RUTHERFORD, N.J. – High-school seniors Sierra Epps (Somerset, N.J./Franklin), Kayla Hightower (Camden, N.J./Camden Academy) and Jules Kulesha (Ringwood, N.J./Lakeland Regional) have signed national letters of intent to continue their women's track & field careers at Felician University, Felician head coach Rob DeCarlo Jr. announced today. The trio committed to Felician during the NCAA's recently-concluded early-signing period.
Felician, which is varsity only for the outdoor season, will compete in its third intercollegiate campaign in 2017, including its second guided by DeCarlo.
"The signing of these three young women early not only demonstrates their commitment to helping Felician improve, but also demonstrates our commitment to developing this program," DeCarlo said. "We are looking forward to seeing how these young ladies and our current student-athletes work together to help this program rise through the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference and NCAA Division II ranks."
The 5-foot-2 Epps competes in the long jump and triple jump for Franklin High School of Somerset. She is also a member of the Eye Catchers All Girls Track Club. She finished fourth in the long jump in the 2016 outdoor Skyland Conference Championships with a personal-record 16 feet, two inches. Epps intends to major in nursing at Felician.
"Since our first conversation, it became clear that we wanted to bring Sierra into our program," DeCarlo said. "Her athletic ability, maturity and academic success will make her a key part of the program we are building. Her resume will only become more impressive as she continues through her senior year."
Hightower attends Camden Academy Charter High School and is a middle-distance runner for Camden High. She finished sixth in the 1,600 meters at the 2016 outdoor Camden County Championships with a time of six minutes, 18.08 seconds. She also competes at the AAU level for the Camden Police Athletic League. Hightower is undecided on a major course of study.
"The opportunity to sign Kayla was one we couldn't pass up," DeCarlo said. "A young lady with great talent and tremendous potential, she has been a solid youth and high-school athlete. Her lifetime bests will help us rewrite our record books."
Kulesha, 5-foot-4, is a third-year captain for Lakeland Regional High of Wanaque, participating in hurdles and jumps. She finished sixth in the indoor 55-meter hurdles and fifth in the 100-meter outdoor hurdles at the 2016 Big North Conference Championships. She expects to enroll in Felician's pre-physical therapy program.
"Jules fits what we are looking for in an athlete and a student," DeCarlo said. "Her lifetime bests already place her as a potential scorer for us as she continues to fine-tune her skills."
The Golden Falcons are coming off a six-meet 2016 outdoor season, including a ninth-place finish in the CACC Championships.