May 7, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara men's outdoor track and cross country programs announced today that they have signed seven runners to national letters of intent. The runners will enter Santa Clara in the fall of 2009 and should have an immediate impact on both programs. The Broncos signed Evan Hennessey, Matt Wagner, Travis Pederson, Nhu-Nguyen Le, Richard Zhu, Austin Jones, and Matt Savage.
Evan Hennessey comes to Santa Clara from the highly successful Oak Park HS program in Southern California. Under head coach Kevin Smith, Oak Park has consistently been one of the top programs in the state every year. This season was no exception, as Hennessey helped his team to a 2nd place finish at the C.I.F. Southern Section Division III Championships. Evan ran 15:59 on the hilly Mt. Sac 2.91 mile course for 23rd place overall. At the California Division III State Championships held at Woodward Park in Fresno, CA, Oak Park finished in 2nd place and Hennessey placed 29th overall with a time of 16:18 for the 5k distance. Hennessey also placed 7th at the Ventura County Championships running 16:10 on the challenging Lake Casitas 3mile course. Hennessey was named to the All-Ventura County First Team in Cross Country for his efforts throughout the season. His personal records include 4:22 in the 1600 M, 9:39 in the 3200 M, and 16:18 in the 5 K.
Matt Wagner joins the Broncos after a successful career at Clovis East HS in California's central valley. One of the top teams in California this season, Wagner was an integral part of head coach Jim Farmer's team. At the highly competitive Stanford Invitational, Clovis East placed 3rd as a team with Matt running 16:13 for the rolling 5k course. The following week, Wagner ran 16:15 for 5k at the Clovis Invitational held at Woodward Park in his home town of Fresno. Running numerous races on the Woodward Park 5k course, Wagner also turned in times of 16:15 at the TRAC League finals, and 16:26 at the State Division I Championships. Wagner's top performance of the season was at the John Seaman's Cross Country Invitational, held in Kingsburg, CA. In that race, he ran 15:08 for 3miles. His PRs include 4:30 in the 1600 M, 9:42 in the 3200 M, 15:08 in the 3 mile, and 16:13 in the 5 K.
A two sport athlete at San Dieguito Academy in San Diego, CA, Travis Pederson will focus on distance running at Santa Clara University. While at San Dieguito, Pederson was a starter on the varsity soccer team as well as being the top distance runner for Gordy Haskett's cross country and track teams. Running year round for the first time in his career will undoubtedly benefit his development as a distance runner. Even though he didn't focus on running the year round, Pederson was one of the top cross country runners in San Diego County. During his junior year, Pederson was runner up in the San Diego CIF Division 3 championships and placed 35th at the Division 3 California State Championships running 16:24 for the Woodward Park 5k course. As a senior he was the San Diego C.I.F. Division 3 Champion running 16:53 at the challenging course in Balboa Park. His personal record is in the 5 K with a time of 16:24.
Coach Liam Clemons at Trabuco Hills HS in Orange County is sending another outstanding student/athlete to Santa Clara University. Nhu-Nguyen Le joins the Broncos where he will be reunited with former Mustang teammate Chris Mosier. During his senior year, Le saw dramatic improvements as he helped his team back to the California State Division 1 meet. At the Sea View league championships held at Irvine Park, Le ran his 3mile pr of 15:26. His best performance of the year was at the CIF Southern Section Championships held at Mt. Sac. There, Le ran 15:36. At the state meet, he completed the 5k course at Woodward Park in Fresno in 16:29. On the track, Le's best mark is a 9:45 3200m. In other distances, his PRs include 4:30 in the 1600 M and 15:26 in the 3 mile.
Richard Zhu makes his way south to Santa Clara University from North Medford HS in Oregon. During his senior cross country campaign for the Black Tornados, Zhu's best 5k was run at the South Salem Invitational where he completed the course in 16:20 for 4th place. He was 28th at the Adidas Cross Country Classic in Portland running 16:28 for 5k. He closed out the season running 16:33 for 5th at his District meet and 41st place finish at the Oregon State 6A Championships, where he completed the 5k course at Lane Community College in 16:44. Zhu enjoyed some big improvements during his track season running 4:05 for 1500m at the Oregon Relays and 9:08 for 3000m at the Crater Rotary Classic. In addition to those impressive times, Zhu also recorded a PR in the 400 M with 51.5.
Head Central Catholic coach Dave Frank sends Austin Jones to Santa Clara University after a highly successful HS career. Jones was a crucial member of Central Catholic's great season in 2008 that saw them dominate the Oregon 6A state championships and compete at Nike Team Nationals as a representative of the North West Region. Individually, Jones ran 16:17 for the 5k course at the Stanford Invitational (45th place), 16:14 for the 5k course and 15th place at the Adidas Cross Country Classic. His best race of the year came at the OR 6A state championships where he placed 8th earning All-State honors in 16:07 for the 5k course. His other PRs include a 9:07 in the 3000M and 4:07 in the 1500 M.
De La Salle coaches John Pelster and Kevin Selby are full of praise for the running newbie Matt Savage. Savage began running during his junior track season after being a baseball player for his first 3 ½ years of HS athletics. Only a few months later he was a top 5 member of the NCS runner-up and California State Division 2 qualifiers, the DLS Spartans. Matt ran 16:27 for 3miles on the hilly Mt. Sac Course and 16:05 for the 3mile NCS Championship competition for 12th place overall. At the State Meet, Matt ran 16:43 for 64th place. His other PR includes a 16:05 in the 3 mile.