Mizzou Track & Field Welcomes 12 Newcomers for the 2015-16 Season
Updated: December 8, 2014


COLUMBIA, Mo. - The 2015-16 season is already generating quite the buzz, as the Tigers welcomed 12 highly-touted student-athletes into the Mizzou Track & Field family during the early signing period, as released by Head Coach Brett Halter this week.  Spanning seven states and two countries, these five men and seven women bring with them some hefty resumes, including:

> 32 All-State finishes
> 12 State Championship titles
> 1 Nike Cross Nationals Qualifier
> 1 New Balance National Champion

Set to join the black and gold in the fall of 2015 are Maya Cody (Lutheran South HS / St. Louis, Mo.), Tamia Crockett (Hardin Valley Academy / Knoxville, Tenn.), Tyler Gillam (Festus HS / Festus, Mo.), Charles Graham (Phoebus HS / Hampton, Va.), Kelli Jackson (Hudsonville HS / Hudsonville, Mich.), Jordyn Kleve (Johnston HS / Johnston, Ia.), Patrick Kunza (Timberland HS / Wentzville, Mo.), Kahmari Montgomery (Plainfield Central HS / Plainfield, Ill.), Karrisa Roman (Wethersfield HS / Kewanee, Ill.), Beresford Sweeney (Ardenne HS / Kingston, Jamaica), Valerie Thames (Milwaukee Riverside University / Milwaukee, Wisc.), and Carolyn White (Festus HS / Festus, Mo.).



MAYA CODY
Sprints
Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.  |  Mom: Kawayna Robinson

High School: Lutheran South HS  |  Coach:
Accomplishments
  - 2014 MSHSAA Track & Field All-State, second (200m and 400m dashes)
  - 2014 MSHSAA Track & Field All-State, fourth (100m dash)
  - 2014 Great Southwest Classic, 12th (200m dash)
  - 2014 Great Southwest Classic, 17th (100m dash)
  - 2013 MSHSAA Track & Field Champion (400m dash)
  - 2013 MSHSAA Track & Field All-State, second (100m and 200m dashes)
  - 2013 Great Southwest Classic, third (200m dash)
  - 2013 Great Southwest Classic, eighth (100m dash)
  - 2012 MSHSAA Track & Field All-State, sixth (100m dash)

Personal Bests
60m Dash - 7.73  |  200m Dash - 24.59  |  400m Dash - 56.08

Coach Carjay Lyles - "Maya is one of Missouri's top sprinters.  She's got great range and she is a key piece in making sure we keep the best athletes in Missouri here at Mizzou.  She is absolutely going to develop into one of the best this program has ever seen.  She's a brilliant student and a fearless competitor.  She has a great, supportive family, and we are going to be a much better team with her on it."

TAMIA CROCKETT
Throws

Hometown: Knoxville, Tenn.  |  Parents:
High School: Hardin Valley Academy  |  Coach:
Accomplishments
  - 2014 New Balance National Champion (discus)
  - 2013 TSSAA State Champion (shot put, discus)
  - Three-time TSSAA All-State

Personal Bests
Shot Put - 42-8.75  |  Discus - 143-2 |  Hammer - 138-5  |  Weight Throw - 47-9

Coach Brett Halter - "

TYLER GILLAM
Distance
Hometown: Festus, Mo.  |  Parents:
High School: Festus HS  |  Coach:
Accomplishments
  - 2013 MSHSAA Cross Country Champion
  - 2012 MSHSAA Cross Country Champion
  - 2014 MSHSAA All-State in Cross Country
  - Three-time MSHSAA All-State in Track & Field (1600m, 3200m)

Personal Bests
1600m Run - 4:21.25  |  3200m Run - 9:29.16  |  5000m Run (XC) - 15:08.00

Why he chose Mizzou - "I chose Mizzou because of the potential the team has, and the dedication the coaches showed to the athletes.  It is a great opportunity for me and my future."

Coach Marc Burns - "

CHARLES GRAHAM, JR.
Hurdles
Hometown: Hampton, Va.  |  Parents: Charles, Sr., and Tiffany Graham
High School: Phoebus HS  |  Coach:
Accomplishments
  - Returning No. 3 ranked 60m hurdler in the nation
  - Returning No. 6 ranked 110m hurdler in the nation
  - 2014 New Balance Nationals, fifth (110m hurdles)
  - 2014 New Balance Indoor Nationals, third (60m hurdles)
  - 2014 VHSL Track & Field Champion (110m and 300m hurdles)
  - 2014 VHSL Track & Field All-State, third (long jump)
  - 2014 VHSL Indoor Track & Field Champion (55m hurdles)
  - 2013 VHSL Track & Field All-State, fourth (110m hurdles)
  - 2013 VHSL Track & Field All-State, fifth (300m hurdles)
  - 2013 VHSL Indoor Track & Field All-State, second (55m hurdles)
  - 2013 New Balance Indoor Nationals, sixth (60m hurdles)

Personal Besst
60m Hurdles - 7.97  |  110m Hurdles - 13.94  |  300m Hurdles - 38.39

Why he chose Mizzou - "I just had this gut feeling as I walked around campus.  It felt right for me.  Every venue we visited on campus excited me.  I was taking videos and sending them to my family.  Then, after meeting the coaching staff, I knew this was the place.  Everything was a perfect fit."

Coach Carjay Lyles - "Charles was a major sign for us.  As one of the top hurdlers in the country, I think he'll develop into a major contributor to our program during his time here.  He's got the height and ability to make the adjustment to the higher hurdles in college, and he's got the work ethic.  He has an amazing family and support system, and his high school coaches have prepared him well for college.  Charles has major goals for himself, and we're lucky he's letting us be a part of achieving those goals."

KELLI JACKSON
Distance
Hometown: Hudsonville, Mich.  |  Parents: Kevin and Laura Jackson
High School: Hudsonville HS  |  Coach:
Accomplishments
  - 2014 MHSAA DI Cross Country Championships, ninth

Personal Bests
1600m Run - 5:05.65  |  3200m Run - 10:45.88  |  5000m Run (XC) - 17:48.30

On why she chose Mizzou - "I decided to be a Tiger because of the entire atmosphere surrounding the University.  Everything just seemed to fit.  The school, students, coaches, athletes, and the people in Columbia all gave me the impression that the University of Missouri was for me.  I think it will be the perfect place for me to advance my education and running career, and will give me the chance to grow as an individual."

Coach Marc Burns - "Kelli is a great fit for Mizzou and our program.  She is a strong student who is excited to embrace the opportunity of competing in the SEC.  We are really excited about her potential in cross country and the longer distances on the track.  She has a great work ethic and is a great comptitor.  We are looking forward to her developing into a national-level distance runner in the years to come."

JORDYN KLEVE
Distance
Hometown: Johnston, Ia.  |  Parents: Kevin and Lori Kleve
High School: Johnston HS  |  Coach:
Accomplishments
  - 2014 Nike Cross Nationals, 15th
  - 2014 Nike Cross National Heartland Regional, sixth
  - 2014 IAHSAA 4A Cross Country Championships, second
  - Six-time IAHSAA All-State

Personal Bests
1500m Run - 4:34.81  |  3000m Run - 9:57.07  |  4000m Run (XC) - 13:46.94  |  5000m Run (XC) - 17:39.30

Coach Marc Burns - "Jordyn is a true Tiger.  She has enjoyed a very successful senior cross country season.  She ran a gutsy race i Portland and fought hard all the way to finish in some tough conditions.  She exuded the 'Tiger Tough' mentality this fall, and we are excited to have her joining our program.  Jordyn is not only tough, but she has great range as an athlete, which will help our program in many different ways."

PATRICK KUNZA
Throws
Hometown: Wentzville, Mo.  |  Parents: Scott and Jennifer Kunza
High School: Timberland HS  |  Coach:
Accomplishments
  - Missouri State Record Holder in the weight throw

Personal Bests
Weight Throw - 63-2  |  Shot Put - 48-5  |  Discus - 105-0

Coach Brett Halter - "

KAHMARI MONTGOMERY
Sprints
Hometown: Plainfield, Ill.  |  Parents: Rodney Montgomery, Titus and Lashawn Payton
High School: Plainfield Central HS  |  Coach:
Accomplishments
  - Returning ranked No. 8 in the nation for the 200m dash
  - Returning ranked No. 9 in the nation for the 400m dash
  - 2014 IHSA 3A State Champion in the 200m dash
  - 2014 IHSA 3A State Champion in the 400m dash

Personal Bests
100m Dash - 10.86  |  200m Dash - 21.25  |  400m Dash - 46.82

On why he chose Mizzou - "I came to Mizzou because I feel like I will have a great mentor here.  I loved my visit, my parents enjoyed it, and I think I can succeed here and help the team go after SEC and National titles."

Coach Carjay Lyles - "Kahmari is a major program pick-up.  After meeting his family and finding more out about him, I knew that he has the intangibles to be great in the sport.  With him being a newcomer to track and field past year, and running some of the top times in the country, it shows what kind of talent he has.  I'm excited about adding him to a great core of people we already have on the team.  Kahmari has immense ability and will contribute to the program in a major way!" 

KARISSA ROMAN
Jumps
Hometown: Kewanee, Ill.  |  Parents: Scott (Rhonda) Roman and Kelly (Scott) Camey
High School: Wethersfield HS  |  Coach:
Accomplishments
  - 2014 IHSA 1A Track & Field Champion (high jump)
  - 2013 IHSA 1A All-State (high jump)
  - Ranked No. 8 in the U.S. for the high jump in 2013
  - 2015 IHSA All-State Academic Team Honorable Mention

Personal Best
High Jump - 1.72m (5-8)

Coach Dan Lefever - "Karissa is a great addition to our jumps group.  I love the fact that she is also a tremendous volleyball player, and the competitive experience that that has given her.  She is a terrific achiever academically, and also works with the less fortunate groups in her community.  Athletically, she has tremendous potential to compete with the best in the country.  It will be fun to see what she can do in the high jump and I expect her to be a major player.  She is a perfect fit for our program's values and where we're headed in the future."

BERESFORD SWEENEY
Sprints
Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica  |  Parents: Beresford, Sr., and Marcia Sweeney
High School: Ardenne HS  |  Coach:
Personal Bests
100m Dash - 10.45  |  200m Dash - 21.31

On why he chose Mizzou - "As an international student seeking to become a professional athlete, I had to do my research, and while talking with Coach Lyles I noted his passion towards Mizzou and the sport.  That undeniable passion shown by the Mizzou Tigers separated them from the other universities I haad interactions with.  MIZ-ZOU!"

Coach Carjay Lyles - "Beresford solidifies a great sprints core.  He has great physical tools and the right mentality to compete on a major level.  He's an excellent student in the classroom, coming in with a 3.90 GPA and high test scores, which just speaks to how well-rounded and disciplined he is.  Athletes like Beresford do not come around often and his contributions to the team will keep us striving towards the team goals over the next few years."

VALERIE THAMES
Hurdles
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisc.  |  Mother: Valerie Thames
High School: Milwaukee Riverside University  |  Previous School: Southern University (Baton Rouge, La.)
Accomplishments
  - 2013 WIAA Track & Field Champion (300m hurdles)
  - 2013 WIAA Track & Field All-State, third (100m hurdles)
  - 2013 WIAA Indoor Track & Field All-State, second (55m hurdles)
  - 2012 WIAA Track & Field All-State, third (100m and 300m hurdles)
  - 2011 WIAA Track & Field All-State, third (300m hurdles)
  - 2011 WIAA Track & Field All-State, fourth (100m hurdles)

Personal Bests
60m Hurdles - 8.68  |  100m Hurdles - 13.84  |  400m Hurdles - 58.91  |  400m Dash - 55.05

On why she chose Mizzou - "I chose Mizzou because it was here that I felt most comfortable and at home.  Also, I like the path they are headed down, and want to be a part of their journey.  I think Mizzou is the best fit for me because I felt like I was already a part of this program when I visited.  The staff, athletes, and Missouri in general felt like home."

Coach Carjay Lyles - "Valerie transferring in mid-year for us is huge.  She proved herself as one of the top junior athletes in the country last year in the 400m hurdles.  She has tremendous ability and it will be fun to watch her develop over the next few years.  Getting Valerie is a huge step forward for the team and what we want to accomplish.  She's an intense competitor and will serve the team well over the next few years."

CAROLYN WHITE
Distance
Hometown: Festus, Mo.  |  Parents:
High School: Festus HS  |  Coach:
Accomplishments 
  - Two-time MSHSAA Cross Country All-State
  - 2014 MSHSAA All-State (800m run)

Personal Bests
800m Run - 2:15.45  |  5000m Run (XC) - 18:36.50

On why she chose Mizzou - "It just felt like home from the start.  The team was very connected and supportive.  Mizzou is on a wonderful journey, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it."

Coach Marc Burns - "

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