invitational, placing fifth in the meet in 2009. Hinchcliffe captured the 2007 Colorado Cross Class 4A Country Championships, placed third in 2008 and fifth in 2009.

“Erica is one of the toughest student-athletes in our 2010 distance class,” said Wilson. “She was a state champion in Colorado as a sophomore and then dealt with some injury issues, but has worked her way back to finishing third and fifth as a junior and senior. She will be a leader on and off the course and will add great energy to our group!”

Kimberly Hovey (Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing HS) is the defending Minnesota Class A champion in the shot put. She also placed second in the discus in 2009. One of the best all-around athletes in the state of Minnesota, Hovey will make an immediate impact in what is already a very deep throws group at Minnesota. Hovey owns career bests of 46-6 in the shot put and 141-0 in the discus.

“Kim has dedicated this past fall and winter to preparing for an outstanding senior year in track and field,” said Anderson. “She will add significant depth to our discus and shot crew.”

Ally McSherry (St. Anthony, Minn./Totino-Grace HS) earned all-state honors in the 800-meter run, placing eighth in the 2009 Minnesota Class AA Championships. McSherry, a lifelong soccer standout, turned her attention to cross country this past fall as a senior and earned section runner-up and All-State honors in her first season.

“Ally is another soccer convert from the state of Minnesota,” said Wilson. “Having a breakout junior year on the track in the 800m, Ally decided to try to balance soccer and cross country as a senior. In her first ever cross country race she earned conference runner-up honors and then went on to finish second in the region and all-state. Obviously this shows her talent, but also her competitive edge. She will be a great addition to the 800m tradition at Minnesota!”

Katie Murgic (Rosemount, Minn./Rosemount HS) placed 11th in the pole vault at the 2009 Minnesota Class AA Championships. Murgic, a talented gymnast at Rosemount High School, will focus solely on track for the first time in her athletic career and will add great depth to an already impressive Gopher pole vault line-up. Murgic’s career best is 12-0.

“We are very excited to add Katie to our team,” said Bingle. “She is a great young woman who will definitely fit into our culture here at Minnesota. She is very new to the vault and we feel that she has a ton of potential to have an impact in our program.”

Rachel Melum (Iola, Wis./Iola-Schadinavia HS) is a two-time Wisconsin Division 3 high jump champion (2007, 2009). She won the title a year ago clearing 5-9 to set a new Division 3 Championship record.

“Rachel is someone that again fits our culture,” said Bingle. “She is a great student and athlete who should have a impact in our program right way. We wanted to add some quality depth to the high jump and we feel we have done that with Rachel.”

Nicole Murphey (Ham Lake, Minn./Blaine HS) is a two-time all-state long jumper. Murphey placed third at the 2009 Minnesota Class A Championships, sixth as a sophomore in 2007. She owns a personal best leap of 18-6.

“Nicole is someone that is definitely going to add to our already young jumps group,” said Bingle. “I am excited to watch her develop and become an integral part our jumps crew. She is an exceptional student and a great young woman.”

Akuoma Omeoga (New Brighton, Minn./Irondale HS) will follow her older sister (Chioma) to Minnesota. Akuama was a two-time all-state sprinter a year ago, placing second in the 200 meters and third in the 100 meters at the 2009 Minnesota Class AA Championships.

“We are excited to have Akouma join our sprint crew,” said Bingle. “She will add some much needed depth. I am anxious to watch her develop into a big ten caliber sprinter. She is a great young woman who definitely fits with our sprint group.”

Chelsea Pettit (Savage, Minn./Holy Angels HS) was the 2009 Minnesota Class AA runner-up in the 1,600 meters while adding a fifth-place showing in the 3,200 meters. Pettit placed second in the 2009 USATF Junior Olympics in the 1,500 meters. Another soccer convert, Pettit has never competed in cross country, but will make the transition to the sport this fall.

“Chelsea comes in as one of the top athletes in the state of Minnesota,” said Wilson. “A soccer standout in high school who played in the state title game as a junior, she is really still learning about being a distance runner. With that being said, she has already accomplished a lot with relatively little experience. She will add great depth to our mid-distance group and has a huge upside as she starts to train all year round. We are thrilled to keep her in state!”

Morgan Sickels (Waukesha, Wis./Catholic Memorial HS) is a four-time all-state cross country runner and the 2008 Wisconsin Division 2 champion. She also notched third-place finishes as a sophomore and senior.

“Morgan has been a cross country standout in Wisconsin for the last four years,” said Wilson. “Her toughness and competitiveness will ensure her continued success at the college level. She has run well on the track and will see even more improvement as she is able to run longer races on the track. We are very excited to have Morgan as a Golden Gopher!”

Devin Stanford (Milwaukee, Wis./Milwaukee Lutheran HS) is an all-state thrower. She placed third in the discus in 2008. An all-around athlete, Devin will be another great addition to the throws group adding depth to the discus and hammer contingency. Her older brother plays football for the Chicago Bears.

“As a three sport athlete in high school, Devin has never had the chance to just concentrate on her throwing abilities,” said Anderson. “She is hoping to become a great hammer thrower as well. Whatever event she decides to concentrate on she will add great depth to our throwing crew.” :)