May 22, 2008
PULLMAN, Wash. -- Three track and field competitors from the state of Washington who have distinguished high school marks have signed National Letters of Intent to attend and compete for the Washington State University track and field teams, Cougars track and field head coach Rick Sloan announced Thursday.
Joining the Cougar men's track team for the 2009 season are Ezra John Griffey, a sprinter from Decatur High in Federal Way, Jerroid "J" Hopkins, a hurdler and sprinter from Everett High, and Ross VanZanten, a high jumper from Mark Morris High in Longview.
Griffey, the brother of current Cougar sophomore sprinter Princess Joy Griffey, is the state leader in the 100m dash after he ran a personal-record time of 10.67 seconds at the 2008 Shoreline Invitational. This time ranks 10th-best among all-time prep boys' state standings. He also ran a lifetime-best 200m dash time of 21.88 seconds this year which ranks fifth-fastest in the state this year. Unfortunately, Griffey pulled up in the 100m at his regional meet with a hamstring injury and will not participate in the state 4A meet this year. As a junior, Griffey placed second in the 200m and third in the 100m at the state championship meet. He won the 100m at the 2007 Oregon versus Washington Brooks Meet of Champions, setting the stadium record with a time of 10.97.
"Ezra John will make an immediate impact in the sprints at WSU," Cougars sprints coach Ellannee Richardson said. "He is very dedicated to the sport and has shown immense improvement over the course of his indoor and outdoor senior seasons. Throughout the recruiting process, his high level of commitment to the sport and competitive drive stood out to me. This is a key element to a successful college athlete. I know he will do big things for us in the future as a Cougar sprinter."
Hopkins was the 2007 state 3A champion in the 300m hurdles and finished seventh in the 110m hurdles as his Everett High team won the state title. He currently is the state leader for all classifications in both the 300m hurdles, with a time of 37.88 seconds, and in the 110m hurdles, with a time of 14.55. Last summer Hopkins finished sixth in the 400m hurdles at the Junior Olympics with a time of 54.72.
"We were lucky to get to know J as a camper last summer in our track camp," WSU hurdles coach Mark Macdonald said. "He is a great young man and an exceptional student. J has the talent and work ethic to carry on the great WSU hurdle tradition for years to come. He is the Northwest's top hurdler and we are thrilled that he will be joining our program."
VanZanten has both hurdled and high jumped for Mark Morris High. He finished third in the high jump at the 2006 state 3A meet after clearing 6-feet, 4 inches, and reached a school record as a junior after clearing the bar at 6-8 1/4. He was also a three-year letterwinner on the Monarchs' basketball team that finished second in state in 2007 with a 26-1 win-loss record, and third in state in 2008 with a 24-4 record.
"Ross is without question the top high jumper in the state of Washington this season," Cougar jumps coach Matt McGee said. "He is a very hard-working and dedicated athlete who is also mechanically proficient in his event. We are very excited to have him join us and expect he will be a 7-foot-plus jumper here as a freshman. He is a very good addition to an already outstanding high jump group that will be the best in the conference and one of the top in the nation next season with Trent Arrivey, Ryan Deese, and incoming freshman, Shawn Swartz."
Griffey, Hopkins and VanZanten, join 16 previously signed recruits for the 2008-09 Washington State University track and field teams:
Joe Abbott, a middle distance runner from Reno, Nev. Anna Albrecht, a thrower from Pullman, Wash. Brianna Atkins, a 400m runner from Claremont, Calif. Brianne Brown, a 400m runner from Shadle Park High, Spokane, Wash., Morgan Clem, a hurdler from East Wenatchee, Wash. Brittnay Crabb, a nationally-ranked hurdler from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Michelly Foley, a distance runner from Crook County High, Prineville, Ore. Jacki Hill, a sprinter from Bremerton, Wash. Ashley Kenney, a discus thrower from Spokane Valley, Wash. Courtney Kirkwood, a heptathlete from Othello, Wash. Jono Lafler, a distance runner from Tahoma High, Maple Valley, Wash. Alex Ringe, a middle distance runner from Hermiston, Ore. Chris Selvar, an 800m runner from Kent, Wash. Mietra Smollack, a distance runner from Oak Harbor, Wash. Shawn Swartz, a high jumper from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia Jessica Yates, a triple jumper from Snohomish, Wash.