CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson track & field head coach Mark Elliott announced the signing of six national letters of intent Tuesday for the incoming class of 2018-19. On the men’s side, Vashon McCarthy (St. Catherine, Jamaica/Cloud County) and Rayan Holmes (Clarendon, Jamaica/South Plains College) will join the Tigers in the fall of 2018, while Veronica Fraley (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield HS), Kenya Livingston (Mint Hill, N.C./Rocky River HS), Zeniyah Lawrence (Mt. Pleasant, S.C./Wando HS) and Aliyah Mallard (Spring, Texas/Spring HS) will join on the women’s program.
“This is one of the best recruiting classes that we’ve had since I began my tenure as head coach at Clemson in terms the variety event specialists we have coming in” said Elliott. “We’ve never really had athletes such as Veronica and Vashon in the throws area. I would say it’s our best all-around signing period since we’ve been here, so I’m very excited about the 2018-19 additions. It’s a continuation of all the work that my staff has put in and so now it’s just a matter getting these incoming student-athletes coached up to give us an opportunity to win some titles.”
Specializing in the 400-meter hurdles, Holmes comes from South Plains College where he competed indoors and outdoors. While at South Plains, The Clarendon, Jamaica native tallied five top-five finishes in the the 400-meter hurdles, including a first-place finish at the UTEP Springtime 2017 meet to open the 2017 outdoor season. Holmes was also a member of The Texans’ 4x400-meter relay that garnered three first-place finishes in 2017.
“I’ve known Rayan since his high school days and watched him win the Penn Relays in the 400mH in high school. He is one of the best hurdlers in the NJCAA and we are very fortunate to have Rayan join the program.”
McCarthy joins the Clemson men’s program from Cloud County Community College where posted an impressive resume in the shot put and discus throw. In the 15 meets he competed in this past season, McCarthy never placed outside the top-10 in either event. He was a four-time shot put champion in 2017, twice indoors and twice in outdoors. McCarthy was also the runner up at the 2017 NJCAA Region VI Indoor Championships in the shot put with a mark of 57-1. At the 2017 NJCAA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships, McCarthy placed sixth in the shot put (53-3.75) and seventh in the discus throw (154-4).
“Vashon is a huge signee for us and will be a great addition to our throws group. He is one of the best throwers in the junior college ranks. We couldn’t be more excited to have on board here at Clemson.”
On the women’s side, Fraley comes to Clemson as one of the the throwers in the nation. She is the top shot putter in the country (47-9.25), and also ranks third in the in the discus throw (170-4) and 19th in the hammer (133-4). Fraley was ranked as the No. 36 recruit in the nation by MileSplit USA.
“I am very excited to have Veronica coming in. Her marks as a thrower are exceptional and she is really going to bolster that area for us. Veronica is one of the most recruited athletes in the country and we’re thrilled to have her.”
A five-time South Carolina state champion in three events (100m, 200m and long jump), Lawrence is one of the top sprinters in South Carolina. She swept state titles in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash in both 2016 and 2017. At the 2016 South Carolina state championship, she achieved personal records in both the 100-meter dash (11.65) and the 200-meter dash (23.91).
“Zeniyah is the top sprinter in the state and looks to me to be following in the steps of Rebekah Smith, one of the best Clemson sprinters on the team right now. She is going to be a major contributor in sprints immediately.”
Livingston, a jumps specialist, is the No. 43 recruit in the country right behind Fraley. She holds the second-highest mark (5-10) in the nation the high jump and the 15th-best distance in the triple jump (39-10). The Rocky Road, N.C., native is also a three-time North Carolina 4A state champion in the high jump and was the 2017 state runner up in both the long jump and triple jump events.
“Kenya is another top recruit who will make an immediate impact for our program. Having the second-best jump in the country is something we are rally excited to build upon and we can’t wait for her to get on campus.”
Mallard is one of the top sprinters in a competitive 6A district in Springs, Texas. At the 2016 district championships, Mallard medaled in both the 100-meter dash (12.00) and 200-meter dash (24.38), achieving personal records in both events. A dynamic athlete, Mallard has also competed in events from 400-meter run to the 2-mile run.
“Alyiah is a tremendous athlete with a very high ceiling. She’s already showcased a lot of talent and she will be a great addition to the sprints program. I had the pleasure of coaching both of her parents at LSU, both of whom won NCAA championships, so I know she comes from a hard-working family.”