Nov. 10, 2005
UCLA Men's Track & Field Head Coach Art Venegas has announced the signing of eight athletes to National Letters of Intent for the 2006-07 season. Early signees include two of the top hurdlers in the nation, David Klech and Darius Reed, jumper Steven Taylor, throwers Nick Robinson and Bo Taylor, decathletes Casey and Scott DiCesare and pole vaulter Greg Woepse.
"I am extremely pleased with what we have put together, and what I consider to be our finest recruiting class since I've been a head coach at UCLA, and I give all the credit to my staff and the recruiting office for helping assemble this exceptional group of student-athletes," said Venegas. "I'm incredibly excited with the success we've had during this early signing period and the high academic standards of these signees."
The class is highlighted by the No. 1 returning intermediate hurdler in the US, David Klech, of San Ramon, CA (California HS). Klech is one of the most versatile, high-end performers in the country, competing in the hurdles and the jumps. Klech's top prep marks going into his senior year include - 13.90 (110mH), 36.06 (300mIH), 51.28 (400mH), 7-0.75 (High Jump) and 24-7.75w (Long Jump).
Klech is the No. 1 returning athlete in both the 110mH and 300mH in the state of California and is the No. 1 returning senior in the nation in the 300mH. Klech's 400m hurdle time of 51.28 is the No.1 returning mark in the nation. His top 110mH time of 13.90 is the No. 3 returning mark in the nation for a senior. Klech's high jump mark of 7-0.75 is the top returning mark in the nation and he also holds the top returning long jump mark in the state and the No. 2 returning mark in the nation at 24-7.75.
"We love David's versatility and abilities in various events, but we definitely want to develop him in a matter consistent with his Olympic goals," said Venegas. "At UCLA, we envision him as a hurdle and jump performer."
Darius Reed of George Washington High School (Denver, CO) top returning senior in the nation in the 110m hurdles (13.70). Reed was also the top high school performer at the USATF Junior Nationals last summer over the college high hurdles (14.30). This year, Reed and his coaches are focusing on also developing the intermediate hurdles to match his high hurdle success.
"After signing the top hurdler in the nation last year, Kevin Craddock, we have repeated that success again with the signing David and Darius," said Venegas. "We want to make hurdles our signature event and continue the tradition of excellence that athletes like Greg Foster, Kevin Young and Andre Phillips have shown and by bringing in these two athletes, coupled with Craddock that success will continue."
Greg Woepse, a pole vaulter from Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, CA) will also be a Bruin next year. Woepse joins his sister, Elizabeth, a sophomore on the women's track team at UCLA. Last season, Woepse posted a top vault of 16-0 to win the CIF Masters Meet and has the No. 7 returning mark in the nation.
Nick Robinson of El Toro High School (Lake Forest, CA) will join the Bruin throwers next season, competing in the hammer, shot put and discus. Last season, Robinson had top prep marks of 178-4 in the disc and 56-8 in the shot.
"Although Nick didn't have the eye opening marks of other athletes, I believe he is going to be a star in college track," noted Venegas. "He is a good sized athlete who will have triple duty at UCLA in the shot, disc and hammer.
Bo Taylor of Newport Harbor HS (Newport Beach, CA) is the No. 7 returning senior in the nation in the discus (185-9) and the No. 9 returning senior in the country in the shot put (59-5). He is also the No. 2 returning shot putter and No. 3 returning discus thrower in the state. Taylor is a tremendous athlete and product of the great Tony Ciarelli program at Newport Harbor High School.
"Nick and Bo will create a triple event threat in the future for the Bruins competing in the shot, discus and hammer," said Venegas. "We are really pleased to have gotten these athletes because we believe they will be spectacular performers in the future."
Twin brothers Casey and Scott DiCesare will come to Westwood after competing in the decathlon and pole vault for Irvington HS in New York.
In an effort to upgrade our decathlon program, we went all the way to the east coast to pick up these two extremely promisting brothers," noted Venegas. "Both of these athletes have incredible ability and will benefit the multi's program next year and for years to come."
Steven Taylor of Hueneme High School is a triple jumper with a top mark of 47-10.75 last season. Taylor is World Record Holder and first year UCLA jumps coach Mike Powell's first recruit.
"We are very much looking forwad to seeing what he achieves his senior year and we anticipate great growth on his part," said Venegas.