JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 27, 2018) – In an effort to introduce its newcomers, the ETSU track and field team will continue its “ETSU Track and Field Thursdays” series for the second year in a row to introduce 25 new members to the program.
This week, the program highlights eight new athletes from the sprinter and hurdler categories.
Over a four-week period, the track and field program will introduce its new distance runners, sprinters, hurdlers and field event athletes. On the final week leading into the indoor season opener on Jan. 11-12 — the ETSU Track and Field Invitational — we will introduce this year’s coaching staff.
“We are excited about our newcomer and freshmen class and what they will bring to the team as we move forward,” said ETSU head coach George Watts. “We filled several needs and have high expectations for this class. Our ‘Track and Field Thursdays’ will be a fun way to introduce the athletes and highlight the team in general.
Meet the Athletes:
Johnaida Eliscar – Fr. – Columbia, S.C. (Ridgeview HS)
Eliscar joins ETSU as one of two sprinters from Ridgeview High School — joining Lanaya Martin as the two newest Bucs from Columbia, South Carolina. Eliscar was a two-time state champion in the 400m event and scored five times in the event — including her eighth grade season. She is also a state scorer in the 200m and long jump. Her personal records include a 56.04 in the 400m, 25.16 in the 200m, a 12.68 in the 100m, a 2:22.71 time in the 800m and an 18’1’’ mark in the long jump.
Coach’s Comments: “Johnaida comes to us with very fine long sprints credentials and will strengthen an already strong event. Being a state champion, she knows how to win. Johnaida also has a chance to help us in the 200m and in both relays. She has the personality to be a group/team leader in the future.”
Britney Griffith – Fr. – Kingsport, Tenn. (Dobyns-Bennett HS)
A former multi-sport athlete and local product at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, Griffith joins ETSU with aspirations to compete in sprints and relays right away. The former DBHS point guard on the basketball court was a state competitor during the track season, Griffith ran in three state meets on three different relay teams in three separate years, including the 4x800, 4x100 and the 4x400 as an anchor. She also won two conference meets in 2017 and 2018 on the 4x400 relay while placing runner up twice in the 100m at conference meets.
Coach’s Comments: “We are very happy that Britney decided to become a part of our team. She brings to the team a strong work ethic and desire to succeed. Britney will be part of our long sprints and 4x400m group with an eye towards the 400-meter hurdles. She has a chance to contribute as a conference scorer this year.”
Brianna Hames – Fr. – Simpsonville, N.C. (Greeneville HS)
A Greeneville High School standout last season, Hames joins the Bucs following a successful high school career running for former NFL running back Brandon Bennett. A two-time 4x100 state champion in 2015 and 2018, Hames was named both rookie of the year in 2015 and sprinter of the year in 2018 at Greeneville. She was also named the 2017 Athlete of the Year and to the 2017 and 2018 all-region teams after championing the 100m, 200m and 4x100 both years in her region.
Coach’s Comments: “Brianna is a talented young lady who, if she stays focused, can have a successful academic and athletic career at ETSU. She can be an integral part to our short sprints group immediately with a chance to be a conference finalist in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay.”
Neyasha Honorable – Jr. – Knoxville, Tenn. (King University)
A transfer from nearby King University in Bristol, Tenn., Honorable has found success on the collegiate level prior to ETSU and looks to carry that into her junior season. In the 400m event, Honorable won Conference Carolinas championships during both the 2018 indoor and outdoor seasons. In 2017, Honorable was a runner-up in the 200m and 400m at the conference meets. A Knoxville native and a Hardin Valley Academy alum, Honorable has also been part of state championship teams during her high school career. Her personal bests currently consist of 57.73 in the 400m, 25.94 in the 200m and 12.55 in the 100m.
Coach’s Comments: “Neyasha will challenge in the long sprints as she's proven with her conference titles in the 400m while attending King. With her addition to the group, I believe the 4x400m relay can break the school records and even qualify for the NCAA Regional in the future.”
Nicole Johnson – Fr. – Chattanooga, Tenn. (Tyner Academy)
A sprinter at Tyner Academy in Chattanooga, Johnson is a former state champion in the 100m with a time of 12.13. She was also a runner-up in the 2018 200m at state. Success came early for Johnson, as she finished fifth place in the 100m as a freshman at the 2015 TSSAA state championships before earning a second place finish in 2016. Johnson is no stranger to ETSU, as her cousin, Mykeah Johnson, was a four-year member of the softball team from 2014-17, helping lead the Bucs to a 2017 SoCon Championship. Nicole hopes to find the same success for the track and field team.
Coach’s Comments: “Nicole is a very talented sprinter who can contend for conference titles in the short sprints this year. She will add strength to an already strong 4x100m relay that has a chance to get to the NCAA Regional this year. The sky is the limit for Nicole as long as she brings work ethic and passion to everything she does.”
Lanaya Martin – Fr. – Columbia, S.C. (Ridgeview HS)
One of two Ridgeview High School standouts in the sprinting department, Martin joins ETSU with a chance to impact the Bucs immediately. A state runner up in the 100m last season and a fifth place finisher in the 200m, Martin holds personal records of 12.11 in the 100m and 25.43 in the 200m.
Coach’s Comments: “Lanaya will challenge in the short sprint group in what has become a very competitive event area this year. She was a South Carolina state runner up in the 100m last year, and I expect her to battle for a spot in the conference finals as well as a leg on the 4x100m relay. Lanaya will also see work in the 60m and 100m hurdles.”
Kyle Noe – Fr. – Maryville, Tenn. (Heritage HS)
A track and field athlete and football star at Heritage High School, Noe joins the Bucs after setting school records at Heritage in the 100m (10.81), 200m (22.14) and 400m (52.68) individually, as well as part of the 4x100 and 4x200 school record. The true freshman should have an immediate impact for ETSU in sprinting events, following a solid fall.
Coach’s Comments: “Kyle has been a pleasant surprise this fall, and I believe can be a major contributor to our team this year and during his career. He will battle for a spot in the conference finals in the 100m and 200m, as well as a leg on our 4x100m Relay. He's a very fine student and is a great example of someone who will succeed because of the hard work ethic he puts forward.”
Anjolaoluwa “Mary” Opelade – So. – Ibaden, Nigeria (AGIC)
One of the few international members of the squad, Opelade joins the Bucs as a sophomore looking to bolster the short sprint depth chart immediately for ETSU. Opelade brings successful track and field credentials to the team and has a pedigree of athletics running in her family. Her cousin, Chris Akporoghene, is a well-known football player on the high school level, playing offensive tackle at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Coach’s Comments: “Mary has had quite a journey to become part of the ETSU Track and Field team. She has made an immediate impact, and as she progresses through her training, will continue to be a positive contributor to the team. I expect her to add depth to the short sprints with the goal of becoming a conference scorer in the future.”
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For more information on ETSU track and field, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the track and field page.