The LSU Track & Field program has signed an outstanding group of recruits to National Letters of Intent for the Class of 2014 that will compete for the first time next year. Friday’s announcement is the fifth in a five-part series announcing the signing of the team’s throws recruits for the 2015 season.
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Track & Field teams have put an exclamation point onto the end of their five-part series announcing their recruiting Class of 2014 on Friday morning as head coach Dennis Shaver and his staff announced the signing of three outstanding weight throw and hammer throw prospects to National Letters of Intent.
Signing with the Lady Tigers this spring are high school All-Americans Gabby Figueroa (Austintown, Ohio) and Sidnie Wilder (Cameron, Wisc.), while the Tigers have signed rising junior college star Patrick Geers (Mission Viejo, Calif.) as they look to impact LSU’s quest for SEC and NCAA championships in the coming years.
Figueroa and Wilder will look to fill the void left by graduating senior Denise Hinton following the 2014 season after Hinton earned her first career All-America honor with a fifth-place finish nationally in the women’s 20-pound weight throw at this year’s NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., to wrap up the 2014 indoor season.
Geers also joins a proud lineage of Tiger throwers that features most recently the likes of two-time NCAA Indoor weight throw champion and 2010 NCAA Outdoor hammer throw champion Walter Henning.
By announcing the signing of Figueroa, Wilder and Geers to National Letters of Intent, it caps an outstanding Class of 2014 for the Tigers and Lady Tigers following the announcement of sprinters Mikiah Brisco (Baton Rouge, La.), Aleia Hobbs (New Orleans, La.) and Oksana Lawrence (Dayton, Ohio) on Monday; hurdlers Daeshon Gordon (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Kymber Payne (Compton, Calif.) on Tuesday; distance runners Carley Boyce (Covington, La.), Rebecca Little (Austin, Texas) and Tommy Brocato (Hammond, La.) on Wednesday; and jumpers Bria Druilhet (Sugar Land, Texas) and Danielle Phillips (Cocoa, Fla.) on Thursday.
Figueroa and Wilder will both compete as true freshmen for the Lady Tigers during the 2015 season, while Geers will compete as a junior after transferring to LSU following his two-year stint at Saddleback College.
“We have a proud tradition in the throws here at LSU, and this is a class of recruits that we feel will help us continue that tradition in the championship meets for years to come,” Shaver said. “It is important to continue to build the kind of depth across all of the event areas that will allow us to compete for SEC and NCAA championships each year, and we believe this group under Coach (Derek) Yush gives us that opportunity.”
A product of Austintown-Fitch High School in Austintown, Ohio, Figueroa joins the program as one of the all-time great weight throwers in the history of high school track and field in the United States.
Figueroa wrapped up each of the last two seasons as the nation’s No. 1-ranked prep performer in the weight throw regardless of class while throwing seasonal bests of 58 feet, 11 inches as a junior in 2013 and a career best of 64-11 as a senior in 2014. She threw her personal best of 64-11 in winning the weight throw title at the 2014 Kent State University High School Open back on March 2 to become the No. 2-ranked prep performer all-time in the United States in the indoor weight throw, trailing only the high school record of 68-2 ¾ set by Class of 2011 standout Shelby Ashe.
A two-time Ohio Division I indoor state champion in the 20-pound weight throw, Figueroa is has earned national acclaim as the reigning New Balance Indoor Nationals champion in the event after recording her winning mark of 62-1 ¾ in her 2014 indoor finale at The Armory Track & Field Center in New York. She also won the bronze medal at the 2013 New Balance Indoor Nationals a season ago.
While only throwing the hammer twice outdoors during her prep career, Figueroa emerged as an elite prospect in the event during her junior season when she took home the silver medal at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals with her series-best mark of 166-4. She set a personal best of 168-9 in the event at the 2013 Ohio Milesplit State Hammer Championship to finish her junior season as the No. 9-ranked thrower nationally with all classifications and the No. 5-ranked member of the Class of 2014.
Wilder also joins the Lady Tigers as one of the country’s top-ranked hammer throwers from a season ago when she threw a personal best of 177-11 to take sixth place in the event at the 2013 USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. That mark ranked No. 5 nationally regardless of class and No. 2 among the Class of 2014 in the hammer throw at the high school level.
A product of Cameron High School in Cameron, Wisc., Wilder was named a Track & Field News High School American following her sophomore season in 2012 during which she was the nation’s No. 1-ranked thrower of the hammer in the Class of 2014 after posting a seasonal-best mark of 166-4. Her 2012 seasonal best was also the No. 5-ranked mark regardless of class that season.
Wilder first made her mark at the national level during her freshman season in 2011 when she won the intermediate girls’ silver medal at the USA Track & Field National Junior Olympics in Hutchinson, Kan.
An emerging hammer throw prospect in his own right, Geers will join the Tigers following an outstanding two-year career at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif., where he has developed into an elite thrower for the Gauchos as the reigning California Community College Athletic Association Southern Regional champion in both the discus and hammer throws following a breakout freshman season in 2013.
After finishing his freshman campaign with seasonal bests of 150-8 in the discus and 182-5 in the hammer in 2013, Geers has already raised his personal bests in both events during his sophomore season in 2014 with an opening mark of 150-9 to win the discus title at Saddleback’s dual meet with Santiago Canyon College and an impressive mark of 202-0 to win the hammer throw title in a dual meet with Cuyamaca College in March. It is a sophomore season in which he has already raised his hammer PR by nearly 20 feet as one of the top throws prospects at the junior college level.
In fact, Geers eclipsed the 200-foot mark in back-to-back meets this season as he followed his PR of 202-0 on March 7 by throwing a winning mark of 200-8 at the 2014 Ben Brown Invitational last weekend on March 15.