JONESBORO (Ark St.) - The Arkansas State University women's track & field/cross country programs continue to solidify their foundation for future success as the Red Wolves have signed 10 student-athletes to a National Letter of Intent for the upcoming 2013-14 season as announced this Wednesday (July 17) by A-State head coach Jim Patchell.
The group consists of Erika Christian (Memphis, Tenn.), Shalynn Cyprien (Jacksonville, Fla.), Erin Farmer (League City, Texas), Kristi Houck (Ashdown, Ark.), Jermeka Marks (Camden, Ark.), Lindsey Mills (Lake Hamilton, Ark.), Brianne Murphy (Roselle, Ill.), Sarah Nanyonjo (Kampala, Uganda), Kiarra Simpson (Justin, Texas), and Zoie Wilson(Plano, Texas).
"We have added some great quality and depth to our women's team with this year's recruiting class," said Patchell, the 2013 Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year Award recipient. "We have shored up some of the events where we were a little short in which looks good for our team moving forward and reaching the level of performance we need to be at."
The A-State women's track team, which was regionally ranked throughout both the indoor and outdoor seasons, turned in a successful 2012-13 season by winning the Sun Belt Conference Indoor Track Championships and finishing second at the conference's outdoor track championship meet. The Red Wolves' cross country team not only recorded the program's highest all-time placing of second at the conference meet, but also had their best-ever NCAA Division I Regional Ranking of ninth place.
The following is a breakdown of Arkansas State's 10 women's track & field/cross country signees to date.
Erika Christian - Memphis, Tenn. -- Sprints Christian, a graduate of Southwind High School, will be running in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes while providing A-State with quality depth in those sprinting events. She has personal records in the 200 meters of 25.20 and 56.80 in the 400 meters. Christian achieved several athletic honors during her prep career, including 2012 and 2013 Shelby County Championships' 400-Meter Champion, 2012 and 2013 Best of the Preps and was named to the all-metro team. She concluded her senior season as a finalist for the 2013 Best of the Preps Athlete of the Year Award. Christian finished seventh in the 200 meters at the 2013 TSSAA State Track and Field Championships.
Shalynn Cyprien - Jacksonville, Fla. -- Hurdles/Sprints Cyprien graduated from Wolfson High School. A four-year member of WHS's track and field team, Cyprien set personal records of 14.40 in the 100-meter hurdles and 44.00 in the 300-intermediate hurdles. She will play a key role in the depths of A-State's relay personnel. Cyprien was a 2013 finalist of the FHSAA 3A Outdoor State Finals in the 300-intermediate hurdles, placing eighth in a time of 46.50.
Erin Farmer - League City, Texas -- Throws Farmer is a graduate of Clear Falls High School, who registered a personal record of 43'30" in the shot put. A standout athlete, Farmer earned all-district honors in volleyball along with achieving all-state and all-region honors in basketball twice. She is slated to compete in all weight throw events for the Red Wolves.
Kristi Houck - Ashdown, Ark. -- Middle Distance Houck, a graduate of Ashdown High School, supplies depth to the track's middle distance events and will participate in cross country at Arkansas State. She holds personal prep records of 1:05.00 in the 400 meters and 2:39.20 in the 800 meters.
Jermeka Marks - Camden, Ark. -- Sprints/Jumps Marks proved to be one of the state's most versatile athletes. She established personal records of 12.30 inthe 100 meters, 26.03 in the 200 meters, 19-02.25 in the long jump and 37-50.0 in the triple jump. In 2013, she captured champion titles in the long jump and triple jump events at Arkansas' 5A State Track and Field Championships. In the sprints, Marks placed third in the 200 meters and fourth in the 100 meters at the state's championships meet.
Lindsey Mills - Lake Hamilton, Ark. -- Distance Mills will be competing for the Red Wolves' cross country and track teams. She holds personal records of 5:36.20 in the 1,600-meter run and clock an 11:55.30 time in the 3,200 meters. At the 2012 Arkansas Cross Country State Championships, Mills placed seventh by posting a 21:00.50 time. As a senior, she ran a 5:41.30 time in the 1,600 meters to garner third place and generated a second-place time of 12:12.20 in the 3,200-meter race at the Arkansas 6A State Meet.
Brianne Murphy - Roselle, Ill. -- Distance Murphy, a distance standout from Lake Park High School, has compiled personal record times of 5:04.70 in the 1,600 meters, 11:11.30 in the 3,200 meters, and 2:20.60 in the 800 meters. Murphy ran a PR of 17:10.0 at the 2012 Illinois State Cross Country State Championship meet and notched a personal-best 5:04.0 time at the 2013 IHSA Girls State Track and Field Championships. She is expected to add excellent depth to the Red Wolves' distance core and should be a contributor in seasons to come.
Sarah Nanyonjo - Kampala, Uganda -- Middle Distance Nanyonjo is expected to strengthen A-State's middle distance event in track and will also run cross country. Nanyonjo has garnered a personal best 2:09.0 time in the 800 meters. Nanyonjo has registered personal-best times of 4:30.0 in the 1,500 meters and 20:23.0 on a 6K cross country course.
Kiarra Simpson - Justin, Texas -- Throws Simpson is a graduate of Northwest High School and holds a personal best in the discus with a throw of 139-00. Simpson finished seventh in the discus at the 2013 UIL 5A State Track and Field Championships. She will compete in all of the weight events for Arkansas State.
Zoie Wilson - Plano, Texas -- Distance
A graduate of Plano West High School, Wilson will be competing for the Red Wolves' cross country and track teams. Wilson set personal records in the 1,600 meters of 5:37.84 and 12:17.50 in the 3,200 meters. Her 5K time of 19:35.60 in cross country is a personal best.