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Nov. 19, 2014

media-icon-photogallery.gifPhoto Gallery of Incoming Recruits

CHARLOTTESVILLE – The Virginia men’s track and field/cross country program has signed seven athletes who will join the program in the fall of 2015. The group includes five distance/cross country runners, one sprinter and one hurdler.

“I am very pleased with our men’s early signing class,” said Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Bryan Fetzer. “As young as we are on the men’s team overall, we had a few specific needs that we looked to address and we accomplished that. We are always trying to find young men that fit what UVa is all about, both from the academic and athletic side. This group of young men will continue our process of building a championship program at Virginia.”

The signing class features athletes from five different states, in addition to one international athlete.


Alex Corbett • Distance/Cross Country • Burke, Va. (Lake Braddock)
• 2014 Virginia 6A Cross Country Champion
• 2014 Virginia 6A Outdoor 3200m Runner-Up

Alex Corbett is probably the best pure distance runner graduating in the state of Virginia this year. He is a state champion this fall in cross country and last year was state runner up in the 2 mile. He is really going to add depth to our cross country program.” – Men’s Cross Country Head Coach Pete Watson

Jake Dixon • Sprints • Falmouth, Maine (Cheverus)
• 2014 Maine Indoor 200m Champion
• 2014 Maine Outdoor 400m Champion
• Chose Virginia over Harvard and Princeton

“Talk about a great fit for UVa. Jake has enthusiasm like few I know. Maine isn’t usually a hot bed for sprinters, but Jake breaks the mold on that one. We expect him to have an immediate impact on our relay teams.” – Fetzer

“I chose the University of Virginia for a myriad of reasons. The academic quality of the school is top notch, and it is a place where I believe that I could explore countless opportunities. The track team chemistry is unlike any other team that I have experienced. Developing these types of support-filled and fun relationships with my teammates is of utmost importance to me. The coaching staff is not only knowledgeable, but also truly cares about the athletes and provides an exciting atmosphere. Competing in the ACC has been a dream of mine for a while, and I am excited to be able to do it while representing Virginia.” – Dixon

William Gray • Distance/Cross Country • Birmingham, England (University of Birmingham)
• PRs of 14:13.84 in the 5000m and 8:47.54 in the steeplechase
• 2014 Great Britain U-23 Steeplechase Champion
• 2012 Great Britain U-20 Steeplechase Champion
• Chose Virginia over Florida State

“Will Gray is a huge pickup for us. He is a guy who has run marks that will qualify for the NCAA finals in the steeplechase and has competed at a very high level in England. He has great range and will help us in all three seasons. Anytime we can sign a guy who has run 8:47 in the steeplechase and 14:13 in the 5000m, it will make our program better.” – Watson

“It had three out of the three things I was looking for; a great team, a top university and a cool town. The team is young, improving and will do big things in the next couple of years under Coach Watson. I want to be a part of that and help UVa achieve their goals.” – Gray

Emmanuel Jackson • Hurdles • Raleigh, N.C. (Sanderson)
• PR of 13.93 in the 110m hurdles
• Ranked No. 5 in the class of 2015 in the 110 hurdles by Dyestat
• 2014 North Carolina runner-up in the outdoor 110 hurdles
• Chose Virginia over North Carolina and Virginia Tech

“Emmanuel has tremendous hurdling capabilities that can have an immediate impact on a conference, regional and national level. He comes from a great family and is just the kind of young man we want representing our program. His talents will help address some very specific needs and we look forward to what his future holds here at UVa.” – Assistant Coach Willie Randolph

“I chose UVa because of the beautiful campus, the atmosphere, the teammates as well as the coaches. I also felt comfortable on my official visit and knew it was the place to go for the next four years.” – Jackson

Robby Keough • Middle Distance/Cross Country • Atlanta, Ga. (Whitefield Academy)
• 2014 Georgia Class A 800m and 1600m Champion (outdoor)
• 2014 Georgia Class A Cross Country Runner-Up
• Chose Virginia over Georgia, Georgia Tech, Cornell and Dartmouth

“Robby Keough is the small school state champion in Georgia in both the 800 and 1600. I think he has a tremendous upside and I’ve been very impressed with his ability to win races. He is going to really fit in well with our group of young milers here at UVa.” – Watson

“There are dozens of reasons that I chose UVa, but the most important of them are these: I have a vacation farm home 30 minutes away in Scottsville with family there, so it would be extremely nice to have that so close-by. UVa is a fantastic academic school, and they have a stellar business program, which is something that I want to do in college. Their team is small and very cohesive, which is appealing to me because they’re a family and having another family is something I want in a team. Also, Coach Watson and Coach Fetzer are great guys and I feel like I would grow as a runner, and a person under them. Last but not least, it came down to a gut feel of how much I felt like I belonged at the school, and I believe UVa is the best overall fit for me.” – Keough

Ari Klau • Distance/Cross Country • West Hartford, Conn. (Hall)
• 2014 New England Cross Country Runner-Up
• Chose Virginia over Georgetown

“Again, we were able to go into Connecticut and sign one of the states top runners in Ari. This follows the previous three years where we were able to sign Connor Rog, Henry Wynne and Trevor Hopper. Ari has had a breakthrough season this fall finishing as runner up at both the Connecticut State Championships and New England Championships.” – Watson

” Objectively, the University of Virginia is among the best schools in the United States academically and athletically, which was obviously a huge appeal. Besides getting a great education, I knew two runners who were excelling at UVa, which spoke to the success of the environment and the coaching staff. Still, UVa to me before this year was just facts- academic rankings, times, location, and so on.

On a college-tour road trip this summer, I arrived in Charlottesville around midnight and slept a scant few hours before waking up bright and early to go work out at Lannigan Field. The minute I arrived at the track, I fell in love. I could barely see any of the campus but it all felt right. Even more, there were a couple runners on the track who ran for UVa and I could tell from the way they talked that they were passionate about what they did and the school they represented. I ran around the grounds for a little after my workout and spent the rest of my afternoon touring UVa and Charlottesville. I even did a second run that day before we left, driving to one of the back roads that I knew the team trained on – Dick Woods road. It was humid and I was tired from the morning’s workout but the views more than made up for it. I knew at the end of the day that I wanted to be on that team and go to that school.

While UVa does have one of the best engineering programs in the nation, is widely known for its business and law schools, and is a top tier institution in just about every other area, that isn’t why I wanted to go to UVa; nor was it just the success of the team, or just the rich history of the University, or the scenic beauty of all of Charlottesville. It’s the culmination of all of these attributes that make it a one-of-a-kind school, offering an experience that I couldn’t possibly find anywhere else.

It’s still surreal to me that I have been given this opportunity. Even before I visited, UVa would’ve been my response If I were asked where my top choice was. I chose UVa because it’s been my dream since the day I started thinking about college. I chose UVa because I believe it’s the best fit I could’ve possibly found. I chose UVa because, when I was given the chance, it was an offer I simply couldn’t refuse.” – Klau

Matthew Novak • Distance/Cross Country • Glen Allen, Va. (Deep Run)
• Ranked No. 6 in the class of 2015 in the mile by Dyestat
• 2014 Virginia 5A Cross Country Champion
• 2014 Virginia 5A Outdoor 800m and 1600m Champion
• Chose Virginia over Virginia Tech and North Carolina

Matthew Novak has shown to be one of the most rounded and talented runners in Virginia the past two years and has the unique ability to win the state meet in both the 800 and 1600 as well as in cross country. As a junior he ran under 4:10 in the mile and if we do things right with him he will be a big part of our program in the years to come.” – Watson

“There is not one single reason why I chose UVa. UVa is an amazing school with great academics. I will be a part of a very competitive team, and I will also be in a very challenging academic environment. The University’s location is perfect for me; I love Charlottesville. The university’s facilities, including the home cross country course, Panorama Farms, are top notch. The coaches are very personable and approachable. I look forward to running for them. The team is very friendly and hardworking, and I can’t wait to become a member of the team. Out of all of the schools, UVA was the best fit for me.” – Novak

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