CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Virginia's Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Jason Vigilante has announced the commitment of 19 student-athletes that are set to join the Cavaliers' nationally recognized men's program for the 2011-12 year.
The highly talented class will be comprised of Mark Amirault (Walpole, Mass.), Devin Brewer (Potomac, Va.), Jake Brown (Fredericksburg, Va.), Brandon Burton (Newport News, Va.), Dan Folger (Nashua, N.H.), Payton Hazzard (Huntington, N.Y.), Nathaniel Hermsmeier (Charlottesville, Va.), Kyle King (Yorktown, Va.), Zack Larrabee (Sarasota, Fla.), Christian Lavorgna (Sparta, N.J.) Gubby Noronha (Durham, N.H.), Ryan Satchell (Central Islip, N.Y.), Ed Schrom (Harrisburg, Pa.), Afolabi Shokunbi (Washington D.C.), Cody Snyder (Mechanicsville, Va.), Jack St. Marie (Westlake, Ohio), Clark Thornhill (Richmond, Va.), Philip Todd (Dallas, Texas), Nick Vena (Morristown, N.J.)
"I am so excited for the incoming Class of 2015," Vigilante said. "We have an incredibly talented group who I am certain will make a very positive impact for the University of Virginia."
Mark Amirault is a transfer from Princeton. An All-American in the 5000m, Amirault was a four-time Ivy Champion and also anchored the Tigers' 4xMile team to victory at the 2011 Penn Relays. He also excelled in the classroom, garnering USTFCCCA Academic All-American honors in cross country and track and earning the William Winston Roper Award, the highest honor given to a Princeton student-athlete.
Devin Brewer joins the Cavaliers' hurdling corps from Potomac High School, where he was a four-time VHSL All-State honoree. Brewer is ranked in the top-five in Virginia in both hurdle events, finishing third in the 110m hurdles and fourth in the 300m hurdles at the 2011 AAA state meet.
Jake Brown, from Fredericksburg, Va, will run distance for the Cavaliers next season. At Stafford High School, Brown was the 2011 Northwest District champion in the 1000m and finished seventh in the event at the state meet. Brown was also named to the 2011 Free Lance Star All-Area indoor track team.
Brandon Burton is a transfer from Hampton. A middle distance runner, Burton was the VHSL AAA state champion and a high school All-American in the 800m in 2010. The Woodside graduate also excelled in the 500m, finishing state runner-up in the event as a senior and ranking in the top-ten nationally.
Dan Folger comes to Virginia from Bishop Guertin High School, where he was a two-time New Hampshire state javelin champion. A three-time all-state nominee in the event, Folger also starred on the football field for Bishop Guertin. Folger helped the Brothers of the Sacred Heart to three state championships while earning first-team all-state honors.
Payton Hazzard hails from Huntington, N.Y., where he was a long sprinter at St. Anthony's High School. Hazzard raced to an Eastern States championship in the 400m his senior year, finishing the outdoor season ranked fifth in the state in the event. He was also the NSCHSAA League Champion in the 800m.
Nathaniel Hermsmeier is a distance runner from Monticello High School. The Jefferson District Athlete of the Year for his performance during the 2010 outdoor track season, Hermseier was also a four-time all-state selection for the Mustangs.
Kyle King of Yorktown, Va. will run distance for the Cavaliers next year. The Grafton High School graduate was the 2009 and 2010 AA state champion in cross country. On the track, King won three state titles during his career and finished the 2011 outdoor season ranked No. 1 in the state in both the 3200m and mile distances.
Zack Larrabee is a thrower from Sarasota, Fla. Larrabee won the 2011 Class 4A state title in the discus en route to being named the 2011 Sarasota Herald Tribune All-Area Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Christian Lavorgna, a multi-event talent, joins the Virginia squad from Pope John XXIII High School in Sparta, N.J. Placing fifth at the high school national championship meet in the decathlon, the All-American also finished his high school career ranked No. 11 in the state in the pole vault.
Gubby Noronha, from Durham, N.H., was a two-time state champion (1000m '11, 800m '11) at Oyster River High School. The middle distance runner holds Class I records in both the 800m and 1000m and was a four-time Class I title-winner. A six-time all-state selection, Noronha is ranked No. 41 in the US in the 1000m run.
Ryan Satchell is a triple jumper from Central Islip High School. The 2011 NY Public High School state champion and NY State Championship runner-up, Satchell finished the 2011 indoor season ranked 19th nationally in the event. He comes to Virginia having jumped over 47 feet six times in his career and over 46 feet twelve times.
Ed Schrom, from Harrisburg, Pa., will be running cross country and distance track for the Cavaliers next season. Schrom was the 2010 Mid-Penn Conference champion in cross country and is a two-time 1600m conference title-winner. A three-time Harrisburg Patriot News "All-Star," Schrom captured the 2011 PIAA District 3 championship in the 1600m and went on to finish sixth in the event at the state championship meet.
Afolabi Shokunbi joins the Cavaliers from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Washington, D.C. The versatile long sprinter placed second in both the 400m and 800m at the 2011 WCAC Championships. At the Penn Relays in 2010, Shokunbi ran the 800m leg as part of the Falcons' championship-winning distance medley relay team.
Cody Snyder is a distance runner from Lee-Davis High School in Mechanicsville, Va., where he as a seven-time All-State honoree. In 2011, Snyder won the AAA indoor state championship in the 1600m while also finishing runner-up in the 1000m. He was a 15-time Capital District champion and a 5-time Central Region champion for the Confederates.
Jack St. Marie is from Westlake, Ohio, and will run distance for the Cavaliers next season. St. Marie ran a season-best 9:51.32 in the 3200m at Southwestern Conference Championship, placing third in May 2011. His personal best in the 1600 meter is 4:25.07 and his personal best in the 3200 meter is 9:43.23.
Clark Thornhill, from Richmond, Va., is a three-time VHSL AAA All-State honoree, eight-time All-Central Region performer, and two-time District champion in the high jump. The 2011 state runner-up indoors, Thornhill finished the winter with the second best HJ mark in the state and was ranked among the top 25 high jumpers nationally. Thornhill proved his versatility at the outdoor district meet, scoring in four events (high jump, triple jump, 200m, 400m) for Douglass Freeman.
Philip Todd hails from Dallas, Texas, and is the brother of current UVa track team member Patrick Todd. A distance runner at Highland Park High School, Todd was a three-time All-State honoree-twice in track and once in cross country. He was the 2011 regional champion in the 800m and went on to finish sixth in the 800m and 1600m at the UIL Texas state meet. At the 10-4A District Championships, Todd won both events en route to being named the district MVP.
Nick Vena, a thrower, joins the Cavaliers from Morristown High School in Morristown, N.J. A five-time National Champion and six-time All-American, Vena holds the national freshman, sophomore, and junior class records in the shot put. He also broke the NJ state record in the event and is the No. 3 thrower in US high school outdoor history. The only American 4-time individual Penn Relays champion, Vena placed fourth at the 2010 IAFF World Junior Championships as a 17-year old.