BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – UAB Cross Country head coach Matt Esche announced the addition of three runners to the team for 2017 on Friday.
Joining the team next fall will be Karlee Stortz, Bethan Evans and Karsyn Whitehead.
“We are very excited to have Bethan, Karsyn and Karlee joining the Blazer cross country/track and field team for next fall,” Esche said. “All three young women bring with them very accomplished high school careers. They understand what it takes to be the best not only on the course and on the track but also in the academic arena. Adding each of them provides us with some phenomenal depth and even more weapons to use throughout the year.”
Stortz, a 4-time state cross country qualifier hails from Lockport, Ill. Stortz continuously improved throughout her years at Lockport HS as she placed 102nd (18:32) at the state meet as a freshman and 72nd (17:59) as a sophomore. Stortz closed the gap last year when she ran 17:44 to finish 55th.
“Karlee is a unique talent, who’s competitiveness will be contagious right away,” Esche added. “She comes from a very tradition rich Lockport High School and will fit in perfectly with our expectations to be a dominant program in Conference USA and the NCAA South Region. Karlee’s excitement for being a Blazer will only help to strengthen our team and encourage her teammates.”
Stortz' Personal Bests
3 Mile – 17:43
5k – 18:32
Evans, the sister of junior Rebecca Evans, represented her home country of Wales 12 different times in Cross Country and Track and Field. The highly touted runner also competed in both the Celtic Cross Country and Celtic Track and Field Championships.
“Bethan is a tremendously talented and driven student-athlete,” Esche said. “Her talents will bolster our already strong middle distance crew, and help take our team to the next level very quickly. Having her sister Rebecca running for us already is a huge help as Bethan understands the level that our program is expected to be at.”
Evans' Personal Bests
1500m – 4:41
3,000m – 10:28
Whitehead, a standout at Scottsboro HS in Alabama, was a 5A State Cross Country runner up, as well as 3,200-meter runner up and placed third in the 5A state 1,600-meter race.
“Getting an Alabama talent like Karsyn makes a loud statement that UAB can and will continue to get the top talent in the state,” Esche said. “Karsyn has enjoyed tremendous success throughout her high school career while also mentoring and inspiring her teammates. Her success and leadership will push her expectations of what UAB Cross Country/Track and Field can do for her in and out of the classroom.”
Whitehead's Personal Bests
1600 – 5:15
3200 – 11:22
5k – 18:57
For information on the complete Track and Field signing class, you can read more here.
UAB opens its 2016-17 indoor season in just over two weeks on December 4 at the Birmingham Southern Icebreaker at the Crossplex in Birmingham.
For more information on UAB Cross Country and Track and Field, fans can follow the Blazers on Twitter @UAB_TF_XC.