Commodores welcome highly talented six-member Signing Class

Nov. 19, 2015

The Vanderbilt cross country and track and field teams have made enormous strides in the past few years — and the two programs took another big step toward future success on Thursday when they announced the 2016 Signing Class.

The six-member group is versatile and deep, and the Commodores coaching staff expects the newcomers to be a great fit at Vanderbilt.

“Our coaches did an excellent job identifying talented student-athletes who are excited about the academic opportunities that Vanderbilt can provide as well as the athletic challenges that a conference like the SEC will offer,” said Steve Keith, the head coach and director of both programs. “I’m very excited to welcome this group to Vanderbilt and our program.”

The class is comprised of Kacie Breeding (Chadds Ford, Penn., Unionville High, Events: Distance/XC), Lauren Moffett (Fresno, Calif., Clovis North High, Distance/XC), Becca Schulte (Fort Collins Colo., Fort Collins High, Events: 400/200), Mailin Struck (Johannes-Brahms School, Pinneberg, Germany, Events: Distance/XC), Caleigh Lofstead (Camas, Wa., Camas High, Events: Pole Vault), Margaret Ollinger (Fairhope, Ala., McGill Toolen, Events: Pole Vault).

The six athletes are expected to make immediate contributions next season for a Vanderbilt cross country team that has advanced to the NCAA Championships in each of the past five seasons and/or a track program that has made an impact on the national level in recent years.

“Recruiting is the life blood of any program and I feel that we have made some real steps forward with these six that have signed during the early period in November,” said Keith.

Vanderbilt finished 15th in the USTFCCCA’s Program of the Year standings last year after qualifying for the NCAA Championships in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. Keith believes that this year’s signees — in addition to the potential signees in the spring — will help ensure similar success for Vanderbilt in the years to come.

“While we’re not done (with all the signings) yet, I feel that this class will have an immediate impact in the areas that we have shown recent success: jumps, long sprints and distance/cross country,” Keith said.

Here’s a closer look at the 2016 Signing Class:



Quoting Kacie:
“I chose Vanderbilt because it felt like such a positive environment. When I was on campus I sensed how happy everyone was to be a student there. The happy ambience combined with a stellar engineering program and a talented team and coaches really sold me.”

Quoting XC associate head coach Rhonda Riley: “Kacie comes from a very strong cross country high school program and will be able to transition well into college and being a part of a national level team. Kacie is a true athlete competing in 3 different sports and will grow as a runner in her time at Vanderbilt.”


Quoting Lofstead: “Vanderbilt is a gorgeous campus with amazing academics. I know the school has amazing opportunities for me. Coach Humphreys is someone who genuinely cares about me as a person, not just as an athlete. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of all that Vanderbilt has to offer. Anchor Down!”

Quoting track and field associate head coach Clark Humphreys: “Bringing Caleigh in from the other side of the country to Vanderbilt speaks to the reach of our program. She’s a big piece of our vault group and will have immediate impact as she gets on campus. I’m really looking forward to working with Caleigh.”


Quoting Lauren: “I committed here because I fell in love with the team and the coaches. That was the most important characteristic I was looking for, in addition to the program’s success too!”

Quoting XC associate head coach Rhonda Riley: “Lauren is such a competitor and will not let anything get in her way of achieving her goals. Lauren will be able to jump into college and make an immediate impact not only on the cross country course but on the track as well.”


Quoting Margaret: “Vanderbilt has everything I’ve ever wanted in a college — a great location, excellent academics and a track team and coach that I believe can help me reach my potential. When making a pros and cons list for Vanderbilt, I couldn’t come up with any cons.”

Quoting track and field associate head coach Clark Humphreys:
“Very excited to see Margaret bring her national caliber talent into the SEC. Her experience at those major meets will serve her well. She’s a great athlete with a high upside. I’m excited to work with Margaret next year.”


Quoting Becca: “I chose Vanderbilt because I really like the team dynamics, the athlete/coach connection, and the opportunity to excel both academically and athletically.”

Quoting track and field assistant coach Donnie Young: “Becca Schulte of Ft. Collins, Colorado is one of the best sprinters in the country. Her personal best time in the 400 meters of 53.64 ranks her 5th in the U.S., for the class of 2016. She was the class 5A State Champion in Colorado and competed in the Great Southwest Classic, and was also invited to the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle, Washington this summer where she competed against some of the other top runners in the country. She’s everything you want in a sprinter and she will compete for us right away. I’m very excited to see what the future holds for her.”


Quoting Mailin: “Vanderbilt seems to be the perfect environment for me because I was looking for a place where people get into academics and running the same way I do. I think it is the right place to improve myself with the help of wonderful teammates and great coaches who are not only interested in your career but also in you as a healthy athlete and as a person.”

Quoting XC associate head coach Rhonda Riley: “Mailin brings national level experience and a strong running back ground to our program. She is a very accomplished runner and will be an amazing addition to this young squad. Mailin will be a great teammate and add to this dynamic group of athletes.”