March 14, 2011
PULLMAN, Wash. -- Five high school seniors and one junior college sophomore have signed National Letters of Intent to attend and compete in track and field for Washington State University starting in the fall of 2011, Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan announced Monday.
Cougar signees include Michael Bolligar, a decathlete from Phoenix, Heidi Turner, a distance runner from Bozeman, Mont., Katie Fleischer, a distance runner from Ontario, Canada, Edward "PJ" Benedictus, a triple jumper from Renton, Wash., Omunique Thomas, a sprinter from Rialto, Calif., and Anna Adamko, a thrower from Vancouver, Wash.
Bolligar currently competes for Glendale (Arizona) Community College after graduating from Sunrise Mountain High in Peoria, Ariz., in 2009. While in high school he was state champion in the triple jump and as a member of the 4x400m relay squad, and also scored at state meets in high jump, long jump, 400m dash and intermediate hurdles. At Glendale CC, Bolligar won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) indoor heptathlon in 2010 and was the runner-up in the decathlon at the 2010 outdoor championships (6,788 points). He also placed sixth in the NJCAA national meet in the high jump after clearing 6-feet, 10 3/4 inches (2.10m). Earlier this month, Bolligar scored 5,319 points in the heptathlon at the New Mexico Classic Indoor meet for second place.
"Michael will contribute not only in the decathlon side but also in the individual events," Sloan said. "He has high jumped 7-feet, 1 /34 inches, and has long jumped 24-2 1/2. He has good speed and I think his potential for development in those areas as well as in the decathlon gives him the opportunity to be an outstanding performer for the Cougars."
Turner is a senior at Bozeman High and was the three-time Montana state AA cross country individual champion. The Bozeman Hawks' girls' team won its fifth-consecutive AA state cross country team title in the fall of 2010. Turner was 14th overall and second on team as Bozeman finished second at the 2010 Nike Cross Country Regional meet. Her team went on to place 11th at Nike National Cross Country meet with Turner 103rd overall and second on team.
"Heidi is a blue chip athlete who went under the radar because when the opportunity came to recruit, she was injured and not out there competing during her the spring of her junior year and during her senior cross country season," Cross Country Head Coach Pete Julian said. "She is an exceptional talent. She has good speed and is a competitor. We think that now that she is healthy again that she will have a great senior track season and we will be very pleased that we signed her."
Fleischer is currently attending Northern Collegiate Institute and Vocational School in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. She is a four-time individual champion and led the Vikings cross country team to four consecutive Lambton Secondary Schools Athletic Association (LSSAA) team titles. Fleischer has also won four South Western Ontario Secondary School Athletic Associations (SWOSSAA) individual cross country championships. She was the runner-up at the 2010 Walt Disney Classic Cross Country Race in Orlando, Florida. On the track, Fleischer is a three-time LSSAA 800m champion and has also achieved championships in the high jump, 1500m and 3000m. She holds the school records for the 800m (2:15.25) and 1500m (4:38.26).
Benedictus is a senior at Renton High in Renton, Wash., where he lettered in both track and football as a wide receiver/corner back. He won the 2010 state 3A triple jump title with a leap of 49-0 3/4. Benedictus competed during the 2011 indoor season and has triple jumped of 48-2 3/4.
"We're excited to have PJ join the Cougars. He is another in a long line of triple jumpers with Moreno Zapata, Sarah Burns and Stephan Scott-Ellis from the Flying AJs Track Club and coach Nate Wilford," Cougar jumps coach Matt McGee said. "PJ is similar in build to Stephan in that he has good long levers and good speed. Stephan and PJ will provide a great one-two punch in the conference for years to come."
Thomas is a senior at Carter High in Rialto, Calif., where she has excelled as a short sprinter. She was the runner-up in the 200m at the 2010 California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Divisional Finals, running a personal-best time of 24.36. Thomas also ran a PR time in the 100m of 11.89 for third place at the CIF SS Divisional Finals.
"Omunique will contribute to the WSU women's team in a number of ways," Cougar sprints coach Ellannee Richardson said. "Not only is she a short sprinter but she can bring a lot of speed to our 4x100m relay and will make that relay quite a bit faster. I think she will develop and be a surprise next year in the conference."
Adamko is a senior at Columbia River High in Vancouver, Wash. She won the state 3A javelin title as a sophomore and then repeated as the 2010 state 3A champion, adding a state discus title, and placed fourth in the shot put. She was named all-region Athlete of the Year. Last summer Adamko placed seventh in the javelin at the USA National Junior Championships and fourth place in the javelin at the Junior Olympics. Lifetime-best javelin throw is 147-feet.
"Anna will be a great addition to our women's javelin crew," Cougar associate coach Debra Farwell said. "She comes in with good credentials and has a very competitive mindset. Her parents did extensive research on where to send their daughter for a good education combined with a strong tradition of javelin throwing. They felt that Washington State University was the best place for Anna."