UA track and field signs six recruits

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Head track and field coach Dave Murray announced yesterday six athletes have signed letters of intent to attend Arizona.

Among the recruits are two female high jumpers who owned the top two high jump marks in the nation last year.

Erin Aldrich, from Dallas' Highland High School, recorded the top high school leap in the nation (6-foot-1), winning the Texas high school state Meet. She was undefeated in high school competitions and was named to the Track and Field News All-American team. A volleyball player who was recruited by many of the top programs in the nation, she will also play volleyball at Arizona next fall.

Tara Fleming, a high jumper form Immanuel High School in Reedley, Calif., recorded the second-best high school jump in the country last year, winning the California state meet with a leap of 6-0. A member of the 1995 Pan-American junior team, she also placed second at nationals and was named high jump All-American by Track and Field News.

"We normally don't sign this many people during the early signing period," Murray said. "But since we were able to get such quality people, we took advantage of the situation."

Also recruited was Micheil Jones, from Livermore (Calif.) High School. A middle distance runner, she owns a personal best of 4 minutes, 11.94 seconds in the 1,600-meter and 9:09.27 in the 3,200m. She will also run cross country next year for the Wildcats.

Turshika Bennett is a sprinter from Bishop O'Dowell High School in Oakland, Calif. She has turned in personal bests of 11.80 in the 100-meter, 24.60 in the 200m and 55.90 in the 400m, and said she plans to major in mechanical engineering at Arizona next fall

A pair of Finnish recruits round out the early signing class. Tapio Kolunsarka will compete in the hammer, an event he has recorded a personal best throw of 220 feet, 2 inches. The other athlete is pole vaulter Jussi Autio, who has a personal best of 17-11. The duo will enroll at Arizona next semester and will be eligible to compete during the 1996 schedule.

"We are real pleased with the people we have signed, in particular the pair from Finland," Murray said. "They will make an immediate impact on the program in the spring."

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