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Tigers Sign Strong Class for 2015

Tigers Sign Strong Class for 2015

CLEMSON, S.C. — Head coach Mark Elliott and his track & field staff signed six student-athletes to national letters of intent during the early signing period. Joining the Clemson family from the class of 2015 are men’s athletes Darron Coley and John Lewis, and women’s athletes Kaley Ciluffo, Imani McGowan, Erin McLaughlin and Ebony Williams.

“Coupled with our current freshmen and now this year’s group, we have signed some strong kids,” Elliott said. “We’ll lose Natoya Goule at the end of the season, so it’s crucial to sign someone of Kaley’s caliber in the 800. She’s a big-time signee for us. So is John Lewis on the men’s side, with his versatility in the 800 and 400 hurdles. We’re just as an excited to have him.

“The recruiting shows the hard work our coaches have put in. every member of our staff did their job and brought recruits in from different areas. Now we’ve got to show it on the track. Our performances on the track will make Clemson an easier sell for us, because it’s a pretty good sell already with its academic excellence and the tradition of our program.”

2015 track & field signee profiles

Kaley Ciluffo (Bettendorf, Iowa • Mid-Distance)

• Bronze medalist at 2014 USA Junior Championships, 800 meters (2:07.08); her time ranked No. 1 in the state and 14th among high schoolers the entire outdoor season

• Ranked No. 21 nationally in the 1500 meters, posting a time of 4:34 at the Drake Relays in a runner-up finish

• AAU Junior Olympic champion in the 800 meters in 2013 (2:10.58)

Elliott: “We’ll lose Natoya Goule at the end of the season, so it’s crucial to sign someone like Kaley. It’s important to keep that area strong for us. She has the ability to be a national qualifier in the 800, with range to be one of the best milers in the country. She was third last season at the USA Juniors. She’s a big-time signee for us.”

Darron Coley (Oakton, Va. • Mid-Distance)

• Competed in the 800 primarily and has experience in the AAU National Junior Olympics and USATF National Youth Championships

Elliott: “Darron is a young man whose coach and parents sent video to us. The moment I saw it, he’s a diamond in the rough who could develop. I think he possesses the ability to be good.”

John Lewis (Cheltenham, Pa. • Mid-Distance/Sprints)

• Ranked 10th nationally and second in Pennsylvania in the 800 meters in 2014 with a best of 1:50.01 at the AAU National Junior Olympics

• Helped 4×400 relay to bronze medal at 2014 New Balance Indoor Nationals (47.46 anchor leg)

• Ran the No. 9 time among U.S. high schoolers in the indoor 400 in 2014 (48.34); it came during a state championship performance

• Owns personal bests of 47.69 in the 400 and 1:50.01 in the 800

Elliott: “John Lewis’ time in the 800 and 400 hurdles, he’s a kid with a wide range. He’s inexperienced in the 800, but has run one of the top times in the country. We’re just as excited to have him. He’ll have another immediate impact on our team.”

Imani McGowan (Simpsonville, S.C. • Mid-Distance)

• 2014 AAAA state champion in the 800 meters (2:17.13) with South Carolina’s top time

• Father, Calvin, ran track at Clemson in 1990 and 1991

Elliott’s take: “Imani McGowan is a state champion. It’s always great to keep them close to home. Plus, her dad ran for Clemson so we know she’ll be invested.”

Erin McLaughlin (Glen Gardner, N.J. • Distance)

• Competed at 2014 New Balance Indoor Nationals in two-mile emerging elite

• Bronze medal finisher at 2014 New Jersey Group 2 state cross country meet in the 5K

Elliott: “Erin McLaughlin will be a great addition to our nucleus. She has times similar to Grace Barnett coming out of high school. Getting an athlete with her ability will continue to build our distance and cross country program even more.”

Ebony Williams (Winston-Salem, N.C. • Sprints/Hurdles)

• Placed sixth at 2014 New Balance Outdoor Nationals in the100 hurdles and 11th in the 400 hurdles

• Placed 15th at 2014 New Balance Indoor Nationals in the 60 hurdles

• Helped 4×200 relay to national title at same meet

• Ranked No. 19 in U.S. in 2014 in the 100 hurdles (13.71); also posted a top-25 national time in the 55 hurdles (8.11)

• Led 4×200 relay to state of North Carolina record; AAAA state runner-up in the 100 hurdles

Elliott: “It’s great to know we can still attract a hurdler of Ebony’s caliber. That’s an area we really need help in. She’s another kid that can have that immediate type of impact.”