FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – NAU Swimming & Diving head coach Andy Johns announced that seven swimmers and two divers will join the Lumberjack program for the 2012-13 season. The team now has 11 newcomers slated to join the squad after a pair of swimmers, Kendall Brown and Ellie Morrissey, committed during the fall signing period. The large recruiting class will help offset the loss of three swimmers and two divers to graduation.
"It's a large class which should address the needs that we had based on the people that we lost," Johns said. "When you combine this group of Spring signees with the two from the Fall, it's a tremendous class. We're really excited about the potential and the future of the program and we think that they all can contribute to our continued success."
Among the signees is Flagstaff native Chelsea Jackson, who will be graduating from Northland Preparatory Academy and is a state champion gymnast who is making the transition back to diving. Both her father and grandfather are NAU alumni and she will join sophomore swimmer Meagan Morrison as Flagstaff locals on the NAU squad. Carlye Townsend, a native of San Clemente, Calif. who dove with 2011 AAU National Champion club Crown Valley Divers, also joins the NAU program following the graduation of senior divers and NCAA Zone participants Cassie Anderson and Holly Frost.
"We lost two big seniors but I'm really excited about our two newcomers," said NAU diving coach Nikki Huffman. "Chelsea has only been diving since September but she's already doing a pretty strong list of dives and she's very excited about getting better and stronger, and Carlye comes from one of the great club teams in the country and is already working on new dives. I think they will both be up-and-comers and contribute for us."
Four of the seven swimming newcomers are from Arizona, with three of them – Molly Elkins (Seton Catholic HS), Trinity Frazee (Red Mountain HS), and Halle Wilson (Desert Vista HS) – from Mesa. Frazee specializes in sprint events and was a state medalist in the 50 freestyle, while Elkins, Wilson, and Cassie Ronai (Chandler, Ariz./Perry HS) all swam for quality club teams and should contribute both in the pool and in the classroom, according to Johns.
The three other swimming recruits come from outside the state of Arizona. Eva Pold (San Diego, Calif./Torrey Pines HS) becomes the program's third Southern California addition to go with Fall signees Brown and Morrissey. Pold is a distance freestyle specialist who, along with Brown, will help replace the loss of All-WAC distance swimmers Kristin Jones and Krista Maier.
Coming to NAU from Kansas, Brooke Brittain (Wichita, Kans./The Independent School) is a two-time state champion in the 100 backstroke while her team was a two-time state runner-up. Rounding out the class is Monica Pruett (Houston, Texas/Clear Brook HS), a breaststroke and individual medley swimmer who becomes NAU's fourth team member from Texas, the host state for the WAC Championship in San Antonio.
"We lost some significant points (at the WAC Championship) from our seniors but we do return the four Mid-Major All-Americans," Noted Johns. "I think the core of our team combined with this class can definitely help us be in a good position to try and win that championship after finishing second this year."
NAU Swimming & Diving 2012-13 Newcomers
Brooke Brittain - Wichita, Kans./The Independent School
Molly Elkins - Mesa, Ariz./Seton Catholic HS
Trinity Frazee - Mesa, Ariz./Red Mountain HS
Eva Pold - San Diego, Calif./Torrey Pines HS
Monica Pruett - Houston, Texas/Clear Brook HS
Cassie Ronai - Chandler, Ariz./Perry HS
Halle Wilson - Mesa, Ariz./Desert Vista HS
Kendall Brown - Aliso Viejo, Calif./Laguna Hills HS (Fall Signee)
Ellie Morrissey - Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison HS (Fall Signee)
Chelsea Jackson - Flagstaff, Ariz./Northland Prep
Carlye Townsend - San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente HS