TRACK PROGRAM INKS JUNIOR OLYMPIC CHAMPION LONG JUMPER
July 23, 2008
ARLINGTON - - Folks who have followed UT Arlington athletics throughout the years will recognize the name Vernon George.
George was a three-time national qualifier for the Mavericks track and field program in 1984, going to the outdoor NCAA meet in the long jump and to the indoor NCAA meet in the long jump and 60-meter hurdles. George still has UT Arlington's fourth-best indoor long jump in school history of 25 feet, 1 inch.
That mark might be in danger of being surpassed at UT Arlington - this time by Vernon George Jr.
The younger George has signed a national letter-of-intent to compete for the Mavericks this winter in the 2009 Indoor season and this spring in the 2009 Outdoor season, Mavericks track and field coach John Sauerhage announced. George will be an incoming freshman this fall and have four years of eligibility.
But first, George will try to successfully defend his long jump championship this week at the 2008 Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games in Detroit, Mich.
"I'm excited about getting to UTA and seeing how much I can improve and become a better athlete," said George, who is originally from Tyler, Texas, but currently lives north of Chicago, Ill. "It's like coming home, and I can't wait. I'm ready to start classes and do whatever the coaches ask me to do."
George, who competes for Zion-Benton High School, has a career-best in the long jump of 24 feet, 9 inches. By comparison, that mark would have won that event at the 2008 Southland Conference Track and Field Championships. George also competes in three different relays and hurdles events for Zion-Benton.
"He comes from a great bloodline and has already performed at a very high level despite still being so young," Sauerhage said. "He's a true blue-chip recruit, and we've had very few of those over the past few years. It's a big signing for us. He can come in and score right away for us in the long jump, but he can also do some other things as well. He's a special athlete, and we're looking forward to getting him here and helping him get even better."
George has placed twice in the Class 2A Illinois state meet, fifth in 2006 and sixth in 2007. George says he plans to take advantage of UT Arlington's strong engineering program when he declares a major this fall.
"I will be able to get a great education and come back to Texas," George said.
UT Arlington coaches say George is the cornerstone of this year's recruiting class, but there are several other men and women who should make a difference in the 2008-09 school year. UTA's men finished third in the outdoor conference meet, while the women's finished sixth. The Mavericks men won the 2007 outdoor title.