(FREDERICTON, NB) Two of the most heralded young middle-distance runners in Atlantic Canada will be pulling on UNB Reds singlets in the 2019-20 Atlantic University Sport cross country and track and field seasons.
Fredericton’s Mitchell Kean and Jeremy Neuffer, of Stratford, PE, lead an impressive Reds recruiting class of 2019.
Other members of the class include long and triple jumpers Andrew Boudreau, of Belledune, NB, and Robert Williamson, of Windsor, NS, middle-distance runners Luke Phillips, of Carman, MB, and Benjamin Perrett, of Neepawa, MB, and Jillian Beck, of Public Landing, NB, who specializes in javelin and shot put.
All have signed U SPORTS Letters of Intent and will join the Reds, beginning in the 2019-20 season.
“I’m very excited about our incoming recruiting class,” said Chris Belof, head coach of the Reds cross country and track and field teams. “The group we have joining us for 2019-20 is an incredibly talented one. They add a lot to our program and all will be expected contribute at the conference and national level early in their careers.”
Kean recently completed an impressive Grade 12 year at Fredericton’s Leo Hayes High School, where he was named male athlete of the year.
Kean won the 400, 800, and 1500 metre events at the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association’s 2019 track and field championships. He took 2ndplace at the NBIAA’s 2018 senior boys cross country championship.
Kean has also been a member of the Fast Tracks and Legion teams.
“It’s a program that is starting to take off, and that’s what I want to be part of,” said Kean.
“Mitchell will be a big addition to our middle-distance group,” said Belof. “He’s better than advertised, with a big ceiling and special talent.”
Kean will study Business Administration.
Neuffer, running out of Charlottetown Rural High School, won the 800, 1500, and 3000 metre events at the 2019 Prince Edward Island School Athletic Association’s track and field championships.
In winning the 1500-metres, Neuffer established a new meet record, and narrowly missed records in the 800 and 3000.
Neuffer also competes with the Charlottetown Bluephins and PEI’s Legion team, and was a member of PEI’s Canada Games Triathlon team.
He’s the current provincial record holder in the senior men’s 1500 metres.
“What appealed to me is the quality of coaching and resources that they have for athletes,” said Neuffer. “I’m hoping to run to my potential in the next couple of years and place as high as I can in the AUS and U SPORTS.”
Neuffer will pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree while attending UNB.
Boudreau won NBIAA titles in the senior boys long and triple jumps in 2019 after earning junior titles in the same events in 2017.
He’s currently Athletics New Brunswick’s top ranked men’s triple and long jumper, having claimed indoor and outdoor championships in both disciplines in 2018.
A standout member of the Bathurst High School track and field team, Boudreau competes with Chaleur Athletics and New Brunswick’s Legion team.
“I believe I have a lot to offer the jump program,” said Boudreau. “Seeing the success of other teammates will motivate me in my rookie year, and I hope to do the same for other teammates in coming years.”
Boudreau will study Kinesiology.
Williamson brings an impressive resume to the Reds.
He earned a silver medal in the senior boys triple jump at the 2019 Nova Scotia high school track and field championships. In 2018, he won gold in the intermediate boys triple jump and silver in the intermediate boys long jump.
Williamson also helped Avon View High School teams to a silver medal in the 2019 Nova Scotia high school senior boys cross country championship, and a bronze medal in the intermediate boys 4-by-400 metre relay at the 2017 provincial track and field championships.
He’s been a member of the Valley Athletics team and both Nova Scotia’s and Nunavut’s Legion teams.
“I’d like to place top three in both long jump and triple jump at the AUS Championships in my first year,” said Williamson. “Long term, I’d like to break the 14-metre barrier in the triple jump and the 6.75 metre mark in long jump.”
Williamson will study science at UNB.
Like Kean and Neuffer, Perrett is seen as a welcome addition to the Reds middle-distance program.
Well recruited, Perrett chose UNB over a number of western Canadian schools.
A two-time junior varsity and two-time varsity regional cross country champion, Perrett finished 3rdin the Manitoba high school cross country championships in 2016.
As a track and field athlete, Perrett is a seven-time provincial championship medallist, and helped Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute claim the provincial championship banner in 2018.
Perrett has been a member of the Prairie Storm Athletics team and Manitoba’s Tri-Provincial Challenge team.
“Being a captain of my high school soccer, volleyball and track teams, I hope to bring leadership to the Reds team,” said Perrett. “I hope to grow as an athlete and help teammates become better athletes as well.”
Perrett will pursue a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree at UNB.
Phillips has been part of a Carman Collegiate team that has won four consecutive Manitoba high school ‘AA’ championships.
He finished 3rdin the 3000 metres at the 2019 Boeing Indoor track and field championships, in Winnipeg, and ran to a 3rdplace finish in 2018 Queen City half marathon, in Regina.
Phillips is also a member of the Last Miles Athletics Club and Manitoba’s Tri-Provincial Challenge team.
“I’m hard working and always strive to do my best with a positive attitude,” said Phillips.
Phillips will study engineering at UNB
Beck joins the Reds after winning both the senior girls shot put and javelin at the 2019 NBIAA track and field championships.
In winning her third straight NBIAA javelin title, she beat the 2ndplace finisher by almost seven metres.
A multi-sport athlete, Beck was recently named senior female athlete of the year at Saint John’s Harbour View High School for the second consecutive year. She’s competed in track and field, basketball, field hockey, volleyball and softball throughout her high school career.
She’s Athletics New Brunswick’s current bantam javelin record holder, and was named the Saint John Track Club’s female athlete of the year in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
“I’ve felt pride in training weekly with the Reds during my high school graduating year,” said Beck. “I’ve already begun to form bonds with some of my future teammates and already have a real sense of belonging.”
Beck will pursue a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree while attending UNBSJ.