In addition to Shepard, CSU has signed Cristina Bassani, Emily Claire
Campbell, Ali Smith, Mackenzie Thornton, Erica Stock, Bailey Williamson, Felicia Gilson, Ariana Milone
and Paige Greely.
Stock hails from Phoenix, Ariz., and dominates the pool. With records in the 100 and 200 Breaststroke and the 200 and 400 Individual Medley that rival Colorado State’s school records by milliseconds, Stock promises to be a commanding Ram. Stock has been a three-time state champion and All-American. Stock has already competed in the 2008 Olympic trials in the 200 Breaststroke. She plans on studying sports medicine come fall at CSU.
“Erica is an Olympic trials qualifier and an Arizona state champion,” Woodard said. “She will provide an immediate punch to our lineup in the breast and IM events. She will be a cornerstone for what we are trying to accomplish here at CSU. She is determined and she has top-level competitive experience. We expect her to make an immediate impact in the Mountain West and on the national level.”
Williamson, from Reno Nev., has excelled in the 200 Backstroke and 100 Butterfly at the high-school level. She qualified for sectionals and was a multiple event finalist at the state level. Williamson plans to join CSU with a major in math education.
“Bailey has made some changes with her
training recently that are bringing positive results,” Woodard said.
“She immediately fit our program’s vision and will bring versatility and
depth to our team. Bailey is primed for a big year and we’re excited to
have her in the Ram family.”
Gilson joins the team from Round Rock, Texas. Voted her team’s Most Improved Athlete, she lead her school in the mid-distance freestyle and backstroke events. For her academic performance in the 2010-11 school year, Gilson was honored as a scholastic All-American. She plans on studying business at CSU.
“Felicia is long on potential and is just starting to make strides in her endurance work and underwater technique,” Woodard said. “We expect that she will be a major contributor in our mid-distance free and back events and will prove a valuable relay member. Her attitude and character in addition to her potential made her a must-have and a nice pickup for us.”
On boards, the Rams added two impressive athletes.
Milone, from The Woodlands, Texas, joins the diving program with a strong background in the 1- and 3-meter springboard events. At the 2011 spring and summer regionals, Milone placed second in her events. Milone had impressive dives, making the finals at the 2011 junior nationals and at the 2011 senior zone meet.
“Ariana is a strong springboard diver who will make an immediate impact on our team next season,” diving coach Kevin Witt said. “She has been competing nationally for her club team in Conroe, Texas, and has done very well at regional, zone, senior and national competitions over the past couple of years. She continues to train regularly with her club team and coach John Lynch in Texas, and is continually improving her strong list of dives and her consistency. We are very excited that Ariana has chosen to be a Ram in 2012!”
Greely comes to the Rams from Seattle, Wash. Greely has an impressive list of accomplishments in the 1- and 3-meter diving events as well as platform. With 442 points, she is a league and school record holder. This score was high enough to earn Greely All-America honors. Greely has already gained national recognition from the Amateur Athletic Union and has been a USA Zone qualifier in both 1- and 3-meter diving.
“Paige is a well-rounded diver that brings experience on both springboards as well as tower diving events,” Witt said. “She has been competing nationally for her club team in the Seattle area, and her coach Jim Southerland. Paige will make an immediate impact on our team next year, and just recently won her Washington Class 3A state title in 1-meter diving. We are excited to welcome Paige to our Ram family in 2012!”
will add to the team her considerable talents in the breaststroke events, as
well as sprint freestyle. Bassani swam for University of Denver Hilltoppers
(TOPS). TOPS is a USA Swimming Gold Medal team, ranked 14th in the country for
team performance, and 2011 Western Region Sectional Champions. In 2011 and 2012,
Bassani received USA Swimming academic all-American award in recognition for her
"Cristina is just coming into her own, but she comes with a great technical background and plenty of potential," Woodard said. "We're excited to have her on board, lending even more depth to our solid breaststroke corps."
Campbell has a short trip to make for college, coming from Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins. Campbell was a key piece in Fossil Ridge's first ever Colorado State High School Championship. Campbell will add her considerable talents to the team in the freestyle sprints and backstroke events. She was awarded Front Range League Swimming Athlete of the Year in 2012 and made all-American times in 200 Medley Relay and 400 Free Relay in the same year.
"Emily is coming off one of those story book years," Woodard said. "If she continues to make moves in her sprint free and backstroke events, she will be heavily relied on in the future."
Shepard comes to CSU fresh off being awarded Texas State Athlete of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year. Shepard joins Breann Fuller and Yana Garvey in the Backstroke events with times that rival the 2011-12 top times in the 100 and 200 Backstroke. At the 2012 state championships, Shepard broke the state record in the 100 Backstroke and hopes to continue breaking records as a Ram.
"Jessica rebounded from a tough junior year and progressed all season long in all her events," Woodard said. "The hope is that she is just scratching the surface at this point. If so, she will be a major player in the Mountain West."
Smith, hot off of five consecutive Southeastern Swimming Championships (3 Long Course, 2 Short Course) with Vestavia Hills High School from 2008 to 2010, brings power to CSU in the butterfly and distance freestyle events. A star on her high school team, Smith earned most valuable player and was team captain her junior and senior years. Smith was also a LSC Championship finalist past five years.
"Ali displayed all the attributes we were looking for during her recruitment. Great attitude, character and discipline," Woodard said. "If the fit is right, she will add some much needed toughness in our fly events."
Thornton comes from Marcus high school where she dominated the backstroke events. She was a Canadian Nationals Qualifier in the 100 and 200 Backstroke and a Texas 5A State Qualifier. Thornton has stayed busy in the pool and out and received recognition for her academic achievements with the Scholastic all-American award. CSU pulls in another athlete at the top of their high school team, with 2011 and 2012 MVP Thornton, a four-year letter winner.
"Mackenzie has the determination and the extensive training background to be able to carve out a niche for herself," Woodard said. "If her work pays off, she can be a key piece in our drive to climb the Mountain West rankings."