@AU_TrackXC Picks Up Exciting Group of Early Signees for 2019-20

Head Coach Sean Graham

WASHINGTON – The American University track and field team is excited to announce 10 signees to the 2019-20 squad, head coach Sean Graham released Thursday.

The Eagles will add six women and four men to the AU family next season with Catie Anderson (Freehold, N.J. / Colts Neck HS), Emily Dirkes (Linwood, N.J. / Mainland Regional HS), Eva Gibson (Colts Neck, N.J. / Colts Neck HS), Nia Holden (Sicklerville, N.J. / Highland Regional HS), Ana Keene (Needham, Mass. / Needham HS), Sarah Maple (Dunstable, Mass. / Groton-Dunstable Regional HS), Jackson McCarthy (Cranbury, N.J. / Princeton HS), Nathan Reeves (Liverpool, N.Y. / Liverpool HS), Russell Sullivan (Pleasanton, Calif. / Foothill HS) and Tucker Zullo (Cranbury, N.J. / Princeton HS).

"We have taken a phenomenal first step in our relentless pursuit to build a high-performance middle distance and distance program at American. We are thrilled at the program that we are continuing to build with these high-quality signees and could not be more excited to add these cornerstones to the development of the #TraditionUnderConstruction mentality of these teams. I believe that we have signed the first members of the strongest class of men and women in AU history, and we are continuing to work hard to add more key student-athletes and raise that bar even higher."

Catie Anderson Freehold, N.J. Colts Neck HS
Emily Dirkes Linwood, N.J. Mainland Regional HS
Eva Gibson Colts Neck, N.J. Colts Neck HS
Nia Holden Sicklerville, N.J. Highland Regional HS
Ana Keene Needham, Mass. Needham HS
Sarah Maple Dunstable, Mass. Groton-Dunstable Regional HS
Jackson McCarthy Cranbury, N.J. Princeton HS
Nathan Reeves Liverpool, N.Y. Liverpool HS
Russell Sullivan Pleasanton, Calif. Foothill HS
Tucker Zullo Cranbury, N.J. Princeton HS



Graham on the men's signees…
"On the men's side, we have four incoming freshmen who will have an immediate impact on the success of this team. Russell Sullivan comes aboard as one of the top distance athletes in California, boasting a personal record of 9:15 in the 3200m as a junior and an impressive eighth-place finish at the California state cross country meet just days ago. Tucker Zullo and Jackson McCarthy are both joining us from the perennially impressive Princeton HS as New Balance All-Americans and continued to drop great performances throughout the junior track and senior cross country seasons. Nate Reeves had a breakout cross country season this fall, placing 15th at the New York state championship then followed that up with a 13th-place finish at the Nike Cross Country Regionals, just missing individual qualification into the national championship meet." 

Jackson McCarthy signing graphic

Cranbury, N.J. (Princeton HS)
Personal Bests: 1:56.10 (800m), 4:18.8 (Mile), 16:1 (5k XC)

  • 2018 New Balance Outdoor All-American in the 4xMile Relay
  • New Jersey Group 4 State Champion in the 4x800m Relay

Why he chose American: "I chose American University because of the opportunity it provides to challenge me both athletically and academically. From my first contact with Coach Graham I knew that AU was going to the place that brought me to the next level. I hope to advance myself in the world of political science as well as on the track, and this is the place to do that. I want to contribute to what's being built here and I am excited to look back in a few years and say that I was a part of this great and successful program." 

Nate Reeves signing graphic

Liverpool, N.Y. (Liverpool HS)
Personal Bests: 1:56.87 (800m), 2:40.7 (1000m), 4:25.34 (1600m), 9:40 (3200m), 16:25.00 (5k XC)

  • Helped lead his team to a 3rd-place at the 2018 Nike Cross Country New York Regional Championship with a Second Team All-Region finish (13th)
  • Two-time All-CNY in cross country (2017, 2018)
  • 2018 All-CNY for outdoor track
  • 2018 All-CNY for indoor track

Why he chose American: "I chose AU because of the opportunities it provides both academically and athletically." 

Russell Sullivan signing graphic

Pleasanton, Calif. (Foothill HS)
Personal Bests: 4:24.96 (1600m), 9:15.64 (3200m), 15:25.20 (5k XC)

  • 2018 CIF Cross Country State Championship (8th)
  • 2018 First Team All-EBAL (cross country)
  • 2018 First Team All-NCS (cross country)
  • 2017 Second Team All-EBAL (cross country)
  • 2018 3200m Champion at the Sacramento Meet of Champions

Why he chose American: "I chose AU because of its location in D.C. and the excellent academic opportunities it provides." 

Tucker Zullo signing graphic

Cranbury, N.J. (Princeton HS)
Personal Bests: 1:57.40 (800m), 4:22.37 (1600m), 9:38.23 (3200m), 16:12 (5k XC)

  • 2018 New Balance Outdoor All-American in the 4xMile Relay
  • 2018 Meet of Champions in the 4x800m (3rd)
  • 2018 All-County (cross country)
  • Helped lead the team to a 1st-place finish at the 2016 Meet of Champions (cross country)
  • Track team placed 1st at the County, Sectional and Group 4 State Championships

Why he chose American: "I chose AU for the opportunity to run for a competitive program with a strong academic reputation."


Graham on the women's signees…
"We have six great incoming freshmen across both the middle distance and distance events. Similar to the men's side, we have two great athletes from a mainstay powerhouse program with Catie Anderson and Eva Gibson from Colts Neck, N.J. Both know exactly what it takes to compete at the highest levels and are excited to continue that in college. Nia Holden, out of Highland Regional HS in New Jersey, has the potential to be very successful across a number of events with some great strength and speed already in her arsenal. Additionally, Emily Dirkes also out of New Jersey (Mainland Regional), joins us with the ability to be an immediate role player on both the cross country course and track from everything to the 800-meter run to the steeplechase. Ana Keene (Needham) and Sarah Maple (Groton) are both out of Massachusetts and have shown great progression and leadership in high school and will certainly continue to do so here." 

Catie Anderson signing graphic

Freehold, N.J. (Colts Neck HS)
Personal Bests:
5:15.71 (1600m), 11:38.25 (3200m), 19:28.0 (5k XC)

  • Helped lead her team to two state championship titles in track (2017, 2018)
  • 2018 third team all-state (cross country)
  • Eighth at the 2018 national championship meet (4xmile)
  • 2018 state champion (4x800m)
  • Third at 2017 indoor track state championship (3200m)

Why she chose American: "I chose AU for its energy, amazing opportunities, and diversity." 

Emily Dirkes signing graphic

Linwood, N.J. (Mainland Regional HS)
Personal Bests:
2:25 (800m), 5:20 (1600m), 11:20 (3200m), 7:52.50 (2k Steeplechase), 18:25 (5k XC)

  • Two-time NJSIAA State Championship qualifier in cross country (2015, 2016)
  • Led her team to the 2016 NJSIAA Sectional title in cross country, finishing fourth overall
  • Three-time First Team All-Cape Atlantic League (2015, 2016, 2017)
  • 2016 All-South Jersey in cross country
  • Two-time Mustang Award recipient for team leadership
  • Mainland Regional record holder in the 2k steeplechase (7:52.50)

Why she chose American: "I chose AU firstly because I fell in love with the area – the suburb crossed with the city vibe was really appealing to me. Secondly was the major. AU was the best choice for my major, education, and for pursuing my dream career. Lastly, the athletic program was of such high-caliber that picking American was an easy choice."

Eva Gibson signing graphic

Colts Neck, N.J. (Colts Neck HS)
Personal Bests:
2:22 (800m), 5:09 (1600m), 18:43 (5k XC)

  • Helped lead the team to three NJSIAA Group 3 state titles (cross country)
  • 2018 NJSIAA state champion in the 4x800m

Why she chose American: "I chose AU because of the incredible coaching staff, team members, and of course the location. D.C. is an incredible place to be, especially for college – all of the job and internship opportunities are amazing! I look forward to getting a great education and continuing my athletic success while at AU."

Nia Holden signing graphic

Sicklerville, N.J. (Highland Regional HS)
Personal Bests: 58.5 (400m), 2:14.96 (800m), 5:17.22 (1600m), 20:25.67 (5k XC)

  • Top-ten ranked 800m time in New Jersey (2018)
  • 2018 Sectional Champion (1600m)
  • Four-time First Team All-Conference in the 5k (2018), 800m (2018), 4x800m (2018) and 4x400m (2016)
  • Six-time Junior Olympic qualifier in the 400m (2017, 2018), 800m (2015, 2017, 2018) and 4x400m (2013)
  • Highland Regional HS record holder for the 800m

Why she chose American: "I chose AU because I knew it would be a college where I could excel academically and athletically. I loved the campus and location, and the coaches and team were very welcoming on my visit." 

Ana Keene signing graphic

Needham, Mass. (Needham HS)
Personal Bests:
5:15.20 (Mile), 11:32 (3200m), 18:50 (5k XC)

  • Three-time Bay State All-Star (2016, 2017, 2018)

Why she chose American: "I chose AU because of all the opportunities that are in D.C., and everything that the school has to offer for my academic and athletic success." 

Sarah Maple signing graphic

Dunstable, Mass. (Groton-Dunstable Regional HS)
Personal Bests: 5:19 (mile), 19:06 (5k XC)

  • 2018 league champion (mile)
  • Three-time All-District
  • 2018 All-State
  • Four-time Groton-Dunstable school record holder

Why she chose American: "The awesome coaches, location, internship opportunities, and AU's strong political science program."

For the latest on American University Track & Field, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_TrackXC.