May 2, 2001

The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field and cross country teams have announced eight additions to the team for the 2001-02 school year. John Boots (Mississauga, Ont.), Tanya Cheatham (San Marcos, Texas), Tiffany Gunn (Little Rock, Ark.), Tricia Floyd (Las Vegas, Nev.), Lauren King (Toronto, Ont.), Eric Morrison (Ancaster, Ont.), Selim Nurudeen (Friendswood, Texas) and Latasha Steele (Poteau, Okla.) have all signed letters-of-intent to enroll at the University of Notre Dame next fall.

“It is a very good class,” head track and field coach Joe Piane says.

“All eight will be able to come in next year and contribute right away. We are very excited about this group.”

John Boots is one of three Ontario, Canada, natives in the class of 2005.

“John is one of the best quarter-milers in Ontario,” assistant track and field coach John Millar says.

“He will help us in the 500 meters during the indoor season and could eventually develop into a great 800-meter specialist.”

Boots finished second in the 400 meters at the Ontario provincial meet last season and boasts a top time of 48.84 in the event.

Tanya Cheatham will be one of four sprinters to join the Irish roster next season. With top times of 11.88 in the 100 meters and 24.59 in the 200, she will help the team out in the short sprints next season.

“Tanya is a true sprinter that will contribute in both the 100 and 200 meters next season,” Millar says.

“She is a Texas meet qualifier, which speaks to her ability since only the top eight in the state are invited to the meet.”

Tiffany Gunn hails from Little Rock, Ark., and will join both the hurdles and sprint contingent on the Irish roster. She has run 14.55 in the 100-meter hurdles and 60.38 in the 400-meter hurdles.

“Tiffany was the Arkansas state champion in the 300-meter hurdles and also was one of the top 400-meter hurdlers in the state,” Millar says.

“She will fill a void for us and possesses a great deal of potential.”

Tricia Floyd comes to Notre Dame from Las Vegas, Nev., and will be another talented addition to the short-sprints group. She has posted a time of 11.95 in the 100 meters in her career.

“Tricia will have the ability to really develop and help us in all the short sprints,” Millar says.

“As with a lot of high school track and field athletes, they do not have the opportunity to train year-round. All of the incoming athletes will make great strides over the next year when they are able to focus on training for track and field the entire year.”

Lauren King will join head women’s cross country coach Tim Connelly’s roster next season as well as the track and field middle-distance group. King has competed in cross country just one season, but was able to qualify for the Canadian Junior National Team last season and finished 25th at the World Cross Country Championships as the first North American across the finish line.

“Lauren is really talented and can come in here and make an immediate impact,” Connelly says.

“She has a lot of range and we are looking forward to having her at Notre Dame.”

King has posted times of 2:11 in the 800 meters and 4:26 in the 1,500 meters in her high school career.

Eric Morrison also will step onto the cross country team and help out a men’s squad that finished ninth at last year’s NCAA Championship. He was a finalist in the 800 meters at the 2000 Canadian Olympic Trials last summer and has times of 1:51.00 in the 800 meters and 3:50.98 in the 1,500 meters.

“Eric is a perfect fit for us both athletically and academically,” Piane says.

“He will provide a great contribution to our track and field and cross country program.”

Selim Nurudeen is the second male athlete to join Millar’s sprints and hurdles group.

“Selim is one of the top hurdlers and sprinters in the state of Texas,” Millar says.

“He is very versatile, possessing the ability to run the 110-meter hurdles, the 400-meter hurdles and all the sprints as well as triple jump and long jump. He is just a great all-around athlete.”

Nurudeen boasts times of 14.04 in the 110-meter hurdles, 48.25 in the 400 meters and 21.83 in the 200 meters.

Latasha Steele rounds out the four additions to the women’s sprints and hurdles squad and has run 11.9 in the 100 meters and 25.17 in the 200 meters.

“Latasha will be a great quarter-miler in the future,” Millar says.

“She will help us in the relays and adds depth to the entire sprint group.”

The Notre Dame coaching staff is looking forward to all eight athletes arriving on campus in the fall.

“We have added some outstanding athletes who are going to fill some holes in our roster,” Millar says.

“They have a lot of potential to develop and do some great things in the future.”