HUNTSVILLE - The Sam Houston State track and field programs has signed a decorated high school recruiting class for the 2020-21 seasons, head coach Dave Self announced Wednesday.
The Bearkats have added seven signees to the women’s team and one on the men’s side. Joining the women are Aerial Williams (sprints), Jackeria Woodkins (sprints), Tytiana Morrison (hurdles), Maia Coleman (hurdles), KeAyla Dove (throws), Bailey Cotten (pole vault) and Katie Straub (endurance), and the men have added and Kyan Wallace (endurance).
The SHSU men’s program won both the indoor and outdoor Southland Conference Championships last year, while the women’s program finished seventh at the indoor and sixth at the outdoor championships.
Aerial Williams | Sprints | Houston | Alief Hastings HS
Williams put up career bests of 12.08 seconds in the 100 meters, 25.12 in the 200 meter and 55.65 in the 400 meters during her junior year at Alief Hastings last season. The daughter of Rondeanda Williams ranks fifth among the signing class of 2020 in the state of Texas. She placed fifth in the 400m at the Region 3-6A Championships this past spring.
“Aerial brings a great range in events to the sprints group,” head coach Dave Self said. “She will make an immediate impact to the long sprints group as well as be a possible leg on the 4x100 relay.”
Jackeria Woodkins | Sprints | La Marque | La Marque HS
Woodkins turned in a career-best 24.25 seconds in the 200 meter as a junior last season and 55.45 in the 400 as a sophomore at La Marque for Coach Amber Rozier. She is ranked seventh in the state, 48th in the country in the 200 for the class of 2020, and eighth in the state in the 400 with a time of 55.88. The daughter of Segonia Tatum, Woodkins won the 400 at the UIL Class 4A State Track and Field Championships in 2019 and 2018, and she placed sixth in the 200 in 2019 and 2018.
“Jackeria brings great championship meet experience as well as success,” Self said. “She is a multiple-time state meet qualifier only through her junior year. She is the two-time defending 4A 400-meter state champion. She is a top 50 national ranking in the United States. Wanting to major in forensics, Sam Houston State is a natural fit for her.”
Tytiania Morrison | Hurdles | Houston | Eisenhower High School
Morrison, who is the daughter of Frances Morrison, turned in career bests in the 100-meter hurdles (14.68) and 300-meter hurdles (43.68) as a junior at Eisenhower High School last year. She is ranked fifth in the state and 39th in the country in the 300-meter hurdles for the class of 2020. Last spring, Morrison placed sixth at the UIL Class 6A State Track and Field Championships in the 300 hurdles and was second at the Region 2-6A Championships.
“Tytiania has only been hurdling for two years, so her potential for improvement is untapped,” Self said. “Very soon she will be a huge contributor in the hurdle events.”
Maia Coleman | Hurdles | Houston | Lamar HS
Coleman ran career bests in the 100-meter hurdles (14.86 seconds) and 300-meter hurdles (43.89) during her junior year at Lamar High School. The daughter of Dannie Coleman ranked seventh in the state in the 300-meter hurdles. She placed third at the Region 3-6A Championships in the 300-meter hurdles in 2019 and was fifth at the TTFCA Meet of Champions. Coleman also placed fourth in the 300-meter hurdles at the 2018 Region 3-6A Championships.
“In both her sophomore and junior years, Maia has been on the cusp of qualifying for the 6A state meet out of the Houston Region which is the toughest in the state,” Self said. “She will be a great addition to our hurdle crew in both events.”
KeAyla Dove | Throws | Katy | Cypress Lakes HS
Dove is ranked third in the state and 18th in the country in the shot put as well as eighth in the state in the discus for the class of 2020. She turned in career bests in the shot put (45 feet, 6 inches) and discus (140 feet, 7 inches) during her junior season at Cypress Lakes. The daughter of La’Torria and Dwain White, Dove has competed in the shot put at the UIL 6A Track and Field State Championships since her freshman year. She earned all-state honors as a freshman and sophomore as well as winning a silver medal last spring. She has also had medal finishes at the Region 2-6A Championships and the Texas Relays.
“We are beyond proud that KeAyla chose Sam Houston to continue her education and athletic career,” throwing Coach Jon Tipton said. “KeAyla is an amazing young woman with a very bright future ahead of her. Although her marks stand out, and she is extremely talented. Her personality is what makes her so special. The relationship that we built through the recruiting process will forever bond us together. This young woman will accomplish great things as she builds onto the foundation already constructed here. We look forward to being with KeAyla as she competes at many major championships in her time at Sam Houston State University.”
Bailey Cotten | Pole Vault | The Woodlands | College Park HS
Cotten had a career-best jump of 12 feet as a sophomore at College Park High School. The daughter of Amy and Vernon Cotton, she is ranked 11th in the state in pole vault for the class of 2020. She placed ninth at Region 2-6A Championships in pole vault as a junior last spring.
“We are extremely excited that Bailey has chosen to join the Sam fam and continue her education and athletic career here in Huntsville,” vaulting coach Cutter Bernhard said. “She is a talented pole vaulter with a youthful excitement for the sport and someone who will be the foundation for the future of the women’s pole vault program. Bailey has shown through the recruiting process that has all the tools to be successful, academically and athletically and we look forward to getting her on campus and wish her the best of luck throughout her senior year.”
Katie Straub | Endurance | Sugar Land | Fort Bend Travis High School
Straub, who is the daughter of Sandra and Henry Straub, is a three-time individual qualifier for the UIL State Cross Country Championships and eight-time District 20-6A Champion. She turned in a career best of 5:12.76 in the 1,600-meter run as a sophomore and 11:30.40 in the 3,200 her junior year.
“I’m excited every time we have an opportunity to add a high performing all-around student-athlete join our program, and Katie definitely falls into that category,” endurance coach Jesse Parker said. “She has performed at a high level in cross country since her sophomore year and has a history of running her best races when it matters the most; something I value greatly. I can’t wait to get her on campus and to start working with her.”
Kyan Wallace | Endurance | Tomball | Tomball Memorial HS
Wallace has personal bests in the 1,600-meter run at 4:29.18 and in the 3,200 at 9:48.30.
"We are excited about having Kyan join the program,” Parker said. “He's a very good student and incredibly hard working. We think he can help our men's cross country team immediately and we are looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish on the track."