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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release

June 20, 2005

Seven Women Cross Country and Track & Field Athletes Sign for 2005-06

MARYVILLE, Mo. -- The Northwest Missouri State women's track and field and cross country program and head coach Scott Lorek announced that seven student-athletes have signed a NCAA National Letter of Intent to participate for the 2005-06 season. The signees include Johanna Avilez (Mesa, Ariz.), Emily Churchman (Parkville, Mo.), Kristen Degase (Maryville, Mo.), Amanda Gray (Rock Port, Mo.), Jennifer Kiss (Nobleton, Ont.), Maggie McManigal (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Anna O'Brien (Easton, Mo.). All will enter the 2005-06 academic year as freshmen at Northwest and join Tierney Eaton (Grant City, Mo.) in the class of 2005-06.

Avilez is a graduate of Red Mountain High School. She participated in the state championships where she was fifth in the 100-meter hurdles (15.1) and seventh in the triple jump (36'0"). She also had a personal best of 45.54 in the 300-meter hurdle. Avilez will participate on the Bearcat track and field team.

"Avilez has so many abilities," said Lorek. "The greatest challenge will be to figure out what events to pursue as her specialty."

Churchman is a graduate of Park Hill South High School. She is the district long jump champion and took top conference honors in the long and triple jumps. At state competition as a senior, Churchman was fifth in the long jump and eighth in the triple jump in Class 4. Churchman will participate on the Bearcat track and field team.

"Churchman will come in with an emphasis in the heptathlon," said Lorek. "She fills a huge void for us in her main events, what are the long and triple jumps."

Degase is a graduate of Maryville High School. In Class 3, Degase was a state qualifier in the 4x800 and 4x400-meter relay teams. Her best in the 800-meter was 2:26 and she holds the school record in the 800-meter and triple jump. Degase will compete on both the Bearcat cross country and track and field squads.

"Degase has a tremendous attitude and work ethic," said Lorek. "She will be an immediate benefit to our program."

Gray is a graduate of Rock Port High School. She was a member of the state champion in the 4x800-meter relay team and won top medalist honors in the 800-meter (2:22) and 1,600-meters (5:15). Gray will participate on the Bearcat track and field and cross country teams.

"Gray had an outstanding senior track season which simply indicates an amazing potential," said Lorek.

Kiss is a graduate of Cardinal Carter High School in the province of Ontario, Canada. At the Ontario Championships last season, Kiss held marks of 5'1" in the high jump, 1:08.03 in the 400-meter hurdles and was part of a 4x100-meter relay team to take eighth. Kiss will compete on the Bearcat track and field team.

"Kiss is another athlete with great potential," said Lorek. "She has a great attitude for the heptathlon, but also has established experience and quality in the 400-meter hurdles."

McManigal is a graduate of Wasson High School. McManigal took eighth in the 1,600-meters and 10th in the 3,200-meters at regional competition. During the cross country season, McManigal placed 18th in the regional championships. McManigal will participate in both track and field and cross country at Northwest.

"McManigal has flown under the radar of many programs," said Lorek. "I thank that very soon, other teams will be sorry they missed her."

O'Brien is a graduate of East Buchanon High School. She was the state runner-up in the 3,200-meters with a mark of 11:23 and was second at the state meet in the 1,600-meters (5:10.50) and 800-meters (2:20). O'Brien will compete on the Bearcat track and field and cross country squads.

"It will be exciting to have O'Brien run cross country for the first time ever," said Lorek. "She is a very disciplined competitor, which will be a great advantage in her collegiate career."

For more information, please contact:

Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582

Northwest Athletics
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468