Track & Field Expands Reach; Signs Two From N.Y. & Oregon Thrower
Feb. 22, 2013
Note: Scroll to bottom for video of Kristiane Width running the HS Girls' Millrose Mile on Feb. 16.
CORVALLIS, Ore. - With a new home to call its own, Oregon State track & field has expanded its recruiting reach, as Head Coach Kelly Sullivan officially announced the signing of a pair of distance standouts from New York and a thrower from Oregon, OSU's first such recruit since the program was reinstated, on Friday morning. Holly Cavalluzzo (Valley Central HS; New York), Kristiane Width (United Nations International HS; New York) and Melissa Ausman (Nyssa HS; Oregon) will join the Beavers on campus this fall.
"These are three significant Division I recruits at any level and in any conference," Sullivan said. "All of their marks as juniors are very good and you'd be thrilled to have a senior already do what they've done."
Cavalluzzo, from Valley Central High School on Long Island, has personal bests of 4:31 in the 1,500 and 9:54 in the 3,000. At the 2012 New York State Championships, she placed fourth in the 1,500m (4:31.71) and fifth in the 3,000m (10:01.32) and her time of 9:54.12 in the 3,000m at the 2011 New York State Championships was good for sixth. She also qualified for the 2011 Nike Cross Nationals in cross country as an individual, finishing 47th at the national meet.
"I absolutely loved the atmosphere," Cavalluzzo said of her decision to attend Oregon State. "The team and the coaches were so welcoming on my visit to Corvallis. I wanted to go to a university where I know I can succeed and achieve my goals. I cannot wait to be there in August and finally be a Beaver."
Her 1,500 and 3,000 PR's would already rank in the top 10 all-time at Oregon State.
Width, who was born in Norway, has lived in Finland and Sweden and moved to New York City three-and-a-half years ago, sports personal records of 4:54 in the mile (indoors) and 9:57 in the 3000m. Her 3,000-meter time of 9:57.77 was good enough for second place at the New York State Championships in 2012.
She won the girls' mile at the New Balance Games on Jan. 26, running that in 4:58.40, to earn a spot at the prestigious Millrose Games. On Feb. 16, Width placed second in the high school girls' mile at the 106th Millrose Games at the Armory in New York with a personal-best time of 4:54.59.
"Even before receiving a recruitment letters, I knew that as a distance runner that if I was to run in college, Oregon is where I needed to be," Width said. "When I got the letter from Oregon State I just knew I had visit. Holly [Cavalluzzo] contacted me and told me all the good things about OSU from her visit. She praised the school so much that I wasn't sure if she was just trying to be nice, but when I saw it for myself, I loved it. The coaches, students and academic programs were extremely impressive. Oregon State surprised me so pleasantly that it was irresistible."
Width's indoor mile time would be third in OSU annals, behind Laura Carlyle's 4:37.57 in 2012 and Casey Masterson's 4:51.87 in 2009. Her PR in the 3,000 would currently register ninth on the Beavers' all-time list, just after Susan Arfmann and Brenda Cardin's 9:55's from 1979.
"Kristiane and Holly have been pursued by a number of schools across the country, especially in the Northeast," Sullivan said. "[Their commitment] says a ton about the young women we have had in the program, those who spent four or five years here and chose to come here when we didn't have a facility. Without them, we would not be where we are today."
From Nyssa High School in Eastern Oregon, Ausman is OSU's first official throwing recruit since the re-establishment of the program. Earlier this month, former softball letterwinner and current fifth-year senior Mary Claire Brenner became the first Beaver to compete in any throws since 1988 when she participated in the shot put at the Husky Classic in Seattle.
Ausman was the 3A Oregon State champion in the discus as a junior and finished third in the shot put and owns personal bests of 148' 6" in the former and 40' ½" in the latter. Her discus mark would already rank fifth all-time at OSU right behind Michele Cleland's 151' 1" from a dual with the University of Washington on April 18, 1981.
"I have always loved Oregon State, and my family has always been Beaver fans," Ausman said. "So when it came time to consider my college options OSU was my top choice. At that time, Oregon State didn't have a throws team, but a couple months later announced that they were going to introduce women's throws to their track & field program. I was so ecstatic to hear the news, came over for a visit soon after and I was set after that. Now I'll be attending my dream school, throwing for their track team and am very thankful and excited to start in the fall."
The trio represents the Beavers' early signees, as the staff remains diligent in their work to attract top talent to Oregon State's growing program.
The advent of the newly opened Whyte Track and Field Center played a big role in helping Oregon State sign this class' first outstanding group, as the Beavers' coaches were able to use the facility as one of the many selling points for Cavalluzo, Width and Ausman.
"It's what we have wanted to do since we got started here," Sullivan said. "For example, to be fair to the student-athletes, we could never have signed a thrower like Melissa without a facility. In the past we had to be honest and tell some who were very interested in OSU that we weren't set up to help them get to the level they wanted to reach. There were too many other options out there for them to take. But now we are out of that game.
We've known we have had all the other parts. People like this region of the United States, Corvallis is a great town, Oregon State is a great university and there are great people here, but the missing piece was a deal breaker. We don't have to worry about that anymore."
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