ECU welcomes large cross country class

East Central University cross country coach Steve Sawyer has announced the additions of 10 student-athletes – seven men and three women – to its program for 2010-11.

“I am very excited about this recruiting class. There are still a few runners who we are talking to. Therefore, this class could improve even more,” said Sawyer. “Since I have been here, this by far is the best men’s recruiting class we have signed. Last year was the best class we signed for the women’s team, but I believe this class can equal last year’s.

Among those male additions is Ezekiel Kissorio, who came to ECU in the spring 2010 semester and recently ran in several distance races at track and field meets.

Kissorio, out of Eldoret, Kenya, is the brother of Silas Kissorio, a two-time NAIA national champion (one in cross country in the fall of 2009 and one in the 800-meter run in the spring of 2009) for Oklahoma Christian.

“Ezekiel has shown his talents as he has taken over the No. 1 spot on the team, winning a 5-kilometer scrimmage meet against Cameron in 15:16. He also won a 5k Oklahoma Christian meet in 15:23,” Sawyer said.

Kissorio comes to ECU with personal bests of 14:48 (5k) and 24:29 (8k).

Also signed for the men’s team are four more freshmen in Cale Eidson, Marcos Duran, Taylor Nasu and Ricardo Trejo, along with two more freshmen commitment walk-ons in Josiah Biles and Cale Prince, both out of Ada High School.

Eidson is a three-time state champion in the mile run and placed third as a senior. He is a state runner-up in the 800 meter run (1:57.02), finishing just 0.02 seconds away from being the state champion in that race a week ago. He has won six individual state championship races – three in cross country and three in the 1600 meters. Eidson comes to ECU fresh off a 2009 state championship in cross country.

Duran, a Class 4A regional champion in cross country, joins the Tiger program out of Madill High School, which claimed three state championships in cross country during his presence. He is an all-state honoree in both cross country and track. He is coming off an excellent senior season in which he set personal records across the board. He posted a personal-best time of 4:33.6 in winning the 1600 at Durant, edging out future teammate Eidson. In fact, he qualified for state in all four events he competed in. He was part of the state champion 1600-meter relay team with a phenomenal time of 3:22.12. Duran also placed fourth in the 1600 run (4:35.99), fifth in the 800 (2:01.54) and helped Madill’s 3200-meter relay team to a state runner-up finish in 8:15.98.

Nasu comes to ECU out of Ayala High School in Chino Hills, Calif. He was the lead runner for Ayala High as a senior as he has posted personal-best times of 15:31 in the 3-mile and 16:09 in the 5k. In track, he posted times of 4:35 in the 1600 and 10:09 in the 3200 as a senior.

Trejo joins the Tiger cross country program from U.S. Grant High School in Oklahoma City, where he splits time as a soccer player and runner.

“His true love comes from playing soccer. That has been his training program for cross country and track. Therefore, Trejo has no real cross country training,” said Sawyer. “The sky is the limit with this kid. There is no telling where he will go with proper training under his belt.”

Biles, the son of ECU Professor Dr. Charlie Biles, will enter the program as a walk-on in 2010 after earning all-state honors for Ada High, placing 10th at the 2009 state cross country championships. Josiah recently claimed a regional championship in the 1600 meters and placed fourth at state with a personal-best time of 4:39.07.

Prince and Biles were part of the third-place team in the 3200 relay at regionals last week and placed sixth at state earlier this week with a team-best time of 8:32.

“Cale is an extremely talented distance runner. He has improved drastically over the years at Ada,” Sawyer said. “He loves to run. He loves to run so much that he decided to not go out for football his senior year and focus solely on cross country.”

On the women’s side, ECU signed two junior college athletes in Caroline Masai and Jordan Earle while adding a freshman walk-on in Kelci Estep.

Masai comes to ECU from Colby Community College (Kan.) after spending one season at New Mexico Junior College as a freshman. She comes to the Lady Tiger program to be closer to her sister who runs at Oklahoma Christian.

“Caroline is a great distance runner. She loves to run and has run sub 20 minutes in 5k cross country races,” said Sawyer.

Earle, from Independence, Kan., transfers in from Coffeyville Community College (Kan.), where she was a mid-distance runner for the track team as her specialty is the 800-meter run. She helped Coffeyville earn a spot in the NJCAA National Track Championships in the 4x800 relay.

“Jordan is new to distance running as she just started running cross country in 2009. She immediately had a love for distance running and has excelled at a fast rate,” Sawyer said.

Earle’s best 5k time is 21:30 on the track.

Estep, from McLoud, started on the basketball team at McLoud High School throughout her career. She recently started distance running because a coach noticed her speed. She finished fourth at the Oklahoma Baptist cross country meet and came one spot shy of qualifying for state at the regional meet in Norman.

“I am pumped about each and very runner we have signed. Each runner brings something different to the table and that makes the teams so much more competitive. I expect to see big things from these two recruiting classes,” said Sawyer. “This is the future of the program and I believe these two classes are a huge step in the right direction for a bright future.”

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