South Dakota director of track and field/cross country Lucky Huber is pleased to announce the additions of 12 track and field athletes, six men and six women, to the Coyote track and field program for 2020-21.
The commitments include Dylan Blake, Demar Francis, Kaitlyn Gammon, Laken Gardner, Jarek Glenn, Jacob Jenkins, Abrielle Jirele, Lizzy Kramer, Lionel McPhaull Jr., Sydney Shaw, Virgil Steward and Renee Thompson.
“We are very excited to add these exceptional young people to our program,” said Huber. “While their high school careers were cut short, we are happy that they will have the chance to continue their track and field careers as Coyotes.”
Dylan Blake | Middle Distance | Mapleton, Iowa | Maple Valley – Anthon Oto HS
A middle distance runner from Mapleton, Iowa, Dylan Blake is a four-time qualifier in cross country and three-time qualifier on the track for the Iowa State Championships. Blake placed sixth in the 800 meters in 1:58.23 at the 2019 Iowa Track and Field Class 2A Championships. He’s a two-time place winner at the state meet in the 800 meters and on the Rams’ 4×800-meter relay. He took seventh in the 800 meters at the 2019 Drake Relays. Blake is a four-time all-Western Valley Conference honoree in cross country and three-time all-WVC in track and field. Blake also played basketball and baseball for the Rams. An honor roll student, Blake plans to enroll in South Dakota’s business school.
Demar Francis | Sprints | St. Thomas, Jamaica | Excelsior HS
Hailing from St. Thomas, Jamaica, Demar Francis left his mark on the record books of Excelsior High School. He broke a 28-year-old school record for the 400 meters previously held by Olympic medalist Gregory Haughton. Francis clocked his record-breaking time of 46.87 seconds in February at the Corporate Area Championships. Francis also ran on Excelsior’s winning 4×400-meter relay at the 2019 ISSA Athletics Championships with a school record time of 3:10.94. He holds a personal best of 21.85 seconds for the 200 meters as well. An honor roll student, Francis plans to major in kinesiology and sport management at South Dakota.
Kaitlyn Gammon | Throws | Cedar Rapids, Iowa | Prairie HS
A thrower from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kaitlyn Gammon holds the USATF regional hammer record of 122-6. She is a USATF Junior Olympic qualifier. Gammon holds personal bests of 108-11 in the discus and 36-7 ½ in the shot put. An honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society, Gammon plans to major in medical biology at South Dakota.
Laken Gardner | Sprints | Sioux City, Iowa | Sioux City East HS
A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Lake Gardner holds the Sioux City metro record for the 100-meter hurdles with a clocking of 14.50 seconds from last spring’s Yankton Quadrangular. Gardner qualified for three Iowa Class 4A Championships competing for Sioux City East and Sioux City West High Schools. She also ran at three Drake Relays meets, placing 14th in the 100 hurdles race as a junior. She also played basketball for the Black Raiders. Gardner plans to major in kinesiology and sport management at South Dakota.
Jarek Glenn | Distance | Rapid City, S.D.| St. Thomas More HS
A distance runner from Rapid City, South Dakota, Jarek Glenn finished runner-up in the 800 meters and third in the mile, while also placing in a pair of relays, at the 2019 South Dakota Class A Track and Field Championships. He’s a five-time state medalist on the track, helping St. Thomas More win the team title four out of five years. Glenn is also a four-time state medalist on the cross country course and placed fourth as a senior with a clocking of 16:44.71. Owns personal bests of 4:32.77 for 1,600 meters, 10:13.26 for 3,200 meters and 16:24.12 for 5,000 meters on the cross country course. Glenn also played basketball for the Cavaliers. He was a member of the National Honor Society, participated in student council and was a Boys State representative. An honor roll student, Glenn plans to major in biology at South Dakota.
Jacob Jenkins | Jumps | Round Rock, Texas | Round Rock HS
A jumper hailing from Round Rock, Texas, Jacob Jenkins garnered AAU Junior Olympic All-America status with a fourth-place finish in the triple jump in 2018. Jenkins owns personal bests of 47-4 in the triple jump and 22-8 in the long jump. He also played football for the Dragons. Jenkins plans to major in biology at South Dakota.
Abrielle Jirele | Distance | Eden Prairie, Minn. | Eden Prairie HS
Hailing from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Abrielle Jirele is a two-time qualifier for the Minnesota Track and Field Championships. She also ran at the 2019 Minnesota Cross Country Championships, before finishing off her senior season with a personal best 5,000-meter time of 18:55.6 at the Nike Heartland Regional. On the track, she owns personal bests of 1:39.44 for 600 meters and 2:17.52 for 800 meters. Jirele received academic all-state recognition in both cross country and track and field. A three-sport letterwinner for the Eagles, Jirele also helped Eden Prairie’s basketball team reach the 2020 state tournament. Jirele plans to study communication sciences and disorders at South Dakota.
Lizzy Kramer | Distance | Lincoln, Neb. | Pius X HS
A distance runner from Lincoln, Nebraska, Lizzy Kramer is a two-time state medalist at the Nebraska Class A Cross Country Championships. She was fourth as a sophomore in 2017. She was also a member of the Thunderbolts’ state championship cross country team in Class B in 2018 and a member of two fourth-place 4×800-meter relays at the Nebraska Class A Track and Field Championships. Kramer owns a personal best of 18:44.96 for 5,000 meters on the cross country course. On the track, she has a personal best of 5:18.76 for 1,600 meters. An honor roll student, Kramer plans to major in psychology at South Dakota.
Lionel McPhaull Jr. | Sprints | Omaha, Neb. | Omaha North High Magnet School
A sprinter from Omaha, Nebraska, Lionel McPhaull Jr. is a two-time qualifier for the Nebraska Class A Track and Field Championships. He ran a leg of Omaha North’s third-place 4×100-meter relay in 2019 with a clocking of 42.60 seconds. He is the son of Lionel McPhaull, South Dakota’s school record holder for the indoor and outdoor 400 meters. McPhaull owns personal bests of 11.04 for 100 meters and 22.05 for 200 meters. McPhaull also played football for the Vikings. McPhaull plans to major in kinesiology and sport management.
Sydney Shaw| Hurdles | White Owl, S.D. | Sturgis Brown HS
A native of White Owl, South Dakota, Sydney Shaw placed sixth in the 300-meter hurdles in 48.12 seconds at the 2019 South Dakota Class AA Track and Field Championships. She clocked a personal best time of 47.43 seconds in the preliminaries the day before. The time ranks fifth in Sturgis Brown High School history. She’s a four-time state medalist, also competing on Sturgis Brown’s 4×200-meter relay which posted its best finish of fifth in 2017. She holds a Sturgis Brown school record as a part of the relay, clocking 1:45.06. Shaw won the 300 hurdles at the 2018 Black Hills Conference meet and finished runner-up the following season. She’s a three-sport letterwinner, also competing for the Scoopers’ volleyball and basketball teams. She was the Letterman’s Club president, her senior class treasurer, the National Honor Society secretary and a Girls State representative. An honor roll student, Shaw plans to major in health sciences at South Dakota.
Virgil Steward | Sprints | Naperville, Ill. | Metea Valley HS
A sprinter hailing from Naperville, Illinois, Virgil Steward qualified in three events for the 2019 Illinois Class 3A Track and Field Championships during his junior season. He anchored Metea Valley’s 4×200-meter relay to an eighth-place finish in 1:28.93. Steward captured a sectional title in the 100 meters as a junior and finished runner-up in the 200 meters. He owns personal bests of 10.87 for 100 meters and 21.81 for 200 meters. He was also a member of Mustangs’ football team. Steward plans to major in psychology at South Dakota.
Renee Thompson | Distance | Papillion, Neb. | Papillion La Vista HS
A distance runner from Papillion, Nebraska, Renee Thompson is a two-time individual state qualifier for the Nebraska Class A Cross Country Championships. She owns a personal best of 20:16 for 5,000 meters on the cross country course. Thompson also played soccer and basketball for the Monarchs, helping Papillion La Vista’s soccer team qualify for the state tournament twice. She’s a three-time academic all-state honoree for cross country. An honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society, Thompson plans to major in medical biology at South Dakota.
These 12 commitments bring South Dakota’s class of 2020 to 31 incoming student-athletes.