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Future Cougars In The Spotlight

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June 10, 2011
Joe Reinsch

AZUSA, Calif. -- Three of California’s top high school track and field athletes will continue their athletic careers at Azusa Pacific University, committing to join the Cougar track and field program beginning in the fall of the 2011-12 school year.

Cougar men’s head coach Kevin Reid and women’s head coach Mike Barnett announced the signings of men’s sprinter Remontay McClain from Covina (Calif.) High, men’s hurdler Jacob Hare from Scripps Ranch High in San Diego, Calif., and women’s thrower Katie Kraychir from Desert Hot Springs (Calif.) High, a high-powered trio that should be able to step in and provide immediate contributions to the nationally-competitive Cougar men’s and women’s programs.

At last weekend’s CIF state track and field meet, McClain won the boys’ 100-meter and 200-meter championships, sprinting into California prep history by becoming one of just two athletes in the 93-year history of California’s state meet to sweep those two events in consecutive seasons. Charles Paddock of Pasadena High swept those events in 1916 and 1918, and he later went on to win the gold medal in the 100 meters at the 1920 Olympics in Belgium.

“A big influence on Remontay was his high school coach Kevin Glaspy, who has a strong understanding of how Azusa Pacific provides a good place to compete in track but also will make sure he is taken good care of as a person,” Reid said. “He is a great fit for our program, both as a student and as an athlete.”

McClain also set a meet record by winning the 100 meters by the largest margin in meet history since electronic timing was adopted in the 1980s, with his time of 10.39 seconds beating the next closest sprinter by nearly three-tenths (0.28) of a second. He won the 200 meters with a time of 20.95, and he is set to compete with the nation’s elite prep sprinters this weekend in the High School Boys’ Dream 100 at the adidas Grand Prix Diamond League meet in New York City on Saturday, June 11. His race is scheduled for a 2 p.m. (Eastern) start time, and portions of the meet will be televised nationally from 3 to 5 p.m. (Eastern) on NBC.

Hare, a two-time 300-meter hurdles finalist at the state meet, claimed third place in the 110-meter high hurdles at last week’s state championships, posting a time of 14.47 which was only a hundredth of a second out of second place. Hare will train to be a decathlete at Azusa Pacific.

“For us to get two kids like this in a single recruiting class is a great addition to our program,” Reid said. “These are the kind of athletes we want as we look ahead to competing at the NCAA Div. II level, the type who have the potential to score at that Div. II national meet in a few years.”

Kraychir won back-to-back state indoor titles for the weight throw, setting the girls high school state weight throw record when she won the event as a 2010 junior with a toss of 60 feet, 1.5 inches, at the 2010 state indoor championships.

“I have always wanted to attend Azusa Pacific; so I contacted Coach Barnett last summer to ask if he would be interested in me attending,” Kraychir said. “After several discussions with my family and Coach Barnett, we were all able to make my dream come true.”

This year, she defended her title with a 60-foot performance on her final throw of the event at the Run For The Dream Indoor Track & Field Invitational, held Feb. 26-27 in Fresno, Calif. Kraychir’s father, Hank, was a two-time All-American in the shot put and discus at USC in the mid-1980s.

“What I look forward to the most for her is that she’s going to come in and be a national championship contender right off the bat in the weight and hammer throws,” Barnett said. “She’s going to bring an intensity that’s been missing in our throws, and she’s going to bring that intensity back to the level we used to be. She knows it, and we’re excited about it, and she clearly has the potential down the road to be an NCAA Div. II champion.”