March 31, 2009
Photo by MileSplit.us
Photo by MileSplit.us
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A pair of throwers, a sprinter and a multi-eventer have signed national letters of intent to join the University of Tennessee women's track & field program, Lady Vol head coach J.J. Clark announced Monday.
Throwers Aslynn Halvorson of Charlotte, N.C. and Jessie Harrison of Collierville, Tenn., as well as sprinter Kia Jackson of Lithonia, Ga., and Kirstyn Sweeney of Nashville, will be joining the reigning NCAA and SEC Indoor Champion Big Orange in the fall.
"I'm very happy with the recruiting process," Clark said. "We're still not done, but at this moment we have picked up some good throwers. John Frazier (assistant coach for throws) went out and got some student-athletes in Aslynn and Jessie who will bring more talent and depth into our program. They both have great potential in the indoor and outdoor throws. We look forward to having them in orange and getting them into the SEC and NCAA mix down the road.
"In the multi and sprint areas, we have a local product from Tennessee and one from down the road in the Atlanta area. We are trying to be diverse and have youngsters in every area who can score so that we can have a balanced attack. That's what Kirstyn brings with her abilities in several areas, and Kia is able to help us in the sprints and jumps. We are very fortunate to have these young ladies commit to the Big Orange, and we look forward to big things in the future."
Halvorson is a product of David W. Butler High School in Matthews, N.C., where she owns personal records of 155 feet, eight inches in the discus, 53-9 1/4 in the weight throw and 44-9 in the shot put. She came up big last season at the prestigious Nike Outdoor Nationals meet, winning the discus with a fling of 154-2 1/2. She also carded a sixth-place effort in the shot with her 44-9 PR. Just a couple of weeks ago, she charted that weight throw PR at the Nike Indoor Nationals to place fourth. She also took fourth in the shot at 42-2.
For Butler High, Halvorson swept the shot and discus at the 2008 NCHSAA 4A State Championships, recording tosses of 42-4 and 139-10, respectively. On Feb. 14, 2009, she charted a runner-up finish at the NCHSAA 4A Indoor State Championships with a heave of 41-7 in the shot after winning the event in 2008. During her career, she has thus far earned 10 all-state honors, including four indoors in the shot and three apiece outdoors in the shot and discus.
Harrison, meanwhile, competes for Houston High School in Germantown, Tenn., and has career bests of 136-9 1/2 in the discus and 36-8 1/4 in the shot. After winning the discus at the 2008 TSSAA State Track & Field Championships with a toss of 131-8, she traveled to Nike Outdoor Nationals and came away with an eighth-place result after improving her measurement to 134-1 3/4. She finished 16th at the state meet in the shot at 31-0 1/2. Entering her senior campaign, she has been a state finalist in the shot and discus every season.
Additionally, Harrison won regional discus titles in 2007 and 2008, was named to the All-Metro Best of the Preps squad from 2006 to 2008 and spent two seasons playing basketball for her school.
Jackson hails from Southwest DeKalb High School in Decatur, Ga., where she was a five-time state champ and two-time state runner-up in the sprint relays and individual short sprints, respectively. She was a member of state winners in the 4x100m from 2006 to 2008 and in the 4x400m in 2006 and 2008. She claimed state runner-up honors in the 100 and 200 meters in 2008, running a PR of 11.75 in the straight sprint prelims and 24.51 in the finals of the half-lapper.
Jackson also has personal bests of 7.32 in the 55m, 7.70 in the 60m, 24.14 in the 200m and 18-9 in the long jump. Last summer, she finished sixth in the 100m at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in 12.01 and placed seventh in the 200m in 24.76.
At Nashville's David Lipscomb High School, Sweeney was the 2007 champion and 2008 runner-up in the pentathlon at the Tennessee A-AA State Championship Meet with a personal-best score of 2,986 in 2008. She was the state runner-up in the 300m hurdles in 2008 and the runner-up in the pole vault in 2007, with career bests in those events at 46.59 and 9-6, respectively. She also is credited with region titles in the pentathlon in 2007 and 2008, in the pole vault in 2007 and the 300m hurdles in 2008. Most recently, she was 12th at the Nike Indoor Nationals meet with a score of 2944 in the pentathlon.
Sweeney's numbers don't tell the whole story, though, about an athlete who has recorded marks in 15 different events and can cover hurdles, sprints, jumps, throws, pole vault, multis and distance, including cross country. She also played a little basketball and soccer before confining her focus to track and cross country.