JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 11, 2018) – With one day remaining before indoor season begins, the ETSU track and field team introduces its final wave of newcomers to the program.
The final group includes four athletes from the women’s side who specialize in sprinting, hurdling and jumping with potential to compete in more than one category. Two of the four athletes hail from Knoxville, Tenn. while the other two come to Johnson City from the Peach State – Georgia.
“This final segment of introducing our newcomers includes four very determined women that have been a pleasure to have on our team,” said ETSU head coach George Watts. “I believe, like all of the others, that they will have many championship-like performances throughout their careers.”
Meet the Athletes:
Gia Faoro – Fr. – Sprints – Knoxville, Tenn. (Hardin Valley Academy)
A standout at Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville, Faoro joins fellow freshman Symphony Buxton and redshirt senior Daniel Sonnenfeldt as one of three Hardin Valley products. Among her achievements, Faoro was part of a second place finish at the Tennessee Relays 4x100m in Knoxville, guiding her team to a 50.08 time.
Coach’s Comments: “Gia is another recent Hardin Valley Academy grad to join the ETSU track and field program and can develop into a very solid sprinter for the Bucs,” Watts said. “She will need a year to adjust to the rigors of college academics and athletics, with the hope that she will become an important leg on our relays in the future. Gia had a solid fall of training, culminating with a strong performance in our Blue and Gold meet showing that she can succeed in the Southern Conference.”
Aliyah Hill – Fr. – Sprints / Jumps – Snellville, Ga. (Archer HS)
Hill, a sprinter from Archer High School in Gwinnett County, Ga., found success early and late in her career, competing in state championships in 2014 as a freshman and later in 2017 as a senior. Hill’s success did not go unnoticed, as she received the Tiger Award at Archer, which is the highest award an athlete can receive at the school.
Coach’s Comments: “Aliyah has been a pleasant addition to our young sprint and jumps group who is going to surprise people during her career,” Watts said. “She approaches training and competition with the right mixture of relaxation and toughness that you don’t often find in freshmen. I expect Aliyah to immediately impact our relays and see herself as a scorer in open events at the SoCon Championships. I look forward to watching her grow and mature into a leader for the women’s team.”
Fanta Sanoe – Fr. – Sprints – Knoxville, Tenn. (South Doyle HS)
A dual-sport athlete at South Doyle High School in Knoxville, the speedy Sanoe comes to ETSU as a five-event school record holder, setting records at SDHS in the 100m (12.37) and 200m (26.48) events while also holding part of the 4x100m, 4x200m and 4x400m records. The former high school soccer player decided to continue her track career collegiately. Athleticism runs in the family, as Sanoe’s cousin is NFL running back Alvin Kamara, who made the Pro Bowl and second team All-Pro as a rookie for the New Orleans Saints this season.
Coach’s Comments: “Fanta is as big a surprise as any of our newcomers,” Watts said. “She has a quiet determination and competitiveness that was not immediately evident when she arrived on campus. If Fanta allows herself to progress at a normal pace she has a chance to be quite good. I expect her to battle for a lane in the finals of the Southern Conference in the short sprints this year as well as a leg on the 4x1 outdoors. As Fanta increases her overall fitness she can become a dual threat in the 100 and 200.”
Kendra Whitehurst – Fr. – Jumps – Atlanta, Ga. (Benjamin E. Mays HS)
Whitehurst comes to ETSU from a competitive background, holding her own at Benjamin E. Mays High School against some of Atlanta’s best high school athletes. Whitehurst enjoyed much success in 2017, including a GHSA track and field region championship, state championship and part of a 4x400 state championship. She was also a 2016 5A triple jump region champion and currently holds a personal best of 37’3.75 in that event.
Coach’s Comments: “Kendra will be a big contributor throughout her career at ETSU,” Watts said. “She can be competitive in several events, with the jumps currently being her strength. As Kendra becomes a true student of her events and trusts herself, she will make huge improvements in her performance. She is a team player that wants to succeed as much for the team as for herself. I expect Kendra to eventually become one of those unique athletes that can be a high point-scorer at our conference meets.”
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For more information on ETSU track and field, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the track and field page.