MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho director of track and field/cross country Wayne Phipps announced his first three signees of the class of 2013 on Friday, when he added a hurdler and two distance runners from Canada.
Vandal track and field got commitments from Tim Delcourt (Surrey, British Columbia), Meghan Palesch (Surrey, British Columbia) and Emma Balazs (Prince George, British Columbia). The three will join the team in 2013-14 as freshmen.
“We’re very excited about signing these three,” Phipps said. “It’s a very important recruiting year for us, so it was important to find kids who can have an impact right away, and these three will do that. They’ve already performed well as juniors, and we expect that to continue for them this year and even more so once they get here and keep going down the road.”
Delcourt is a distance runner who attends Kwantlen Park Secondary. He was the 2012 B.C. provincial champion in cross country and led Kwantlen to a fourth-place team finish. At the 2011 Fraser Valley Track and Field Championships, Delcourt won the 1500m, 3000m and 1500m steeplechase to earn the Aggregate Award.
“He really came into his own as of last track season, and had an amazing cross country season earlier this year,” Phipps said. “It’s always good to have someone who is strong in cross country and can do well for you on the track in a wide range of events.”
Delcourt holds career-best times of 1:57.22 in the 800m, 3:55.96 in the 1500m, 8:42.54 in the 3000m and 15:21.82 in the 5000m. Phipps said his added experience on some difficult Canadian cross country courses is going to help speed his transition as a freshman.
“Running some very difficult XC courses that are very close to the NCAA collegiate distances really gives him a good advantage coming here over many other high school kids,” Phipps said.
On the women’s side, Idaho brought in a pair of Canadian junior national champions.
Palesch is an up-and-coming hurdler who won the 2012 Canada youth national title in the 100m hurdles with a time of 14.22. She was also the 2010 junior national champion in the 200m hurdles with a time of 25.77 that was, at the time, the national record. Already this season, her 60m hurdles time of 8.87 is the second-fastest junior time in Canada.
“Meghan has had an amazing high school career in both the sprint hurdles and the 300 hurdles,” Phipps said. “I see the transition being very easy for her because she’s already done hurdles at the normal height and she has done some work on the 400-meter hurdles.”
She finished the 2012 outdoor season ranked second among Canadian juniors in the 100m hurdles (14.04), 300m hurdles (42.73) and 400m hurdles (1:02.14). She was also a member of the B.C. provincial 4x100m and 4x400m relays that both claimed bronze at the 2012 Canadian youth national championship.
“We’re very excited to get Meghan to Idaho,” Phipps said. “She has a great work ethic and we expect her to be able to come in, contribute right away and continue the tradition of strong Canadian hurdlers at Idaho.”
Balazs won the 2012 Canadian youth national title in the 2000m steeplechase with a time of 6:57.65 and a bronze medalist at the same meet in the 1500m (4:38.30). She was also the 2010 Canada junior national runner-up in the 1500m steeplechase.
“Emma is one of the top steeplechasers in Canada,” Phipps said. “Knowing her hometown, I know the difficulties that they have training through the winter and in adverse conditions more often than not, so I’m really impressed by her performances.”
Balazs was the 2012 B.C. provincial champion in the 1500m steeplechase (5:08.00) and also took sixth in the 3000m (10:17.46) and eighth in the 1500m (4:43.68). She was one of 12 honorees of the Prince George Hall of Fame Youth Sports Excellence Award in 2012.
“With her background in cross country and her experience in multiple different distance events, we expect her to be able to come right in and be a contributor in her freshman season,” Phipps said.
Phipps himself hails originally from Prince George, and said that creates a comfort level with many Canadian recruits, but they also see the success many fellow Canadians, namely, Western Athletic Conference individual champions Barry Britt, Stephane Colle, Erica Digby, Ben Ayesu-Attah, Alycia Butterworth and James Clark
“We get a lot of great support from the coaches and clubs in Canada,” Phipps said. “We’ve had a lot of Canadians who have been successful at Idaho and have continued to be successful beyond. The coaches and the club teams see that and it makes it a lot easier to recruit here.”
With such a decorated group graduating in 2012 and a large senior group this season, Phipps said it’s very important for the team to sign strong athletes early on and to continue that momentum through the recruiting season.
“We’re looking for the best student-athlete we can find who is going to be a good fit in our program,” Phipps said. “I think the people we’ve signed really fit that mold and I look forward to signing some more who are going to have that same impact.”
Surrey, British Columbia
Kwantlen Park Secondary
High School: Delcourt was the 2012 British Columbia provincial champion in cross country and led Kwantlen Park to a fourth-place team finish … took the individual crown and led Kwantlen Park to team title at the 2012 Fraser Valley Cross Country Championships … he took fourth at the 2011 B.C. championship and sixth in 2010 … won the Aggregate Award at the 2011 Fraser Valley Track and Field Championships after winning the 1500m, 1500m steeplechase and 3000m … holds the Fraser Valley Senior Boys’ record in the 3000m with a time of 8:42.54 … in 2012, he was a B.C. provincial silver medalist in the 1500m and 3000m … took third in the boys 3000m at the 2012 Oregon Relays with a time of 8:44.30 … holds career bests of 1:57.22 in the 800m, 3:55.96 in the 1500m, 8:42.54 in the 3000m and 15:21.82 in the 5000m … has also run 8:57.48 in the indoor 3000m.
Surrey, British Columbia
High School: Palesch is a Canadian junior national champion and one of the top hurdlers in the country … set the Canadian youth record in the 200m hurdles at the 2010 Canadian Youth Track and Field Championships … won the 60m hurdles 2013 Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Indoor Games with a time of 8.87, which is the second-fastest junior time in Canada this season … finished the 2012 outdoor season ranked No. 2 nationally in Canada’s youth division in the 100m hurdles (14.04), 300m hurdles (42.73) and the 400m hurdles (1:02.14) … was the 2012 Canadian youth national champion in the 100m hurdles with a time of 14.22 … also helped lead the B.C. provincial 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams to bronze medals at the meet and finished fifth in the 300m hurdles (44.32) … with the Ocean Athletics club team, she earned Athlete of the Year for Grade 8, 9 and 11 … won the gold medal in the pentathlon at the 2012 B.C. Summer Games with a record total of 3,246 points … also brings career bests of 25.36 in the 200m and 57.72 in the 400m
Prince George, British Columbia
Kelly Road Secondary
High School: Balazs was a Canadian youth champion in the steeplechase … won the 2012 Canada youth title in the 2000m steeplechase with a time of 6:57.65 and added a bronze medal in the 1500m (4:38.30) … won the 2012 British Columbia provincial title in the 1500m steeplechase (5:08.00) and also finished sixth in the 3000m (10:17.46) and eighth in the 1500m (4:43.68) … one of 12 high school athletes from all sports honored with a 2012 Prince George Hall of Fame Youth Sports Excellence Award … at the 2011 B.C. Track and Field Championships, finished ninth in the 1500m (4:52.23), eighth in the 3000m (10:33.71) and fourth in the 1500m steeplechase (5:16.08) … was the 2010 Canada junior silver medalist in the 1500m steeplechase.