FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University cross country coach Mark Bluman has announced the signing of four runners who will join the Patriot women’s squad this fall: London Barnhill of Hemingway, Charity Hawkins of Woodruff, LaMeisha Jackson of Warrenville, and Whitney Wagner of Cullowhee, N.C.
Barnhill, 5-5, is a product of Johnsonville High School, where she ran for coaches Stevie Phillips, Brian Morse, and Justin Files.
She helped the Golden Flashes to the 2010 Class A state championship for track and field. As a “jack-of-all-trades,” she was a member of the 4x800-meter relay team that placed second at the state meet, while also placing third in the pole vault.
“London is a local product that comes from a very strong high school track program,” said Bluman. “I am very excited to see how she develops and improves with year-round distance training.”
Hawkins, 5-4, is a product of Woodruff High School, where she ran for coaches Steve Ramey, Brian White, and Parker Roth.
She placed 37th at the 2009 Class AA state cross country meet last fall, while helping her team to a 12th-place finish. Earlier, she finished third at the Region 2 AA Meet and then ran a personal-best 21:18 to place 14th at the AA Upper State Meet. She earned All-Region honors and was named her squad’s most valuable player. She holds her school’s record for 5,000-meters.
This past spring, she finished fourth in the 1600-meters at the Class AA state track and field meet.
“Charity is a solid runner, and I am looking for immediate good results from her this fall.”
Jackson, 5-5, is a product of Midland Valley High School, where she ran for coaches Dustin Fowler, Nicholas Woodruff, and Roger Crazy Wolf.
An All-Region performer in cross country and track, she placed 111th at the 2009 Class AAA state cross country meet. Her best time during the 2009 season was 23:16.45. As a junior, she set a school record for the 400-meter hurdles and went on to place eighth at the state meet.
“LaMeisha is another recruit that comes from a very strong prep program. She is a natural athlete and should benefit greatly from year-long distance training.”
Wagner, 5-8, is a product of Smoky Mountain High School, where she ran for coaches Pam Dehdashty and Adam Phillips.
She earned All-Conference, All-Region, and All-State honors for cross country. She placed 18th at the state meet, and owns a personal-best 5,000-meter time of 21:08.
“Whitney only began running cross country several years ago, so she is a relative newcomer to the sport. She has a tremendous up-side and a bright future, and will surprise a lot of folks with her running abilities.”
“All four recruits will have the immediate opportunity to compete. It will be an enjoyable task to see them develop together and improve as a group,” Bluman added.
Francis Marion lost two seniors from its 2009 women’s squad that placed 10th at the Peach Belt Conference Championship Meet and 23rd at the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Meet.