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Talented Trio Sign NLIs for Track & Field
Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 03/20/2012
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March 20, 2012

PULLMAN - Matthew Swanson, a high school middle distance runner from North Vancouver, B.C., Byron Howell, a sprinter from Seattle, and Kelsie Taylor, a thrower from Naches Valley High School, have signed National Letters of Intent to compete in track and field for Washington State University beginning in the fall of 2012, Head Coach Rick Sloan announced Tuesday.

Swanson will come to WSU after having a very successful tenure at Sutherland Secondary, in Vancouver, B.C. He has already accumulated nine North Shore track and field champion titles on his resume. His championship events include 100m hurdles, 110m hurdles, 200m, and twice won the 400m, 400m hurdles, and 800m. Swanson also registered five top-three finishes in Provincial meets, including a first-place finish last spring in the 800m. While competing for the Norwesters Track and Field club team under Coach Robert Leone, Swanson became a six-time Provincial club medalist and four-time national medalist. He won the Robinson Cup this year, given to the top athlete in the club, and was named the club's Outstanding Male Athlete in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

"Matthew is one of the top high school middle distance runners in Canada," Cougar Cross Country Head Coach Pete Julian said. "He has the required foot speed to make good in the Pac-12. Along with Jesse Jorgensen, our future looks strong in the 800."

Howell is a senior at Garfield High in Seattle, and was the 4A KingCo league, regional, and state 400m dash champion as a junior with a personal-record time of 48.30 seconds. At that same state meet he finished fourth in the 200m dash in a time of 21.98 but had run a PR time of 21.83 earlier in the season. As a member of the SeaTown Express Track Club Howell was the runner-up in the 400m dash at the 2011 USATF Junior Olympics Region 15 meet and then went on to anchor the winning 4x400m relay team at the USATF Junior Olympic national meet in Kansas. Howell's father, also Byron Howell, competed in basketball and track and field at the University of Washington where his 4x400m relay time is still the school record, his 200m time of 20.66 (1985) is sixth-best, and his 100m time of 10.44 is listed as eighth best all-time.

"We are very excited to add Byron to our sprint group next year," Cougar assistant coach Ellannee Richardson said. "He has tons of potential as a quartermiler in the Pac-12 Conference. Although he had a pretty exciting season as a junior, I think he is going to surprise a lot of people with his marks this year. He is a very talented and competitive kid that has so much natural ability when it comes to running. With the young group of WSU 400 runners and the returning short sprinters that can run a strong 4x4 leg, I feel very confident that we can get our men's 4x4 back to the national championships with the addition of Byron Howell on our relay next year."

Taylor is in her senior year at Naches Valley High in Naches, Wash. The four-time track and field letter winner has current bests of 153-feet, 11 inches in the javelin, 36-5 in the shot put, and 113-10 in the discus. She threw her best mark in javelin at the USATF Inland Northwest Championships and placed first. She went on to place sixth at the USA National Junior Championships in javelin with a throw of 148-8. Last spring, Taylor placed seventh at the 1A state Track and Field Championships in the shot put, and ninth in the discus.

"Kelsie will be a great addition to an already very strong women's javelin team at WSU," Cougar Track and Field Associate Head Coach Debra Farwell said. "Athletically and academically Kelsie has all the characteristics I look for in a student-athlete. I am extremely excited to work with Kelsie next year and in years to come and am so thankful that she is a Cougar!"

Swanson, Howell and Taylor join previously announced Cougar track and field signees:

Kristine Felix, a pole vaulter from Wailuku, Hawai'i

Jesse Jorgensen, a middle distance runner from Spokane CC

Dominique Keel, a sprinter from Beaverton, Ore.

Mercedes Young, a sprinter from Country Club Hills, Ill.

Washington State Cougars Athletics