Michigan State Track & Field and Cross Country Signs Five For 2018-19
Five athletes from Michigan sign National Letters of Intent.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Michigan State track & field and cross country will add five for the 2018-19 season, director of cross country and track & field, Walt Drenth, announced. MSU will add three to the women’s team and two to the men’s team, four of whom are distance runners and one sprinter.
Katie Osika, Karenna Duffey, Melanie Helder, Harrison Steen and Pierre Brown have signed National Letters of Intent to enroll at Michigan State. All five are local to Michigan and will add depth and talent to MSU’s already impressive roster.
“Athleticism is a common thread through all of these kids,” Drenth said. “They’re athletic kids who have done other things and run. They’re really good at running but we think that their athleticism will help them stay well and be stronger, and they know how to compete.”
Katie Osika – Waterford Mott – Waterford, Mich.
800m – 2:10.23 … 5K – 18.11.5 (PR) … Two-time MHSAA All-State in the 800-meter run and in Cross Country.
Coach Drenth on Osika: “Katie Osika comes from a running family. Her brother is on the team, her sister was a multi-time All-American and her parents were both exceptional athletes.”
Karenna Duffey – L’Anse Creuse North High School – Macomb, Mich.
800m – 2:14.83 … 1600m – 4:50.36 … 3200m – 10:38.04 … 5K – 17:33.1 (PR) … Three-time MHSAA Divison I top-five finisher in Cross Country … 2017 MHSAA Outdoor 1600m runner-up … 2017 MHSAA All-State in the 800 and the 3200m.
Coach Drenth on Duffey: “It’s possible that she’s going to be a superstar. I think that all three of the women that we’re talking about have the potential to be really, really good. Karenna comes from kind of a modest running background. She doesn’t have a ton of experience outside the state competing in national meets, but her upside is phenomenal. I think that she’s potentially a star. She moves well, and she’s got really good range.”
Harrison Steen – Rochester Hills Stoney Creek - Rochester Hills, Mich.
Seventh at MHSAA Division I Finals in Cross Country in 2017 … Placed ninth in the 1600m at the MHSAA Division I Finals, his first year running track.
Coach Drenth on Steen: “Harrison is kind of an untapped person. He comes from a running family as well. His mom was a multi-time All-American and his dad was one of the better runners in the Mid-American Conference. The Donakowski family, his uncles were both exceptional runners at the University of Michigan. Harrison was an athlete who turned to running late in his career in high school, so we think in time he could be really, really good. His athleticism is something that appeals to us.”
Melanie Helder – Hudsonville High School – Hudsonville, Mich.
800m - 2:10.65 … 1600m – 5:01.32 … 5K – 18:27.3 … MHSAA Division 1 All-State in Track & Field.
Coach Drenth on Helder: “Melanie is just coming into her own. She’s an exceptional half-miler. As a sophomore, she went through a little bit of – I don’t want to say a swoon, but just sort of finding her footing last year and had a pretty good year but not a great year by her standards, especially after her sophomore year, but we think she’s going to be really, really good.”
Pierre Brown – Romulus High School – Romulus, Mich.
100m – 10.82 … 200m – 22.02.
Coach Drenth on Brown: “We think he’s going to add depth to the sprinting group. We think, ultimately, he’s going to help us on both of the relays. Coach (Johnson) has gone out and worked her tail off. I think she’s going to do a really good job with him, getting him to the point where he can be a contributor in the Big Ten. We’ll probably run him right off the bat. His contribution will be big in the relays and then we’ll be looking for him to make a final, and have a lot of good Big Ten experience with the idea that once he gets going and well-trained and trusting Coach Johnson completely that he’s one of our better sprinters in the conference.”