HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Sam Houston State track and field welcomes three student-athletes to its 2017 signing class, coach Jesse Parker announced Wednesday. The trio includes the additions of Hailey Chorn and Rebeca Gonzalez to the women’s program and Pablo Ponce to the men’s team.

The group joins as a pair of cross country squads that had strong success during the 2016 season. The women matched their best finish in program history, taking second at the Southland Conference Cross Country Championships, led by a pair of top five-results. The men secured fifth overall.

On the track, Sam Houston won three of four Southland Conference titles during the 2016 indoor and outdoor season including the men’s first league title in 10 years at indoors before taking runner-up at outdoors. The women, meanwhile, continued to surge, taking both titles.

Here is a closer look at the three incoming Bearkat athletes:

Hailey Chorn
High School: Clear Creek High School
Hometown: League City, Texas
Parents: Wes and Jennifer Chorn
High School Coach: Zachariah Zepeda
Intended Academic Major: Nursing
Personal Bests: 5:20.84 (1600m) / 11:36.00 (3200m) / 19:37 for 5000m XC

Coach Parker’s Thoughts: “Hailey comes in with a great running background and has to the ability to contribute to the program in both cross country and track & field. She has been a competitive runner at the regional level since her sophomore year in both the 3200m and cross country at the 6A level. She has improved steadily each year and is someone that will continue to get better each year. She has a great, competitive attitude and is someone we are excited to bring into our program.”

Rebeca Gonzalez
High School: Porter High School
Hometown: Porter, Texas
Parents: Oziel and Esmeralda Gonzalez
High School Coach: Tony Tobias
Intended Academic Major: Business Management / Psychology
Personal Bests: 2:18.00 (800m) / 5:24.21 (1600m) / 19:10 for 5000m XC

Coach Parker’s Thoughts: “Rebeca is someone who has focused on the middle distances during her high school career and we expect she’ll continue to grow into an outstanding middle distance runner in college. She has shown great range in her abilities at 400m, 800m, 1600m and cross country. She won her district meet in 2016 in both the 800m and 1600m and went on to finish 5th at her regional meet in the 800m. She also was 5th at the 5A Region III Cross Country Championships a few weeks ago, qualifying for the state championships. This range is rare to find, but incredibly important for any middle distance runner. On top of this, she is a great student and currently the salutatorian of her graduating class.”

Pablo Ponce
High School: Brazoswood High School
Hometown: Clute, Texas
Parents: Alejandra Loya and Pablo Ponce III
High School Coach: Michael Tummins
Intended Academic Major: Education / History
Personal Bests: 2:00.14 (800m) / 4:25.82 (1600m) / 9:41.20 (3200m) / 15:57 for 5000m XC

Reasons for Choosing SHSU: “I was naturally drawn to SHSU because of the teaching program. When looking at colleges, I looked at which ones offered that before even looking at the teams. While on my visit I just felt like I belonged at Sam Houston.”

Coach Parker’s Thoughts:Pablo has been a remarkable consistent athlete in both cross country and track throughout high school. He won his district cross country championship in both 2015 and 2016 and has recently qualified to the state cross country championships after finishing 10th at the 6A Region III Cross Country Championships. He has also been competitive at the regional level in both the 1600m and 3200m in 2016 and should continue his improvement trend into the spring of his senior year. He is incredibly tough and not afraid to train and race hard. We are really looking forward to continue developing such a competitive athlete.