UPLAND, Ind. - Taylor University men's cross country head coach, Lance Vanderberg, has announced his signing class for the 2014-2015 campaign, with four student-athletes set to join the roster.
Stephen Cho, Tyler Koteskey, Kyle Shelton and Jonathan Taylor make up the incoming class for the Trojans, who are expected to challenge for the Crossroads League Championship in the fall after finishing second in 2013.
Taylor is set to return all but one letterwinner from that squad that went 89-23 over six team events in 2013, while sending Ethan Evans and Scott King to NAIA Nationals and ending the season with votes in the final NAIA Top-25 poll.
"This is an exciting group of incoming student-athletes who have had successful high school careers on both the cross country course and the track," stated Vanderberg. "They are highly motivated to compete at the next level and I am looking forward to coaching them over the next four years as they seek to glorify God with their talents and abilities."
Stephen Cho / Fishers, Indiana / Hamilton Southeastern HS
"Stephen comes from a very competitive program and has Indiana state meet experience in cross country and track," said Vanderberg. "He has produced very quality times throughout his high school career and I am excited about his 8,000-meter potential in cross country, as well as his versatility in track."
Cho was a four-year standout in cross country and track for Hamilton Southeastern, where he was named the MVP for the cross country squad as a senior.
The Fishers, Indiana native graduated with Core 40 Academic Honors and was named as an Academic All-Indiana Honorable Mention student-athlete. Cho intends to major in business at Taylor.
"I chose Taylor University and its running program because I believe that I will be able to make an impact and help improve the team," remarked Cho. "There will be plenty of good competition and I think that running at the collegiate level would be a great experience for me."
Tyler Koteskey / Fort Wayne, Indiana / Homestead HS
"I have been able to watch Tyler compete multiple times and am impressed with his range as a runner," stated Vanderberg. "Tyler has excelled in both middle and long distance and competed this year at the Indiana state meet on his 4x800-meter relay team. It will be exciting to watch him develop at the next level."
Koteskey earned a trio of varsity letters in cross country and track at Homestead High, while twice receiving all-conference recognition.
The Fort Wayne, Indiana native graduated with a 4.1 grade-point average, was a member of the National Honor Society and was on the Distinguished Academic Honor Roll. Koteskey plans on majoring in international studies during his time at Taylor.
"My visits to Taylor really confirmed that it was where God wanted me to go," said Koteskey. "I met a ton of fun people and really liked the community and campus life at TU. Coach Vanderberg was also really encouraging and I am excited to be on a successful team that will challenge me."
Kyle Shelton / Channahon, Illinois / Minooka Community HS
"Kyle has very good speed and will add solid depth to our middle distance group in track," said Vanderberg. "He also competed at the Illinois state meet in the 4x400-meter relay with successful results. Cross country will enhance his fitness for the 800-meter run in the spring, where I anticipate that he will contribute very well."
Shelton, a Channahon, Illinois native, lettered twice for Minooka Community High and intends on majoring in computer science at Taylor.
"When I visited the campus, I just felt so welcomed and at home," stated Shelton. "I knew that Taylor would be the perfect place for me to grow spiritually, academically and athletically."
Jonathan Taylor / LaGrange, Kentucky / Portland Christian HS
"Jonathan has consistently produced outstanding results, including multiple All-Kentucky finishes and a state championship in the 3,200-meter run this year," stated Vanderberg. "He is highly motivated and competitive and I anticipate that he will excel in the longer distance events."
Taylor won the Kentucky 1A State Championship in the 3,200-meter dash as a senior, after finishing second in the state in 2013. Along with earning All-Kentucky honors during all four seasons of track at Portland Christian High, Taylor was a three-time All-Kentucky standout in cross country with top-10 finishes at the state meet in each of his final three seasons. Taylor was also a Wendy's Heisman Finalist in Kentucky during the 2013 campaign.
The LaGrange, Kentucky native was a four-time First-Team Academic All-Kentucky performer in the classroom as well for cross country and track and field and was the president of Portland Christian's National Honor Society. Taylor plans on majoring in social studies education at Taylor University.
"After spending time with guys on the team and getting to meet many awesome students and faculty, I fell in love with TU," said Taylor. I am gracious to God for letting everything work out so that I could attend Taylor and I am excited to see where He takes me along this journey."