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Appalachian State Track and Field Announce 18 Signees Through Spring Period

The App State cross country and track & field team is set to welcome an additional 18 athletes to its 2024-25 signing class, head coach Damion McLean announced on Tuesday. The Mountaineers’ spring signees include eight distance runners, seven sprinters, two throwers and a jumps athlete.

“The coaching staff is excited to have a great group joining the program,” said director of track & field/cross country Damion McLean. “To be able to add talent and depth to the team will be beneficial to the program’s progress.”

The signing period for track and field will be open until Aug. 1.

Will Fiore | Distance | Asheville, N.C. | TC Roberson HS
Asheville, N.C., native Will Fiore will join the Mountaineers’ distance squad for the upcoming season. Fiore was a four-time All-Conference selection, three-time All-Region and MVP honoree and an All-State winner for his efforts on the cross country course. On the track, Fiore was a two-time All-State selection. He was the conference champion in the men’s 3,200 meters and regional champion in the men’s 1,600 meters.

Fiore will be studying exercise science and enjoys hanging out with friends.

Why Fiore Chose App State: “I chose App State because of the location, academics and athletics. It is near home and my family is important.”

Harlee Fonville | Throws | Houston, Tex. | Angleton HS
Joining the Mountaineers’ throwers for the 2024-25 season is Harlee Fonville. Fonville was a second place medalist in the women’s discus at the state meet in 2023. In 2024, Fonville finished third in the women’s discus at the state meet. She also competed on the All-American Throwers club team under the direction of Nick Cupuano.

Why Fonville Chose App State: “I loved the coaches and the environment.”

Eli Griggs | Distance | Buford, Ga. | Mill Creek HS
Eli Griggs will join the Mountaineers’ distance squad from Buford, Ga. During his high school career, Griggs helped his team to two team cross country county titles and two county runner-up team honors. Individually, he was a county and regional runner-up. He also was a state champion and four-time team regional champion. On the track, he finished in the top-five in the men’s 3,200 meters at the state meet. He was also the men’s 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters regional champion.

Griggs, who intends on studying accounting while at App State, enjoys golf as well as cooking. He also enjoys playing pickleball.

Why Griggs Chose App State: “App State is in a great location and Coach Herbster won the conference cross country meet in his first year.”

Bryce James | Sprints | Winston-Salem, N.C. | Mount Tabor HS
Joining the Mountaineers’ sprints squad is Bryce James. In his high school career, James was part of the Indoor 4A State Champion team and was a Nike Indoor Nationals All-American in the men’s 4×200-meter relay. James also was part of the Tabor City Track club team under the direction of Patrick Cromwell and Wayne Patterson.

James plans on studying health science while in the High Country and enjoys collecting vintage sweaters, listening to music and fashion. James’ brother, Dylan, also competed on the App State track and field team and both his parents attended App State.

Why James Chose App State: “I chose App State because I love Boone.”

Katie Johnson | Distance | Weaverville, N.C. | Nesbitt Discovery Academy/North Buncombe HS
Competing for the distance squad and hailing from Weaverville, N.C., is Katie Johnson. Johnson is a three-time 3A state champion in the women’s 4×800-meter relay. She also finished fifth at the cross country 3A state meet and placed third in the women’s 1,000 meters at the 3A indoor state meet in 2023. Additionally, Johnson made an appearance at the 2024 Penn Relays, where she participated in the Championships of America distance medley relay.

Johnson enjoys reading, painting, and eating pasta. She also knows how to knit.

Why Johnson Chose App State: “I chose App State because of the team environment and the academic and athletic opportunities.”

Ja’Naya Linder | Sprints | Winston-Salem, N.C. | Atkins HS
Hailing from Winston-Salem, N.C. and joining the Mountaineers as a sprinter will be Ja’Naya Linder. Linder is a two-time MVP and was named Runner of the Year. Aside from her high school team, Linder competed on the Tri-City Track Club and the Lights Out Track Club.

Linder, who plans on studying criminology, enjoys dancing, reading, and listening to music. She also writes poems and designs clothes.

Why Linder Chose App State: “I choose App State because it felt like a home away from home.”

Zaniya Littlejohn | Sprints | Charlotte, N.C. | West Charlotte HS
Joining the Mountaineers’ sprints squad will be Zaniya Littlejohn. The Charlotte, N.C., native was a two-time all-conference selection and back-to-back conference champion in the women’s 200 meters. She was the 2024 regional runner-up in the women’s 100 meters and 200 meters and finished third in the women’s 400 meters at the state meet. She also was the 2024 conference champion in the women’s 400 meters and runner-up in the women’s 100 meters. In 2023, Littlejohn clinched the regional title in the women’s 400 meters and was a state qualifier in the indoor women’s 300 meters, as well as the outdoor 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters. Littlejohn also qualified for the 2023 Adidas Nationals in the women’s 100 meters and 200 meters. Over the course of her high school career Littlejohn collected several accolades, including 2024 West Charlotte Girls Track & Field Most Outstanding award, 2024 Charlotte Track & Field Sprinter of the Year, 2024 Queen City 3A/4A Conference Athlete of the Year, as well as 2023 West Charlotte MVP for cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.

She also competed on the Track Masterz NC club team.

While at App State, Littlejohn plans on studying criminal justice. She enjoys singing in the church choir and wrestled in middle school.

Why Littlejohn Chose App State: “I chose App State to receive a high quality college education and have the opportunity to compete at a Division I school in track & field.”

Noah Martinson | Distance | Carrollton, Ga. | Carrollton HS
Joining the Mountaineers’ distance squad from Carrollton, Ga., is Noah Martinson. Martinson holds the school record in the men’s 800 meters (1:54), men’s 1,600 meters (4:09 mile conversion), men’s 3,200 meters (9:06) and 5K (15:09). He placed third in the men’s 800 meters at the state meet and was part of the 4×800-meter relay team that ranks second all-time in the state of Georgia.

Martinson will study business management while at App State. He enjoys playing pickleball, cooking and fishing. He also has been running since fourth grade.

Why Martinson Chose App State: “App State appeared to be the best place to set me up to succeed in the classroom and on the track.”

Kaitlyn McLeod | Sprints | Raleigh, N.C. | Rossview HS
Joining the Mountaineers as a sprinter is Kaitlyn McLeod. The Raleigh, N.C., native was named Athlete of the Year and was a state champion during her freshman and sophomore seasons. Competing with her club team, Track Xplosion, McLeod collected eight All-American honors.

While at App State McLeod plans on studying psychology. She enjoys reading, hiking, and swimming. McLeod also practiced karate for six years.

Why McLeod Chose App State: “The energy at App State is unbeatable. The support and structure set in place for all students, but especially student athletes, proves how much professors and coaches care.”

Dennis Mowatt Jr. | Throws | Lowell, Mass. | Greater Lowell Tech HS
Hailing from Lowell, Mass., and joining App State as a thrower is Dennis Mowatt Jr. Mowatt was a four-time league men’s shot put champion and two-time state champion. He was also named New England champion and holds the school record in the men’s shot put and men’s discus. Additionally, Mowatt was a team captain for three seasons.

Mowatt plans on studying psychology and business while at App State. He enjoys photography and poetry and can play the ukulele. He was also a sprinter for two years before becoming a thrower. Mowatt’s cousin, Raymond Brown, is an Olympic thrower specializing in the shot put for the Jamaican team.

Why Mowatt Jr. Chose App State: “I chose App State for the scenery, rigorous academics and the diverse track team.”

Brandon Parker | Sprints | Charlotte, N.C. | Rocky River HS
Charlotte, N.C. native Brandon Parker joins the Mountaineers as a sprinter. He was a two-time AAU National Champion in the sprint medley relay. He also competed for the Purpose Driven Track Club under the direction of Hunter Irving.

Parker plans on studying psychology and enjoys running, cooking and being around family.

Why Parker Chose App State: “It felt like home.”

Colin Peterson | Distance | Cary, N.C. | Cary HS
As an addition to the distance squad, Colin Peterson will join the Mountaineers from Cary, N.C. Peterson was an All-American at the New Balance, Nike and Adidas Nationals. He also collected regional champion honors.

Peterson intends on studying industrial design at App State. He enjoys running, biking, exploring and cars.

Why Peterson Chose App State: “I chose App State because of the great Industrial Design program and great mountainous location.”

Maddie Quinn | Distance | Greenville, N.C. | South Central HS | Lees-McRae
Joining the Mountaineers after a stop at Lees-McRae is distance runner Maddie Quinn. While with the Bobcats, Quinn earned second-team all-conference honors during the 2024 cross country season and helped Lees-McRae to a fourth-place team finish at the conference championships. During the indoor track season, she was part of the women’s distance medley relay team that placed second.

Quinn is looking to study exercise science while at App State. She enjoys making music and is currently working on making an album. Additionally, she enjoys weightlifting, snowboarding, surfing and hiking.

Why Quinn Chose App State: “I chose App State mainly for the highly ranked Exercise Science program. I wanted to get a jumpstart on being competitive in my field and gain hands-on experience. I also love the mountains; they’ve become my second home.”

Natasha Simmons | Sprints | Waxhaw, N.C. | Marvin Ridge HS
Joining the Mountaineers’ sprints crew from Waxhaw, N.C., is Natasha Simmons. Simmons collected the Heart of a Maverick award and Most Improved award for her efforts on the track during her high school career.

While at App State, Simmons plans on studying international business. She enjoys going on hikes, watching movies and hanging out with friends.

Why Simmons Chose App State: “I love the area and I have heard great things about App State.”

Henry Stark | Distance | Miami, Fla. | Palmer Trinity HS
Donning the Black and Gold this fall and hailing from Miami, Fla., is distance runner Henry Stark. Stark was the 2023 1A cross country state champion and was the 2024 1A track and field state champion in the men’s 1,600 meters and men’s 3,200 meters. While running with the Alpha Omega Elite club team, Stark became the 2023 USATF Junior Nationals champion in the men’s 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters. He placed fourth in the men’s 800 meters.

Stark enjoys playing basketball and tennis. He also used to play soccer and was born in England. Stark likes listening to music and hanging out with friends.

Why Stark Chose App State: “I chose App State because of the location and welcoming feel.”

Jonathan Wilson | Sprints | Nashville, Tenn. | Franklin Road Academy
Nashville, Tenn., native Jonathan Wilson will join the Black and Gold’s sprints squad. During his high school career, Wilson earned All-State honors in the men’s 100 meters in 2023. He was also a member of the state champion men’s 4×100-meter relay team and men’s 4×200-meter relay team in 2023. In 2024, Wilson clinched the region champion title in the men’s 100 meters and men’s 200 meters. He also was a 2023 All-Region wide receiver on the football team.

Wilson plans on studying entrepreneurship and enjoys music, track, basketball and football.

Why Wilson Chose App State: “App State was the best academic and athletic destination for me.”

Jahaila Wright | Jumps | Concord, N.C. | Olympic HS
Hailing from Concord, N.C., and joining the Mountaineers jumps squad is Jahaila Wright. Wright was a three-time AAU All-American. In 2023, she was the North Carolina indoor women’s long jump champion and in 2022, she clinched the North Carolina outdoor women’s triple jump title.

Wright plans on studying psychology and enjoys baking. One of her favorite foods is pickles.

Why Wright Chose App State: “I chose App State for the athletics, location and the welcoming environment.”

Thomas Wlazlowski | Distance | Waxhaw, N.C. | Cuthbertson HS
Thomas Wlazlowski will join the Mountaineers’ distance squad. The Waxhaw, N.C., native collected NC 4A All-State, All-Region, All-Conference, and All-County honors during the 2023 cross country season. He also was a state champion during the 2021 indoor track season.

While at App State, Wlazlowski intends on studying finance. He enjoys running, fishing, exploring, hockey and baseball.

Why Wlazlowski Chose App State: “I chose App State for the culture of the team and the future of the program along with my love for the mountains.”

Fall 2024-25 Additions | Previously announced on Dec. 11, 2023
Ella Battel | Distance | Gray, Tenn. | Daniel Boone HS
Breanna Budzinski | Distance | Mills River, N.C. | West Henderson HS
Abigail Goetz | Pole Vault | Redwood City, Calif. | Sequoia HS
Rowan Gwin | Distance | Cheswick, Pa. | Fox Chapel Area HS
Aaron Kidd | Distance | Hurricane, WVa. | Hurricane HS
Noelle Meeker | Pole Vault | Powell, Ohio | Olentangy Liberty HS | Cincinnati
Josh Pote | Distance | Signal Mountain, Tenn. | Signal Mountain HS
Memphis Rich | Distance | Richmond Hill, Ga. | Richmond Hill HS
Emma Russum | Distance | Kingsport, Tenn. | Dobyns Bennett HS | Chattanooga
Christopher Stewart | Throws | Waxhaw, N.C. | Weddington HS
Kendred Walker | Jumps | Greenville, S.C. | Greenville Senior High Academy

{Information provided by Appalachian State Athletics}