BUFFALO, NY – Head coach Vicki Mitchell announced the addition of six athletes for the upcoming 2017-2018 track and field season. Leon Atkins, Jhada Francis, Patrick Hazlitt, Brianna Mckenzie, Emma Seiders, and Nakia Williams will be joining the Bulls in 2017.
Atkins comes to Buffalo from Cayuga Community College where he was a member of the Pulsar's track club under head coach Al Wilson. He is a middle distance runner originally from Auburn, NY. Atkin's holds a personal best time of 48.77 in the 400m. Atkins was named The Citizen's Boys Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year in 2015. He held five school records at Auburn High School, including three in indoor track and the 200m and 400m in outdoor track.
Mitchell on Atkins: "His commitment to excellence will be the perfect combination to achieve new levels at UB and in the MAC. He is going to be vital in continuing the tradition of middle distance dominance for the UB Bulls."
Francis is a sprinter from Ossining High School in Ossining, NY. She holds a personal best 7.11 in the 55m. Francis had a podium finish at the 2017 NYS Indoor Championships in the 55m. She will be majoring in Nursing at Buffalo.
Mitchell on Francis: "Jhada's dramatic improvements during her indoor season are pointing to an excellent outdoor season to finish her senior year. She brings the attitude of a champion to everything she does. She is going to be vital to our sprint squad's success."
Hazlitt will be an incoming freshman from Watkins Glen High School in Hector, NY. Hatzlitt is a bronze medalist in the NYS Cross Country Championships this past fall. He has also been a finalist on the track in the 1600m, where his personal best is 4:21.06. Hazlitt also holds a personal best of 16:00.20 in the 5000m and 1:57.05 in the 800m. Hazlitt will be working under Coach Witzleben with the men's distance squad. Hazlitt will be majoring in Business Administration.
Mitchell on Hazlitt: "Hazlitt brings great versatility in distance and will add depth to the UB Men's distance squad."
Mckenzie is a thrower from Lancaster High School in Lancaster, NY. Her specialty is in the weight throw and discus. With a personal best of 58' 0" in the weight throw, Mckenzie has been the bronze medal winner at the NYS Indoor Championships and runner-up at the Hershey Indoor National Meet. Mckenzie has also been a finalist in both the shot put and discus at the NYS Outdoor Championships. Mckenzie will be majoring in Occupational Therapy.
Mitchell on Mckenzie: "Brianna is going to be a force in the Mid-American Conference under Coach Garnham's tutelage. Coming from Lancaster High School, she will continue the tradition of top NYS throwers rising from Western New York, including current UB throwers Mckenzie Kuehlewind and Jess Dhaliwall."
Seiders is a rising middle distance runner from Silver Creek High School in Silver Creek, NY. She specializes in the 400m outdoor and 600m indoor. Seiders has been a NYS Championships qualifier each year. She will be running the 400m and 800m at Buffalo. Seiders will be majoring in Exercise Science.
Mitchell on Seiders: "Emma will keep the strength of the UB middle distance squad strong. As she makes the transition to the 400m and 800m event focus next year, we know she'll be a top contender. Emma will be joining her sister Hannah who is a member of the UB Bulls team."
Williams is coming from Southampton High School in Southampton, NY. William's 6' 8" high jump during the indoor season caught the eye of many universities. He went on to take the bronze medal at the NYS Championships. Williams will be studying Exercise Science, and be working under the direction of Coach Steve Esler.
Mitchell on Williams: "Nakia's ability combined with his work ethic will lead to reaching new heights. Nakia, along with Brandon Burke (November signee and 6' 10" best), will help Buffalo dominate in the high jump events."