Georgia track and field teams added 10 team members on the first day of the national signing period for the sport on Wednesday.
Lauren Brennan (Snellville, Ga.), Alex Eaton (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Madeline Fagan (Saratoga, Ca.), Anna Gandolfo (Roswell, Ga.), Lauren Hovis (Hoschton, Ga.), Addy Lippitt (Suwanee, Ga.), Keturah Orji (Budd Lake, N.J.) and Taylor Tuttle (Snellville, Ga.) have signed to compete for the Lady Bulldogs. Raytez Jenkins (Talbotton, Ga.) and Daniel Navarro (Atlanta) were the additions to the men’s team.
Headlining the group was New Jersey jumper Keturah Orji. A student at Mt. Olive High School and native of Budd Lake, N.J., Orji is the nation’s No. 1 prospect in the jumps and is among the top three returning triple and long jumpers in the world. She most recently swept the triple jump (44 feet, ¼ inches) and the long jump (20-1.50) at the New Jersey Varsity Classic on February 5 with a pair of meet record marks. Her triple jump ranks second all-time for U.S. high schoolers and is this year’s national leader.
Orji was the World Youth silver medalist in the long jump with a mark of 20-11.75. She also earned a bronze medal at the World Youth meet after recording a triple jump effort of 44-11, which is the No. 2 all-time performance for an American at the meet. Orji has won a combined three national championships in the long and triple jumps. She is the New Jersey state indoor triple jump record holder and also leads the nation in the indoor long jump after traveling 20-8.75 this season.
“Keturah is arguably the highlight of our recruiting class,” said Bulldog multi-events coach Petros Kyprianou. “We are very fortunate, blessed and excited for the opportunity to work with such a great person, athlete and student. The recruiting process was an exciting journey as I got the chance to connect with her family and get to know them. It was not easy to get her to become a Lady Bulldog since we went up against the top schools in this country but it was all worth it. This is another great addition to a very powerful and young Lady Bulldog team.”
Below is a breakdown of the other nine new Bulldogs:
Lauren Brennan (Brookwood HS) – Brennan registered the fastest time of her career to take 103rd at the 2013 Foot Locker South Regional. Leading up to the Foot Locker meet, Brennan was third in the 5k at the GHSA 5-A State Cross Country Championships with a 19:16.44. She also had a fourth-place finish at the 2013 Nike/Fleet Feet Coach Wood Invitational and has personal-best times of 5:28.55 in the 1600 meters, 11:49.41 in the 3200 meters and 18:53.00 in the 5k. Also in 2013, Brennan was eighth at the Disney Cross Country Classic after completing the course in 19:25.71.
Alex Eaton (Shorecrest Academy) – Eaton was fifth in the 3200-meter run at the 2013 FHSAA 1A State Championships after running her fastest time and was the second-place finisher at the state cross country meet as a senior. Eaton, who was third at the state cross country meet as a junior, won the 2013 Bay Conference Championship in the 1600 and 3200. Eaton clocked a 19:03 to finish 115th at the 2013 Foot Locker South Regional. She has personal-best times of 5:13.86 (1600), 11:21.29 (3200) and 18:18.66 (5k).
Madeline Fagan (Saratoga HS) – Fagan reached a personal best of 5 feet, 10 ¾ inches to win the high jump at the 2013 Stanford Invitational. Fagan had an indoor season-best mark of 5-10 to earn top honors at the 2013 California High School Indoor Invitational. She also won the 2013 Arcadia Invitational with a mark of 5-10 and the 2013 K-Bell Invitational after clearing 5-8.
Anna Gandolfo (Blessed Trinity HS) – Gandolfo is the defending 1600-meter champion after recording a personal-best time of 5:10.59 to win at the 2013 GHSA AAA State Championships. She complemented that performance with a career-best time of 11:26.37 to take second in the 3200 meters at the state meet. A 19th-place finisher at the 2012 Foot Locker South Regional, Gandolfo was third at the 2013 state cross country meet as a senior after taking second at the region meet with a 5k personal best of 18:52.49. She finished fourth at the 2012 state cross country meet.
Lauren Hovis (Mill Creek HS) – Hovis earned runner-up honors as a senior at the 2013 Great American Cross Country Festival with a time of 18:56.8 and finished fourth at the 2013 GHSA 6A State Cross Country Championships. She placed second overall at the NEGA Cross Country Championships as a senior and third as a junior while taking third at the Gwinnett County Cross Country Championships as a senior. Hovis turned in a personal-best time of 11:03.55 en route to a fifth-place finish in the 3200-meter run at the 2013 GHSA 6A State Championships. She also finished eighth in the 1600 at the 2013 state meet. Hovis has personal-best times of 5:05.87 (1600), 11:03.55 (3200) and 18:44.10 (5k), all of which are school records at Mill Creek.
Addy Lippitt (Peachtree Ridge HS) – Lippitt claimed first-place honors at the Region 7 and 8 GHSA cross country meet as a senior in 2013 and followed up with a fifth-place showing at the state championships. Lippitt captained her team to a state title. She notched a second-place finish at the Gwinnett County Cross Country Championships during her senior season. Lippitt placed third in the 1600-meter run at the 2013 Georgia 6A Sectional Meet and 11th in the finals of the GHSA State Track Championships as a junior while also earning 10th-place finish in the 3200 at the 2013 GHSA Girls State Track Championships. She has personal-best times of 5:15.60 (1600), 11:34.07 (3200) and 17:53.65 (5k).
Taylor Tuttle (Providence Academy) – Tuttle posted one of the most impressive performances of her career by winning the two-mile run with a career best 11:03.31 at the 2014 Vanderbilt Invitational. She earned runner-up honors as a senior at the 2013 GHSA A State Cross Country Championships, while finishing third overall as a junior and sixth overall as a sophomore at the same event. She finished third in the 3200-meter run at the GHSA State Championships as a junior and fifth in the event as a senior. Tuttle also took fifth in the 1600 meters as both a junior and a senior at the state meet. She has personal-best times of 5:14 (1600) 11:26 (3200) and 17:32.63 (5k). Tuttle also played catcher for the Providence softball team, helping lead the squad to a state runner-up finish as a freshman in 2011.
Raytez Jenkins (Central Talbotton HS) – Jenkins swept the 200-meter dash and the 400 at the 2013 GHSA A state meet and finished first in the 400 at the 2013 A Public Sectionals. The 6-foot-4 sprinter also won the 200 and the 400 at the 2013 Georgia Olympics.
Daniel Navarro (Marist HS) – Navarro was the 2013 GHSA 4A 1600-meter run state champion (4:23.10) and 3200 state champion (9:21.70). He also placed first at the 2013 GHSA Cross Country State Championship. Navarro owns the Marist school record in the 3200 with a time of 9:20 and raced in both the Great American Cross Country Festival and the Foot Locker South Regional as a senior in 2013. Also racing in both the Foot Locker meet as a freshman, sophomore and junior, he was also named to the USATF-Georgia Indoor All-State Team as a junior and selected as a member of the Atlanta Track Club All-Metro Cross Country Team in 2013. He competed at the Great American race during his first three years at Marist and ran at the New Balance Indoor & Outdoor Nationals as a junior. Navarro finished third overall in the 2011 USATF Georgia Junior Olympic Championships and has personal-best times of 1:59.62 (800), 4:17 (1600), 9:14 (two-mile run, Marist record) and 15:13 (5k, Marist record). Navarro was also part of school records in the distance medley relay and 4×800 relay.
Stay tuned to georgiadogs.com as the rest of Georgia’s signees join the squad. Updates about all Bulldog track and field news can be found on Twitter at @UGA_TFXC.