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Track & Field Announces 2021 Recruiting Class

Postby PonyPride » Wed Jun 30, 2021 9:55 pm

From SMUMustangs.com:

Track & Field Announces 2021 Recruiting Class

Head coach 'A Havahla Haynes announced the addition of seven student-athletes to the 2021-22 SMU track & field / cross country roster.

Maykayla Jackson – JUMPS --- Midlothian, Texas
K'Nyah Isaac -- SPRINTS -- Miami, Fla.
Kendall Saeger --- DISTANCE -- Irvine, Calif.
Cayla Eckenroth – DISTANCE -- Novi, Michigan / Ball State
Nikol Rafailaki -- DISTANCE -- Agios Nikolaos, Greece
Maria Kavalierou --- JUMPS -- Milos, Greece
Steffi Jones -- DISTANCE -- Plano, Texas / New Mexico


Maykayla Jackson – JUMPS --- Midlothian, Texas

Competing at Midlothian High School just south of Dallas, Jackson set three school records during her career (4x100, 4x200 and Triple Jump). She has a career best 12.21m in the triple jump. During her senior season, she won the triple jump title at Districts, Area and Regionals and placed sixth in the state. She also won regional titles in the 200m and 4x100 & 4x200 relays. Her best finish at state came during a fourth-place triple jump showing in 2019. Maykayla also excelled in basketball earning District Offensive Player of the Year in 2020. Jackson decided to continue her education at SMU because of its great atmosphere and the career opportunities that come with an SMU education. She plans to pursue biology/premed while on the Hilltop.


K'Nyah Isaac -- SPRINTS -- Miami, Fla.

K'Nyah Isaac joins SMU with a strong sprinting resume down in Florida. Isaac ran track and field for Flanagan High School in Penbroke Pines, Florida. She placed third at the Florida High School State Championships in the 400m after winning her region earlier in the postseason. During her senior season, Isaac qualified for state in the 200m, 400m and 4x400 after sweeping her district titles in each of the three events. Her best finish at state came during her sophomore season as Isaac placed second in the 400m. Isaac has career bests of 23.91 in the 200m and 54.68 in the 400m. She competed at the 2017 AAC Junior Olympics in the 400m and qualified for the Nationals Outdoor in 2019. She chose to continue her career at SMU because of the small classes, beautiful campus and business opportunities. She plans to major in economics.


Kendall Saeger --- DISTANCE -- Irvine, Calif.

Saeger competed at Santa Margarita Catholic High School where she helped the team to two CIF Track & Field team titles. She's posted personal bests of 2:16.29 in the 800m and 4:59.36 in the 1600. She was a team captain for three years on both the cross country and track squads. Saeger qualified for state twice in cross country and was a two-time CIF Finalist. In her senior season, Saeger won an individual CIF title in the 3200m setting a school record. Her father, Rich Saeger, was a five-time All-American swimmer at SMU and won a gold medal in the 4x200 relay at the 1984 Olympic Games. Kendall chose SMU because of the opportunities to grow as a student and an athlete.


Maria Kavalierou --- JUMPS -- Milos, Greece

Kavalierou joins the Mustangs after a stand-out junior career in her native Greece competing in the triple jump and long jump, . Maria was the u18 National Champion in the triple jump. She has a career best of 13.01m in the triple jump and 5.94m in the long jump. She competed at Milos Vocational school where she was coached by George Pomaski. Kavalierou posted a seventh-place finish at the Balkans u-20 Championships and a ninth-place finish at the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2019. She chose SMU because of its strengths in both academics and athletics.


Cayla Eckenroth – DISTANCE -- Novi, Michigan / Ball State

Cayla Eckenroth adds experience to the Mustang roster after spending four seasons competing at Ball State. At Ball State, Eckenroth was second team All-MAC twice during her cross country career (2019 & 2020) with a pair of top-12 finishes at the conference meet. In the classroom, Cayla earned Academic All-MAC seven times during her four-year career. She graduated from Ball State with a degree in Secondary English Education. A native of Novi, Michigan, Eckenroth competed at Northville High School where she was all-state in cross country and helped Northville to Division 1 state title. Cayla chose SMU because of its well-respected reputation in athletics and academics, and because of the great team and coaching staff.

Nikol Rafailaki -- DISTANCE -- Agios Nikolaos, Greece

Nikol Rafailaki – Rafailaki comes from Agios Nikolaos in Greece. Rafailaki won the u-20 national championships in the steeplechase. In 2020, she ranked in the top-15 in the world in the 2000m steeplechase, thanks to her personal best posted in July of 2020. Nikol's best time in the 3k steeplechase is 10:48.19 which she posted this May. Rafailaki competed at Second High School in Agios Nikolaos on Crete and was coached by her father, Eleftherios, a former national champion. Rafailaki signed with SMU because of the school's excellent combination of athletics and academics.


Steffi Jones -- DISTANCE -- Plano, Texas

Steffi Jones joins the Mustangs as a fifth-year senior after spending four seasons competing at New Mexico. Jones, a native of Plano, qualified for the NCAA Regional this season in the 1500m. Her best 1500m time of 4:21.24 came during the 2021 West Coast Relays. During her career at the Mountain West Championships, she scored for the Lobos in the 1500m Outdoor (7th in 2021), 800m Outdoor (6th in 2019) and 800m Indoor (8th in 2018). In the classroom, Jones was a 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-American and was on the dean's list all eight semesters. Before college, Jones competed at Plano High School where she was an Area champion in the 800m. Jones chose to continue her career at SMU because of the sense of community on the Hilltop as well as the school's reputable business school and track team. She plans to pursue a Masters in Management.
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