Women's Track & Field Signs Eight Recruits

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
Women's Track & Field Signs Eight Recruits

BATON ROUGE – It takes a well-rounded team to compete at the highest level for SEC and NCAA championships year in and year out, and the LSU Track & Field program has taken a big step toward ensuring future success for the women’s team by signing eight standout recruits to National Letters of Intent this November.

The Lady Tigers will welcome the Class of 2017 to campus for the first time next fall as these eight recruits look to make an impact in the sprints, hurdles, jumps and distance events beginning in 2018.

Trinidad & Tobago international Zakiya Denoon (Belle Garden, Tobago) is the lone addition to the Lady Tigers’ sprint squad with the Class of 2017 as a two-time junior college national champion, while Jurnee Woodward (Vacaville, California) and Milan Young (Houston, Texas) sign as two of the most highly-recruited hurdle prospects from across the country this season.

Prep standouts Kyndal McKnight (Denton, Texas) and Abby O’Donoghue (Denham Springs, Louisiana) bolster LSU’s jumps group as Top 5 and Top 10 national recruits in their respective events in this year’s signing Class of 2017, while Kristin Delgado (The Woodlands, Texas), Kirsten Landry (Youngsville, Louisiana) and Alicia Stamey (Baton Rouge) join the program’s stable of distance runners.

“Our coaches have done an excellent job recruiting the best athletes from across the country and addressing our needs in each of the event areas in recent recruiting cycles,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “We’ll accomplish that again with this year’s class. It’s an exciting time for our program, and we’re very pleased that each of these young women will soon join us at LSU.”

The Lady Tigers recruited Denoon over a host of the nation’s leading sprint powers following an outstanding rookie season at New York’s Monroe College in the National Junior College Athletics Association.

During her freshman season in 2016, Denoon was crowned the NJCAA Indoor Champion in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes to finish up the season in which she clocked indoor personal bests of 7.39 and 23.64, respectively. She also earned the title of NJCAA Outdoor Silver Medalist in the 200 meters during the 2016 outdoor season while running a wind-legal personal best of 23.56 (+1.5) in the national final.

Denoon stepped onto the world stage representing Trinidad & Tobago for the first time in 2014 while running the 4×100-meter relay at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon. She also swept silver in the 100 meters and 200 meters at the 2014 Central American & Caribbean Junior Championships before winning Under-20 silver medals in the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays at the 2014 Carifta Games.

The Lady Tigers feature arguably the top freshman class of hurdlers in the country this season with Class of 2016 signees Tonea Marshall of Arlington, Texas, and Brittley Humphrey of Hoover, Alabama, now on campus. By signing Woodward and Young to National Letters of Intent, LSU has again locked up an outstanding class that is sure to make an impact at the highest level for many years to come.

Woodward, who hails from Vacaville (Calif.) High School, is the reigning California State Champion in the 300-meter hurdles after running her personal-best time of 40.62 in the state final as a junior in 2016.

Woodward’s PR of 40.62 was the top time run in the United States by a high school hurdler in the Class of 2017, and ranked No. 2 nationally among all classifications for the 2016 season. In fact, Woodward ranked in the Top 6 nationally in her class in three hurdle events last outdoor season at No. 6 with a best of 13.52 in the 100 hurdles and No. 4 with a best of 59.23 in the 400 hurdles.

Young bounced back from an injury-plagued sophomore season in 2015 to become one of the most highly-recruited hurdlers in the country in 2016 as the AAU Junior Olympic Champion in the 100 hurdles and the AAU Junior Olympic Silver Medalist in the 400 hurdles last summer. Not only that, but Young proved to be one of the elite dual hurdlers in Texas as the Class 6A Silver Medalist in the 300 hurdles and Class 3A Bronze Medalist in the 100 hurdles for Lamar High School at the 2016 University Interscholastic League Outdoor State Championships.

While Woodward ranked No. 1 nationally among members of the Class of 2017 in the 300-meter hurdles with her performance in 2016, Young cracked the Top 5 nationally in the class as her PR of 41.87 to win the event at the Great Southwest Classic in Albuquerque ranked No. 5 for 2017 recruits a season ago. She also owns personal bests of 13.74 in the 100 hurdles and 1:00.30 in the 400 hurdles in her career.

Also ranked among the nation’s Top 5 recruits in the Class of 2017 in her event is McKnight, who signed with LSU as the nation’s No. 5-ranked triple jumper with her personal best of 41 feet, 3 inches set a year ago.

A product of Marcus High School, McKnight jumped 41-3 into a headwind of -1.2 meters per second to earn the Texas Class 6A silver medal in the state final a year ago for the No. 8-ranked mark among all classifications at the high school level in the United States. McKnight, who also owns a best of 18-1 ¼ in the long jump, cleared the 40-foot mark at the Region 1-6A (40-2 ½) and AAU Junior Olympic Games (40-2 ¾) last season.

O’Donoghue joins the Lady Tigers as one of the most accomplished high jumpers in the history of high school track and field in the state of Louisiana with a Class 5A outdoor state record of 5-9 already to her name. She cleared the bar at 5-9 at the 2016 Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 5A Outdoor State Track & Field Championships for her third-straight state title in the event.

O’Donoghue, an indoor state champion as a sophomore in 2015, cracked the Top 10 nationally a year ago as her personal best tied for the No. 8-ranked mark among all high jumpers in the Class of 2017.

LSU’s distance group and cross country team are strengthened by the signing of Delgado, Landry and Stamey to National Letters of Intent as they will arrive on campus next fall following outstanding prep careers.

Twice the Louisiana Class 1A State Cross Country Champion while running for Ascension Episcopal School, Landry was also crowned the Mobile Cross Country Challenge of Champions Champion this fall. Stamey, winner of the mile at the 2016 Mobile Challenge of Champions, has been crowned a Louisiana state champion four times and Louisiana Class 2A Cross Country Silver Medalist two times. Delgado was a three-time UIL Texas Class 6A State Cross Country Championships qualifier from 2014-16 while running for The Woodlands High School.