Dec. 10, 1999
PULLMAN, Wash. -- One junior college and four high school athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to attend Washington State University and compete for the track and field team during the 2000-2001 season, Cougar coach Rick Sloan announced Friday.
Washington prep sprinters Bree Skinner, from Pasco, and J.K. Haines, from Redmond, lead the local signees and join speedster Atia Weekes, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Benson Jones, a long and triple jumper from Concord, Calif., currently competing at Diablo Valley Community, and middle distance runner Angelita Green from Long Beach, Calif., round out the largest group of track and field early signees in Sloan's six years as head coach of the men's and women's programs.
Skinner is considered the most highly-recruited sprinter in the Northwest and chose WSU over Arizona, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, and Florida. She was the state 4A runner-up in the 200m as a junior with a best time of 24.58, and anchored the state champion 4x400m relay team. Skinner enters her senior year at Pasco High ranked 12th on the Washington all-time list in the 100m dash with a time of 11.93. She plans to study pre-med at WSU in preparation to be a forensic pathologist.
"We've been watching Bree Skinner and waiting anxiously since her freshman year," Sloan said. "She's been to our summer camp the past couple years and we know her quite well. We are very pleased that she has signed early with us and are very excited about what she's going to bring to our program. We think we have someone who's going to develop into a very, very high-quality sprinter. She has the range from 100m all the way out to 400m."
Haines, from Redmond High School, won the 1999 4A Washington 100m and 200m championships as a junior with best times of 10.75 and 21.68 respectively. "J.K. has impressed us with his turnover," Sloan said. "His leg speed is very, very fast with a very good start. He's been well-coached in high school."
Atia Weekes has already established a successful international career after high placing in the 100m and 200m at the World Junior Championships in France, Pan American Junior Championships in Cuba, and the Canadian Commonwealth Games. She is ranked fourth on the World Junior 200m list with a time of 23.07. "Atia is an outstanding sprinter who has run remarkably fast times internationally," Sloan said. "She is a 100m and 200m sprinter primarily but has expressed a strong interest in running the 400m as well."
Angelita Green attends Long Beach Poly High where she just finished a successful cross country season after foregoing her junior season in track because of a hip injury. She was a 1997 Track & Field News High School All-American in the 800m and ran the second-fast time of the year (2:09.61) as a freshman. Green has also clocked a 55.12 in the 400m. She plans to study physical therapy at WSU.
"We haven't seen a real fast 800m race from Angelita since her freshman year until this year," Sloan said. "Fortunately she signed early with WSU so when she starts lighting up those marks this year it will be too late for the other schools."
Benson Jones graduated from Clayton Valley High in Concord, Calif., in 1998, where he was the state triple jump champion at 51-1 1/2, which was third-farthest prep mark nationally. The following spring, Jones won the Northern California Junior College triple jump crown while competing at Diablo Valley CC in Pleasant Hill, Calif. His best marks are 51-9 in the triple and 24-0 in the long jump. Benson will study communications at WSU.
"With Demetrius Murray completing his eligibility this year, Benson is somebody who will fill a void in both the long and triple jump areas," Sloan said. "I'm very impressed with him personally. In watching him on videotape, he has jumped far to this point but I think he has the capacity and potential to jump a lot further."