PUEBLO, Colo. (December 11, 2015) – Colorado State University-Pueblo Men's and Women's Cross Country and Track and Field Head Coach Matt Morris announced the addition of six members to the Pack for 2016-17. The student-athletes were signed during the NCAA early signing period and are made up of two men and four women.
All signees are contingent upon admission to CSU-Pueblo and compliance with NCAA rules, including certification by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Gillian Maness – Kalispell, Mont., 5-6, XC and Track
Flathead HS: Clocked a time of 18:09 in the three mile run, 5:03 in the 1600 meter run, and an 11:01 mark in the 3200 meter run…Earned all-state academic honors.
Personal: Is the daughter of Roberta Maness…Has one brother, Matthew…Plans to major in exercise science…Enjoys hiking, skiing, paddle boarding and reading.
Coach Quote: "Gillian is a real diamond in the rough," Morris said. "She started running competitively fairly late in her high school career, but is an outstanding athlete. With only one outdoor season and one cross country season under her belt, she has still managed to have significant success and is improving at a very rapid rate. Gillian will come in right away and be an important part of our programs' success next fall and the sky is really the limit for her."
Athlete Quote: "I visited CSU-Pueblo in late October and I fell in love with the campus and the atmosphere. I really enjoyed the modern architecture of the campus and the layout of it. The atmosphere seemed upbeat and positive. I also chose CSU-Pueblo because of Coach Morris and the team. The girls on the team are very friendly, welcoming and fun to be around. Coach Morris is a very positive, uplifting coach."
Jenna McKinley – Mosca, Colo., 5-8, Track
Sangre de Cristo HS: Is a three-time all-conference selection…Holds the Colorado 1A state shot put record (41'8.5")…Placed third at state in discus…Is a three-time state qualifier for track and was a member of the volleyball team who appeared in the state tournament four years in a row…Was named 2015 Southern Peaks League Volleyball MVP…Earned all-conference during her junior year for basketball.
Personal: Is the daughter of Robert and Amy McKinley…Has one sister, Brooke…Plans to major in exercise science…Enjoys waterfowl hunting and playing sports.
Coach Quote: "Jenna is an all-around athlete who has proven to be successful in multiple sports," Horsley said. "She is a phenomenal student and a very competitive person. When she came on her visit I loved her attitude and work ethic and knew right away that she would fit great into the program. We have a young program and she will be a great match to help mold the throws program in the right direction. She will be able to come in next year and help contribute to the team."
Athlete Quote: "The reason I chose CSU-Pueblo is because once I left my official visit I told my parents that this is where I need to be. I felt that my potential could best be reached here with the coaching staff and facilities. I also felt comfortable with the other athletes."
Logan Morley – Bigfork, Mont., 5-8, 140, XC
Bigfork HS: Placed first at Montana State Championships in the three mile run, entering a time of 15:36.02…Finished second in the same event at the Flathead Invite, recording a time of 15:38.50 for the Vikings.
Personal: Son of Steve and Jill Morley…Has two siblings, Makena and Bryn…Plans to major in Physics…His father, Steve, ran Track at Montana State University…Enjoys telemark skiing, snowboarding and running.
Coach Quote: "We are very excited about what Logan brings to our program next fall," Morris said. "Logan is strong, has a lot of range, and has very good foot speed. He is a hard worker and comes from an outstanding program with a great coaching staff. Logan has a nose for the finish line and is very competitive. He is going to come in right away and have success at this level."
Athlete Quote: "First of all, I really believe in Coach Morris' training and coaching styles. Another major reason I decided to come to CSU-Pueblo is because I feel like Coach Morris will help me achieve my goals. When I took my visit in January I really liked all of the guys and they are all very talented. I have been impressed with the program, especially with how fast it is growing. The setting of the college is great too."
Alayna Theissen – Lake Crystal, Minn., 5-6, XC and Track & Field (Thrower)
Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial HS: Currently holds four Minnesota State Records for weightlifting in two difference weight classes…Recorded marks of 38'8" in shot put and 132'10" for discus…Placed first at the 2015 state meet in weightlifting…In 2014, Theissen finished third in discus throw and eighth in shot put at the same event…Was nominated most valuable lifter at Burnsville Open Championships.
Coach Quote: "Alayna is a young and talented thrower that has a big background in lifting," said assistant coach Jessica Horsley. "Most throwers out of high school have to relearn to lift properly, and that takes awhile. I am excited about Alayna because I know she is already relatively strong, as she competes in weight lifting events. She is very eager to learn the hammer/weight throw events and she has a good build and strength for both of those events, so I'm excited to see what she can do."
Athlete Quote: "From the moment I fell in love with track I knew I wanted to throw to my body's full potential. I had been told from the beginning that the hammer throw would be the event in which I would be the most successful. After looking into the program at CSU-Pueblo, I knew the coaches would be my best bet at becoming the best that I can be and truly reaching the maximum potential in the throws."
Natalie Tiona – Colorado Springs, Colo. 5-2, XC & Track
Mitchell HS: Recorded personal best times in the 400 meter run (1:00), 800 meter run (2:28) and in the 1600 meter run (5:45) for the Marauders…Voted Mitchell HS MVP three times…Named Mitchell HS most improved Track and Field player (2015).
Personal: Is the daughter of Jeffrey and Susan Tiona…Has four siblings, Jordan, Beth, Catherine, and Ben…Her sister, Catherine, competes in both cross country and track for the ThunderWolves…She plans to major in Biology.
Coach Quote: "Natalie has had success at the high school level in a number of races, from the long sprints to cross country," Morris said. "She has a great combination of strength and foot speed. Natalie is an outstanding student-athlete, much like her older sister who jumps for us here, and I know she will come in and improve tremendously."
Athlete Quote: "CSU-Pueblo grabbed my attention because of the excellent performances of the athletes this past year and their ability to be a team throughout their hard work in training. Also, CSU-Pueblo offers an ideal academic program that fits my needs. I am highly excited to see where this team and school will take me."
Paul Roberts – Boulder, Colo., 5-10, 140, XC & Track
Lyons HS: Roberts is the first male athlete in the history of Colorado cross country to win four individual titles, and he also was part of four team titles...Roberts competes in the smallest classification in Colorado, and his time was the second fastest time at the state meet his freshman and sophomore years and the fastest time on the course his junior and senior years…Roberts is currently ranked 9th in the nation on Dye Stat and 9th on the Saucony Flo Top 50 list on MileSplit…He set a course record at the Tim Rock Classic running 15:10 on Sept. 26…he clocked in a time of 1:58.98 in 800 meter run…Finished in 4:20.93 in 1600 meter run…finished the 3200 meter run in 9:13.55 while with the Lions…Roberts registered a 15:15 time in the Altitude 5K and 14:52 in Regular…Is a four-time all-conference and all-state selection in cross country…Earned all-conference all four years while competing in track.
Personal: Son of Mark and Kim Roberts…Has nine siblings, four brothers and five sisters…Plans to major in Construction Management…His sister, Miriam, competes in both cross country and track for the ThunderWolves…His brother, Andrew, ran XC and Track for Colorado State University and Adams State University and sister, Melissa, ran at Adams State.
Coach Quote: "Paul is an amazing student and athlete, and an even better person," Morris said. "Paul comes from a tremendous program with outstanding coaches, who committed to a long term plan to make sure Paul could have success during his high school career, while preparing him for the transition to college. Paul has competed in some of the biggest races available at the high school level, including Nike nationals and the World Junior Cross Country Championships. Paul will come in right away and be a difference maker for us and we are very excited to have him join the program next fall."
Athlete Quote: "I really liked the atmosphere of the team when we visited CSU-Pueblo last January. This is only the second year of the men's program and they have already made a lot of improvements. I think it is a team with strong potential and I am excited to be a part of that." Roberts added, "The facilities are solid, the school is working hard to support and grow their athletic program, and on top of a group of solid guys, a great coach, and an enjoyable atmosphere, my sister Miriam is there. She and I are very close and her positive experience has been an encouragement and confirmation for me."
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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.