Track and Field Announces Its 2005 Signing Class
Dec. 2, 2005
Columbia, S.C. - The University of South Carolina track team announced its 2005 recruiting class on Friday. The women's team took in a strong haul of recruits, landing seven athletes from all across the globe. The Gamecock men added local star Scott Pierce, of Irmo.
The women's signing class is led by two of the nation's best in Sicklerville, N.J native Krystal Cantey and Brandi Cross of Missouri City, Tex.
Cantey is one of the world's elite prep hurdlers, having posted the nation's fifth fastest time ever by a high school female at the 2005 summer Nike Outdoor nationals in Greensboro, N.C.
Cross staked her mark as the nation's top prep female athlete in the 400 meters, having competed with the U.S. Junior National Team and setting the national record in the event for a 13-year-old.
In a homecoming of sorts, former Columbia High School star Whitney Charles signed with the Gamecocks after earning first team NJCAA All-American honors in the 400 meters while at Kansas City (Kan.) Community College.
"We think that with the addition of this class we have a great shot at being a contender for the national title for years to come," said USC head coach Curtis Frye.
Joining Charles in adding a local flavor to the class is Berkley High School's Jessica Nichols. The Moncks Corner native is considered by some to be the state's best middle distance runner and is expected to make an impact in the 800-meters and the mile, as well as contribute to the cross-country program.
Australia's Brooke Simpson is also expected to help in the middle distance events and cross country, having represented her country at last year's World Junior Championships.
Kayla Parker of Tallahassee, Fla. is one of the top athletes in Florida, and is expected to compete in the heptathlon for the Gamecocks and has been a state champion in both the high jump and the 100-meter hurdles.
Sallie Gurganus of Watuga, N.C. signed to compete in the pole vault. Gurganus has won the last two outdoor championships and the indoor championship for the state of North Carolina, setting the state record at 11-8 last spring.
Pierce, the lone men's signee and son of a USC professor, earned all-state honors in the triple jump last year. He is expected to focus on the triple jump, but can also high jump, long jump, and compete as a decathlete.
"We always say that character, intelligence, and hard work make for a tremendous athlete, and all these things Scott has exhibited," said Frye. "These are the athletes we have to have at Carolina to continue our program in the direction in which it's going."