Courtesy of North Carolina A&T State Athletics
GREENSBORO, N.C. – North Carolina A&T State men’s track & field’s 2020 recruiting class is the talk of the nation. Milesplit United States gave the class an A-minus grade. The class includes the No. 1 athlete in the country as he will join a program that is the four-time defending MEAC indoor champions and the three-time defending MEAC outdoor champions.
The Aggies will return all their seniors who did not get to compete in their final year of eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m extremely excited about this upcoming season,” Duane Ross said. “The experience of our returners combined with the talent of this incoming class will make for a very interesting and competitive NCAA championship.”
N.C. A&T’s director of track and field programs announced the addition of four high school athletes and three transfers. Raheem Hayles (Springfield, N.Y., Springfield Gardens High School), Javonte’ Harding (Prince George, Va., Prince George HS), Jaidin Thomas (Mebane, N.C., Eastern Alamance HS) and Brandon Nya (Bowie, Md., Bowie HS) are the high school additions.
Daniel Stokes (Pomona, Calif., Diamond Ranch HS, Cerritos College, Mt. San Antonio College), Canoy Tyree (Charlotte, N.C., Mallard Creek HS, Southern Illinois-Carbondale) and Kendall Turner (Hesperia, Calif., Hesperia HS, Cerritos College, Mt. San Antonio College) will transfer in.
Hayles is the No. 1 athlete in the country. As a senior he recorded four top-10 times nationally, including 1:18.48 in the 600 meters (No. 1), 47:64 in the 400 meters (No. 3), 1:03.81 in the 500 meters (No. 4) and 34.07 in the 300 meters (No. 6). He won all six major metro track and field events in New York in the 500 meters, including the NY state championships, PSAL city championships, the NY Millrose Games, the PSAL Queens Borough championships, the PSAL Martin Luther King Relays and the PSAL Jim McKay Games. Hayes finished the season undefeated in the 500 meters as a senior.
He also won the javelin at the 2019 PSAL city championships.
Harding ranks among the top high school runners in the country. During the 2019 outdoor season, he was ranked in the top 50 in the 100 and 200 meters. During the 2020 indoor season, he was ranked among the top 50 in the 55, 60, 200 and 300 meters. 300m as a junior and sixth as a senior. Rose to No. 5 nationally in the 55 meters after posting a 6.30 at the 2020 VHSL Region 5B Indoor Track and Field Championships. Harding is a four-time Class 5A Virginia state champion winning the 55 meters twice, the 100 meters twice and the 200 meters once. He is also five-time Class 5A Region 5B champion, winning the 55 meters twice, the 100 meters twice and the 200 meters once.
Thomas comes to N.C. A&T from nearby Eastern Alamance HS. He was a 2019 qualifier for the USATF Junior Olympics Nationals. He won the 100 meters (17-18-year old division) at the 2019 USATF JO – Region 3 championships.
Nya won the 200 and 300 meters at the 2020 VA Showcase. He ran the fastest 200 and 300 meters times in the U.S., the third weekend in January. He finished the 2020 indoor season ranked third in the 300 meters (33.75) and eighth in the 200 meters (21.48). He finished second in the state of Maryland (Class 4A) in the 500 meters and third in the 300 meters at the indoor state championships.
Stokes is one of two athletes the Aggies pulled from Cerritos College. Stokes won the 4×100-meter relay and the 4×400 relay at the 2019 South Coast Conference Track & Field Championships. He won the 400 meters and finished second in the 200 meters at the 2019 CCCAA California state championships.
At Southern Illinois, Tyree was a member of the 4×400 team that scored at the 2018 and ’19 at the Missouri Valley Conference outdoor track and field championships. When in high school, he won the North Carolina Class 4A state title in the 4×400 in 2017. He finished third in the state in the 500 meters at the state indoor meet.
Turner is the other athlete out of Cerritos College. Before Cerritos, he attended Mt. San Antonio College. He finished second in the 100 meters and 4×100 and finished fifth in the 200 meters at the 2019 CCCAA California state championships. At the California regional, he placed third in the 100 and 200 meters and his 4×100 team finished second in 2019. Turner won the 200 meters at the 2019 South Coast Conference championships.