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Track & Field Signings

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Albany, N.Y. – University at Albany’s Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Roberto Vives announced on Wednesday, July 14 that 11 student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to join the men’s and women’s programs for the 2010-11 academic year. The class, which consists of six women and five men, includes three national champions, seven all-state honorees and three student-athletes from Capital Region high schools.


Chris Burke (Tully, N.Y./Tully/SUNY Delhi), a transfer student who was recently named SUNY Delhi’s 2009-10 Male Athlete of the Year, will compete in middle distance and distance events and run on the Great Danes’ cross country team. On the track, he was a seven-time All-American and five-time national champion at the junior college level. Burke won the 1,500-meter run twice as well as the 800-meters once at the NJCAA Division III national championships. He also anchored the first-place 4x800-meter relay each year, including the 2010 squad which broke the national meet record (7:44.33). Burke, who has relay splits of 1:52 at 800-meters and 4:09 at 1,600-meters, also garnered All-America honors this spring by placing second in the 5,000. Indoors, the transfer anchored the second-place distance medley relay at the national meet. In addition, Burke was a two-time All-American and national champion in cross country, helping the Broncos win the national team title each year. The squad’s 22 points last fall was the lowest total in the history of the NJCAA Division III championship event. His personal bests of 3:54.22 in the 1,500 and 14:45.37 in the 5,000 are school records.


Brianne Bellon (Greenfield, N.Y./Saratoga Springs), an Albany Times Union All-Star in the 800-meters and 4x800-meter relay, headlines the list of women’s signees. Bellon has been crowned a national champion as a member of several relay squads and has a split of 2:08.57 at 800-meters. She recently ran on the winning 4xMile relay that hit the tape in 20:04.34 at New Balance Nationals on June 19. After winning the Class A title in the 800, Bellon broke the school record with a winning time of 2:09.93 at the state qualifier before placing eighth at states. The standard of 2:10.74 was previously established by U.S. Olympian Cheri Goddard in 1988. She also anchored the third-place 4x800 relay (8:50.70) at the state meet. Indoors, the middle distance competitor won the 1,000-meters in a personal-best time of 2:55.90 at the state qualifier. Bellon, who has career-best marks of 4:39.40 in the 1,500 and 4:58.14 in the mile, will also compete as a member of the cross country program after leading the Thunder to four Section II, Class AA titles. She garnered Albany Times Union first team all-star recognition and earned a place on the New York State Sportswriters Association’s all-state third team as a harrier.


Sprinter Kareem Morris (Albany, N.Y./Albany) was recently crowned the Albany Times Union Male Athlete of the Month in addition to being named a first-team all-star by the publication in the 100- and 200-meter dashes as well as the 4x100 relay that qualified for states. In May, Morris won four events at the Colonie Relays, three events at the Eddy Meet and capped off the month with four victories at the Section II, Class A competition. The sprinter posted wins in the 100, 200 and 4x100 at the Class A and state qualifier meets. He finished second in the 200-meters at states, improving on his eighth-place performance at the meet from the previous season. Morris’ personal-best marks are 10.97 seconds in the 100 and 21.76 in the 200.


Multi-eventer Kelsey Hanson (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) rounds out the list of Section II standouts who will wear the purple and gold. Before battling injuries throughout the spring, she ended her indoor career on a high note by placing third in the pentathlon with 3,262 points at Nike Indoor Nationals to garner All-America laurels. Hanson registered top-eight finishes with personal-best marks of 30-feet, 3-inches in the shot put, 16-10.25 in the long jump and 2:31.93 in the 800 to better her eighth-place finish in the pentathlon the previous year at the national meet in Boston.


Donald Williams (Springfield Gardens, N.Y./Midwood) is the fastest short sprinter to ever sign with the UAlbany men’s program out of high school. An outstanding student and member of his school’s highly competitive Gifted/Medical Science program, Williams was the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) champion in the 100-meters, the State Federation champion as a member of the 4x100-meter relay and the State Federation runner-up in the 100. His personal-best time of 10.56 in the 100-meters mirrors the school record at UAlbany, while he has also been timed at 6.40 in the 55m and 22.18 in the 200m.


Kathryn Fanning (Manlius, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius), a distance competitor, was a member of a cross country program that won its fourth straight national championship at Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) last fall. She placed 10th overall as her squad ran away with the Section III, Class AA title in 2009 by boasting eight of the top-10 finishers. On the track, the incoming freshman was crowned a national champion as a member of the winning 4x800-meter relay (9:02.80) at Nike Indoor Nationals. An All-Central New York honoree by the Syracuse Post Standard, Fanning’s personal bests include 2:15.42 in the 800, 4:44.09 in the 1,500 and 10:21 in the 3,000. She also earned three varsity awards in soccer.


Hurdler Joseph Elijah Pardo (Huntington Station, N.Y./St. John the Baptist) and middle distance runner Patrick Murphy (Smithtown, N.Y./St. Anthony’s) round out the list of men’s signees. Pardo earned All-America honors in the shuttle hurdle relay by running the leadoff leg for the seventh-place squad at Nike Indoor Nationals. He was also an all-state selection for his second-place performance in the 110-meter high hurdles at states during the outdoor season and also placed third in the 55-hurdles at the meet during the indoor season. His personal-best times in the events are 7.53 and 14.66. Murphy, who will also run cross country, has career-best marks of 1:56.87 in the 800 and 2:38.61 in the 1,000.


Completing the group of women’s newcomers are high jumper Ashley Grant (Highland Mills, N.Y./Monroe-Woodbury) and hurdler Renee Lewis (Brooklyn, N.Y./Midwood), who were both all-state selections this past year on the scholastic level, as well as middle distance runner Jonelle White (Brooklyn, N.Y./Midwood). Grant, who has a personal-best mark of 5-6.50, closed out her senior year by finishing fifth in her premier event at the indoor and outdoor state meets. She was a first-place finisher at both the indoor and outdoor state qualifiers and also competed at Nike Indoor Nationals. Lewis’ top performances this past year included placing third at the PSAL City Championship and seventh at states in the 100m-hurdles as well as fourth in the 55-hurdles at the PSAL meet. She also ran at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships and has personal bests of 8.53 in the 55-hurdles and 14.64 in the 100-hurdles. White, who has finished as high as third in the 800-meters at the PSAL City Championship, owns career-best middle distance marks of 2:17.68 in the 800 and 3:02.49 in the 1,000.


“We are very excited about this incoming class of high quality student-athletes,” said Vives, whose men’s and women’s programs have combined to win 19 America East titles and have produced five All-Americans at the NCAA Division I level. “They will be able to contribute to our tradition of winning championships and help propel us to our goal of becoming a national level program.”




2010-11 University at Albany Women’s Track & Field Signings


Name Events Hometown (High School/Previous College)


*Brianne Bellon Middle Distance Greenfield, N.Y./Saratoga Springs


*Kathryn Fanning Distance Manlius, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius


Ashley Grant High Jump Highland Mills, N.Y./Monroe-Woodbury


Kelsey Hanson Multis Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa


Renee Lewis Hurdles Brooklyn, N.Y./Midwood


Jonelle White Middle Distance Brooklyn, N.Y./Midwood




2010-11 University at Albany Men’s Track & Field Signings


Name Events Hometown (High School/Previous College)


*Chris Burke Middle Distance Tully, N.Y./Tully/SUNY Delhi


Kareem Morris Sprints Albany, N.Y./Albany


*Patrick Murphy Middle Distance Smithtown, N.Y./St. Anthony’s


Joseph Elijah Pardo Hurdles Huntington Station, N.Y./St. John the Baptist


Donald Williams Sprints Springfield Gardens, N.Y./Midwood




*Cross Country

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