GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG cross country and track head coach Chad Pearson announced on Wednesday the addition of seven runners to the 2018 men’s and women’s recruiting class: Tyler Adams, Cameron Belk, Jessica Cullins, Jasmine Cullins, Ava Findlay, Brandon Hernandez and Thomas Knepshield. The trio of Cullins and Findlay will join Kathryn Anderson, Chandler McCaslin and Meredith Roberts on the women’s side while Adams, Belk, Hernandez and Knepshield will join Colin Alexander, Dylan Christopher, Dalton Miles, Jevon Neal, Joe Thoma and Nicholas Thoma for the men’s class that will join the programs for the 2018-19 academic year.
Hernandez is a native of Kannapolis, North Carolina and attends A.L. Brown High School. This year he broke a 33-year old school record in the 3,200-meter with a time of 9:29.90. In October, he won the Cabarrus County Cross Country Championship for the second year in a row and last year finished fourth in the Class 3A state meet. Hernandez contributes top times of 15:43.84 in the 5,000-meter in cross country and in track he owns personal-best of 4:18.12 in the 1,600-meter.
“Brandon comes to us from A.L. Brown HS where as a senior he developed into one of the top distance runners in the state,” said Pearson. “He ended his high school career running at a very high level and we hope to continue that once he joins us in the fall. He is the type of athlete that we hope can come in and provide instant impact to our men's fall and winter/spring lineups.”
Adams is a native of Kulpmont, Pennsylvania and attends Mount Carmel Area High School. He is a six-time letter winner for the Tornadoes as a middle-distance runner and has been named to the All-District, Area, and Conference teams. He was part of the Pennsylvania State Championship qualifying 4x800-meter relay team that set the school record last Saturday and owns a personal-best of 1:58.34 in the 800-meter. He plans to major in marketing at UNCG.
“Tyler comes to us from Mount Carmel HS, where he was coached by Chris Catton, the former coach at Ronald Reagan HS in Pfafftown, North Carolina,” said Pearson. “Under Coach Catton, Tyler developed a great awareness of what it means to train at a high level. We are excited for him to join us where we hope he will continue to develop his abilities as a distance runner and provide a positive impact to our men's team.”
Belk is from Indian Trail, North Carolina and attends Porter Ridge High School. As a four-year letter winner for the Pirates, he has garnered All-County honors the last two years and also received All-Conference honors last season. He has a personal record of 4:26.30 in the 1,600-meter and owns the school records for the 5,000-meter in cross country, 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter. He intends to major in Kinesiology.
“Cameron comes to us from Porter Ridge, where he really came on during the last part of his senior track season,” said Pearson. “While he was a late addition to our men's recruiting class, we are thrilled to have him join us at UNCG in the fall. We look forward to his continued progress as a distance runner.”
Jasmine Cullins joins us from Clayton, North Carolina and attends Cleveland High School. She has helped the Rams win their outdoor conference championship each year, three-straight indoor conference championships and a state runner-up finish in the 2016 outdoor season. She was part of the quartet that hold the school records in the 4x400 and 4x800-meter relays. Jasmine has the Rams’ top times for 500-meter and 1,000-meter. She earned the regional bronze medal in the 800-meter last year.
Jessica Cullins also from Clayton, North Carolina contributed to the success of the Ram’s championship season teams. She holds the school’s top times for the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter. She garnered bronze medalist regional honors in the 3,200-meter in 2016. Jessica was part of the Ram’s state qualifying 4x800 meter team this spring track season.
“Jessica and Jasmine come to us from Cleveland high school where they ran both cross country and track,” said Pearson. “While Jessica consistently improved each year, her running volume/mileage has been on the lower side and we see that as a positive as once we increase her running volume, we think she will realize a lot of her potential is still untapped. We hope with added structure to Jasmine’s current running volume that she will develop her aerobic abilities even more and begin to develop even more as a Division I athlete.”
Findlay attends Brevard High School in North Carolina and helped the Lady Blue Devils win back-to-back state cross country championship titles in 2015 and 2016. She finished 11th overall in 2015 and broke into the top five with a fourth-place finish in 2016. She was Brevard's top runner in the 2017 state championship. On the track she finished third and fifth at the indoor track championship meet in 2015 in the 4x800 meter relay and the 3,200-meter run, respectively. At the outdoor track finals, she finished seventh in the 3,200-meter run and helped Brevard take home fifth in the 4x800 relay. She has top times of 18:55 for the 5,000-meter in cross country and 11:34 in the 3,200-meter on the track. She plans on pursuing education and focusing on special education for children.
“Ava comes to us from Brevard HS where she has worked with Coach Phil Latter,” said Pearson. “Coach Latter has done a great job of developing her aerobic system that we hope we can take advantage of and have her grow even more as a distance runner. She comes from a great distance background and we look forward to having her race as a Spartan."
Knepshield attends Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky and has lettered the last three years for coach Chuck Medley. For the Tigers, he has helped them win three-straight state championships in cross country and a state runner-up finish this year in the 4x800-meter relay. He has earned All-State honors in 2016 and 2017. He has recorded personal-bests of 15:53.50 in the 5,000-meter, 4:30.56 in the 1,600-meter and 9:52.61 in the 3,200-meter. Graduating with a 3.91 GPA and an Eagle Scout, he plans to major in Physics and Astronomy and be a member of the Honors College.
“Thomas comes to us from St. Xavier HS, one of the more notable high school running programs in Kentucky and comes from a great distance running background,” said Pearson. “He comes from a great team atmosphere and we hope that he uses that experience to further our team atmosphere here at UNCG while also improving individually.”
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