CORPUS CHRISTI - Head coach Shawn Flanagan announced the signing of 13 new recruits to the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi cross country program today. The Islanders class includes eight new members of the women's team and five for the men, and features three state champions, a state runner-up and several regional champions.
"This is certainly one of our largest distance signee classes and one of the most talented," said Flanagan "We look forward to great things in the future with this group."
For the men, the Islanders will add two state champions and a state runner-up this fall with the additions of Paul "Buster" Hansel (Cuero/Cuero), Brandon Lacy (Lytle/Lytle) and Angel Banda (LaJoya/Lincoln Juarez). Hansel won the 3A state championship in the 1600m at Cuero. In addition he finished in the top three in the 3A cross country championships. He ran times of 4:19 in the 1600m and 9:33 in the 3200m.
Lacy was also a state champion, winning the 3A 800m at Lytle, and posted a time of 1:53 in the 800m, 3:57 in the 1500m and had a top five finish in the state cross country meet. Banda was the class 4A state runner-up in cross country while competing at LaJoya, and he also had a time of 9:15 in the 3200m.
In addition the team will add a pair of international runners to the team with Phillip Baar from Germany and Valentinas Rudys from Lithuania. Baar has posted times of 1:55 in the 800m and 3:56 in the 1500m. Rudys brings times of 1:54 in the 800m and 3:56 in the 1500m.
The Islanders women's cross country program will look to reload after finishing as conference runner-up following three straight titles. Local product Alex Rossi (Corpus Christi/Incarnate Word Academy) joins the team after a standout career at Incarnate Word, which includes winning a state title. She has run times of 5:21 in the 1600 and 11:45 in 3200.
Vanessa Galindo (Del Rio/Del Rio) was the 5A regional champion this year and has a 11:21 time in the 3200. Kayla Castillo (Fredricksburg/Fredricksburg) finished fourth at the state 3A meet in the 800m and has a time of 2:16 in the event.
Shelby Polesak (San Antonio/Smithson Valley) was third at the 4A regional in the 3200 with a time of 11:21. Jasmine Boutte (Justin/Northwest) was fifth at the 5A regional in the 800m. She had times of 2:15 in the 800m and 5:13 in the 1600m. Jennifer Ramirez (San Antonio/Harlandale) finished sixth at the 4A regional, and has a time of 11:33 in the 3200.
Finishing off the class are a pair of runners from Katy with Kayla Fischer (Katy/Katy) and Teresa Tauriello (Katy/Katy). Fischer had recorded times of 2:20 in the 800m and 5:20 1600m during her high school career. Tauriello recorded a time of 5:20 in the 1600m and 11:40 in the 3200.
The Islanders have won four women's team championships and four combined individual titles between the men and women in their five years in the Southland Conference.