FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas cross country and track & field head coach Chris Bucknam has announced the signing of 23 future Razorbacks who will join the program ahead of the 2020 track & field season.
“We are very excited to welcome this group to our program. This is one of the most exciting and extensive recruiting classes we have had in my ten years at Arkansas. It’s a large group that covers every event group in our sport,” said Coach Bucknam.
“We are especially excited about being able to keep the best in-state athletes at home while also recruiting top talent from around the world.”
Arkansas’ 2019 signing class spans four states (Arkansas, California, Missouri, Texas), five countries (England, Germany, Israel, Jamaica, South Africa) and includes three transfers (Cal, UALR, UTPB). The class includes six athletes from the state of Arkansas.
The class is headlined by two NCAA All-Americans, Keshawn Andrews, and Tyler Brendel, who earned Second-Team All-America honors at UA-Little Rock and Cal-Berkley. Jeremy Farr, Jamaica’s top junior 400-meter runner this season, and Max Kluth, Germany’s top junior decathlete, will bring international experience to the Razorbacks in 2020. North Little Rock High School’s Kennedy Lightner, one of the top high school sprinters in the United States during the 2019 season will remain in Arkansas for his college career.
The Razorback’s full signing class is listed below:
Keshawn Andrews (University of Arkansas – Little Rock / Jonesboro High School | Jonesboro, Ark.)
At Little Rock: Second-Team All-American as a member of UALR’s 4×100-meter relay in 2018. 2019 Sun Belt Conference Champion in the 60 meters, tying a lifetime best 6.76. Placed third in the 100-meters at the 2019 Sun Belt Conference Championships, running a lifetime best 10.32. Fourth in UALR program record list in the 100-meters, third in program history in the 60-meters and a member of the school record 4×100-meter relay from 2018.
Jonesboro High School: Three-time Arkansas 6A State Championship 100-meter finalist. A 2017 Arkansas 6A State Champion in the 100-meters running a wind-aided 10.67. Runner-up in both the 100-meters and 200-meters along with a third-place finish in the long jump at the 6A East Conference Meet helping Jonesboro High School to the 2017 East Conference team title. State runner-up in the 100-meters in 2016 and a state championship qualifier in the 200-meters. Placed sixth in 100-meters at the 2015 State Championships.
Personal Bests: 60m – 6.76; 100m – 10.32; 200m – 21.59
Jadon Bartholomew (Har-Ber High School | Springdale, Ark.)
2019 Arkansas 6A State Champion in the 400-meters; a member of Har-Ber’s State Championship 4×800-meter relay and bronze medalist 4×400-meter relay team. Also won 6A West Conference Championships in the 400-meters in 2019. Also ran on Har-Ber’s state championship bronze medal cross country team, placing top-30 at the state cross country championship. In 2018, won state titles in both the 4×400-meter and 4×800-meter relays outdoors as well as the 4×800-meter relay indoors.
High School Personal Bests: 400m – 49.31; 800m – 1:58.35
Etamar Bhastekar (University of Texas-El Paso | Mizpe Ramon, Israel)
At UTEP: Placed fourth in the pole vault at 2018 Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Prior to UTEP: 2016 Israeli National Champion in the Pole Vault.
Personal Bests: Pole Vault – 5.31m (17-5); High Jump – 2.00m (6-6.75); Long Jump – 7.25m (23-9.50)
Shaka Bogan (Marion High School | Marion, Ark.)
2019 Arkansas 5A State Champion in the 110-meter hurdles; also scored in the 300-meter hurdles. Won the Arkansas 5A Indoor State Championship in the 60-meter hurdles. Undefeated in the 110-meter hurdles during his senior season. Ranked as the fastest high school 110-meter hurdler in Arkansas in 2019 and among the Top-25 in the United States. Arkansas state indoor record holder in the 60-meter hurdles. Four-time 5A East Conference Champion.
High School Personal Bests: 60m Hurdles – 8.02; 110m Hurdles – 13.84
Tyler Brendel (University of California – Berkeley / Granite Bay High School | Granite Bay, California)
At California: An NCAA Heptathlon Qualifier and Second-Team All-American Indoors in 2019 after placing 14th at the NCAA Indoor Championships. 2019 MPSF Heptathlon Champion to help California to a third-place finish at their indoor conference championships. All Pac-12 Honoree after placing third at the 2017 Pac-12 Championships in the decathlon.
Granite Bay High School: California Division Champion in the 300-meter hurdles as a senior in 2015. CIF State Championship 300-meter hurdles qualifier.
Personal Bests: Decathlon – 7,413 pts.; Heptathlon – 5,674 pts.
Ethan Carney (Har-Ber High School | Springdale, Ark.)
2019 Arkansas 6A State Champion in the 4×800-meter relay, State Runner-up in the 800-meters and Bronze Medalist in the 4×400-meter relay. Set a personal best 1:56.00 to place second overall at the Arkansas Meet of Champions. 2019 Arkansas Indoor State Champion in the 800-meters. As junior in 2018, scored in both the 400-meters and 800-meters at the State Championships to help Har-Ber High School to a state runner-up finish. Helped Har-Ber win a state title indoors and outdoors in 2017, finishing as the state runner-up in the 800-meters during the indoor season. Three-time USATF Junior Olympic National Champion (2017: 400m/800m; 2019: 800m).
Personal Bests: 800m – 1:56.00; 400m – 48.99
Devin Dougherty (Bentonville High School | Bentonville, Ark.)
2017 Arkansas 7A State Champion in the 400-meters and as a member of Bentonville’s 4×400m relay. Also won state titles in 2018 in the 200-meters and 400-meters at the Arkansas State Indoor Championships. A member of five state championship teams for Bentonville High School (2016 indoors, 2017 outdoors, 2018 indoors, 2018 outdoors and 2019 indoors). Scorer in the 200-meters and 400-meters as well as a the 4×400-meter relay at the 2019 Arkansas 6A State Championships to help Bentonville to a state runner-up team finish.
Personal Bests: 400m – 48.35; 200m – 22.18
Jeremy Farr (Wolmer’s High School | Kingston, Jamaica)
Ranked No. 3 in the world in the U20 400-meters in 2019. Jamaica’s Boys and Girls Champs 400-meter champion also placed third in the 400-meter hurdles. Also, a member of Wolmer’s Boys and Girls Champs winning 4×100-meter relay team in 2019.
Personal Bests: 400m – 45.65; 400mH – 51.41
Andrew Gilreath (Lawrence E. Elkins High School | Sugar Land, Texas)
AAU Junior Olympic Long Jump Championship. Also an AAU Junior Olympic finalist in the 100-meters. Semifinalist in the 60-meters at the 2018 New Balance Indoor National Championships.
Personal Bests: 100m – 10.50; Long Jump – 6.76m (22-2.25)
Ryan Gordon (Lucas Lovejoy High School | Lucas, Texas)
Texas 5A State Runner-up in the 200-meters; also scored on Lucas Lovejoy’s 4×200-meter relay team. Texas Relays finalist in the 100-meters.
Personal Bests: 100m – 10.56; 200m – 21.14
Tylin Jackson (Lancaster High School | Lancaster, Texas)
Texas 5A Bronze Medalist in the 200-meters; also scored on Lancaster’s 4×100-meter bronze medalist and 4×200-meter state runner-up relay teams. Helped Lancaster to a 5A State Runner-up finish in 2019. Placed fourth in the 200-meters at the UIL State Championships as a junior. Ranked Top-25 in the United States in the 200-meters outdoors in 2019. Ran 20.75 as a high school junior in 2018.
Personal Bests: 100m – 10.50; 200m – 20.75; 60m – 6.99
Maximilian Kluth (St. Ursula Gymnasium High School | Duesseldorf, Germany)
2019 German U20 Heptathlon Champion, 2018 German U20 Decathlon Champion, 2017 IAAF World Youth Championships Decathlon Qualifier. 2019 European U20 Championships Qualifier.
Personal Bests: U20 Decathlon – 7,555 pts.
Rory Leonard (Fall 2020) (King Edward VII School | Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom)
Placed 37th at the 2019 IAAF World U20 Cross Country Championships. Placed ninth in the 3000m at the 2018 European U18 Championships.
Personal Bests: 1500m – 3:48.93; 3000m – 8:18.80; 5000m – 14:16.35
Kennedy Lightner (North Little Rock High School | Little Rock, Ark.)
Ranked No. 1 in the state of Arkansas in the 100-meters, 200-meters and 400-meters for the 2019 season. Ranked No. 2 nationally in the 200-meters. Won the Great Southwest Classic 200-meters in a personal best 20.48, also placed second in the 100-meters. Won both the 100-meters and 200-meters at the Arkansas Meet of Champions. Arkansas 6A State Champion in the 100-meters and 200-meters in 2019. As a junior in 2018, placed second in the 400-meters at the State Championships. 2017 AAU and USATF Junior Olympic National Champion in the 100-meters and 200-meters.
Personal Bests: 100m – 10.31; 200m – 20.48; 500m – 47.29
Lesley Mahlakoane (Cloud County CC / Zitikeni Secondary School |Tembisa, South Africa)
Placed fourth at the 2019 Junior College National Championships in the 400-meters to help Cloud County win the team National Championships. During the indoor season, placed third at the Junior College National Championships 400-meters and also ran on his team’s 4×400 meter and Distance Medley Relay teams. Won a national title as a member of Cloud Country’s Distance Medley Relay team during the 2018 indoor season.
Personal Bests: 400m – 46.41; 200m – 21.56, Long Jump – 7.08m (23-2.75)
Nick Prentiss (Keller High School | Keller, Texas)
Placed fifth in the high jump at the Texas 6A State Championships in 2019. Runner-up in the high jump at the Texas Relays. Ranked among the top-25 high jumpers in the United States during the 2019 season. Placed seventh at the New Balance Indoor National Championships in 2019, jumping the No. 1 mark in Texas.
Personal Best: High Jump – 2.08m (6-10)
James Rainey (Lucas Lovejoy High School | Lucas, Texas)
Placed eighth in the shot put at the Texas 5A State Championships. Set a lifetime best of 56-8 in the shot put to win his Region Championship. Placed third in region in the discus throw. 2018 USATF Junior Olympic All-American.
Personal Bests: Shot Put – 17.27m (56-8); Discus Throw –52.40m (171-11)
Myles Richter (Lewisville Hebron High School | Lewisville, Texas)
Placed fifth at the Texas 6A State Championship in the 3,200-meters as a senior. Also placed fifth at the State Cross Country Championships in 2018. 2018 Region I Cross Country Champion. In the post-season, placed eighth at the Nike Cross Country South Regionals and top-20 at the Foot Locker South Regional.
Personal Bests: 1600m – 4:19.89; 3200m – 9:12.23; 5000m – 14:45.69
Rasheed Ricketts (Cardinal Ritter High School | St. Louis, Missouri)
Missouri Class 3 State Champion in the triple jump in 2018 and 2019. Also placed fifth in the long jump and was a member of the 4×200-meter relay team to help Cardinal Ritter finish as the state runner-up in 2019. Undefeated as a senior in the triple jump during the outdoor season. Placed eighth at the 2019 New Balance Indoor National Championships in the triple jump.
Personal Bests: Long Jump – 7.01m (23-0); Triple Jump – 15.03m (49-4)
Josh Shearer (The Woodlands Christian School | The Woodlands, Texas)
Three-time TAPPS 4A State Champion. 2019 State Champion in the 1,600-meters also placed third in the 3,200-meters and fourth in the 800-meters to help his team to a runner-up finish at the 2019 State Championships. Also finished third at the 2018 Cross Country State Championships to help Woodlands Christian to a State Championship. As a junior in 2018, finished as the state champion in the 3,200-meters and state runner-up in the 1,600-meters. State cross country runner-up at the 2017 state cross country championships. State champion in the 3,200-meters as a sophomore in 2017.
Personal Bests: 1600m – 4:19.32; 3200m – 9:12.62
Kyle Smith (Hoover High School | Hoover, Alabama)
2017 Alabama 7A Indoor State Champion in the Triple Jump. Hoover High School won six-consecutive indoor/outdoor state titles during his sophomore through senior seasons. As a senior, placed fourth at the Alabama 7A State Championships in the triple jump and also scored in the high jump to help Hoover High School win their third straight outdoor State Championship. During the indoor season, placed as the state runner-up in the triple jump and high jump while also scoring in the long jump, scoring 19 points to help Hoover win their third consecutive state indoor title. As a junior in 2018, finished as the state runner-up in both the long jump and triple jump outdoors. Won a state title indoors as a junior in the triple jump and also placed second in the high jump. Scored at the state championships as a sophomore both indoors and outdoors.
Personal Bests: Long Jump – 6.81m (22-4.25); Triple Jump – 14.85m (48-9); High Jump – 1.98m (6-6)
Jayce Turner (Lewisville Hebron High School | Lewisville, Texas)
As a senior in 2019, ranked in the top-15 in Texas in the 3,200-meters, running a personal best 9:11.64 at the Jesuit Relays. Placed third at his district in both the 1,600-meters and 3,200-meters in 2019 and placed third in his region in the 3,200-meters. As a junior, he was district runner-up in the 3,200-meters and placed third in the 1,600-meters. Four-time varsity letter winner in track and field and three-time letter winner in cross country.
Personal Bests: 1600m – 4:20.25; 3200m – 9:11.64
Roman Turner (Texas Southern University / Wichita Falls Hirschi | Wichita Fall, Texas)
At Texas Southern: 2019 Southwest Athletic Conference Indoor 60-meter champion. 2019 SWAC finalist in the 100-meters, also scored as a member of Texas Southern’s 4×100-meter relay squad. As a freshman in 2018, SWAC finalist in both the 100-meters outdoors and 60-meters indoors.
At Wichita Falls HS: As a senior in 2017, won Great Southwest Classic 100-meter title. Finished as the state runner-up at the Texas 4A State Championship in the 100-meters as both a senior and junior.
Personal Bests: 100m – 10.35; 200m – 22.01; 60m – 6.69