Eagles land two during early signing period

University of Southern Indiana Men’s and Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field Coach Mike Hillyard announced that incoming freshmen Titus Winders (Mansfield, Tennessee) and Haley Barker (Boonville, Indiana) signed national letters of intent during the early signing period to compete for the Screaming Eagles in 2018-19.

Winders, the younger brother of USI All-American Javan Winders, is currently a senior at Henry County High School in Paris, Tennessee, where he recently qualified for Foot Locker Nationals with his sixth-place finish at the South Regional in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A combined five-time All-State honoree in cross country and track, Winders will be one of 40 high school runners from across the nation to compete at Foot Locker Nationals, which are this Saturday in San Diego, California.

Qualifying for Foot Locker Nationals capped off a tremendous month for the 2017 All-Mid-State Runner of the Year as Winders won the Tennessee Division I Large School state championship. He brings a personal-best 5k time of 15:06 to USI.

“Titus has an incredible resume at the high school level,” Hillyard said. “The things that excite me about Titus, however, are the intangibles that separate athletes with a great history from those with a great future. He is grounded, humble, fearless, a hard worker and has a team-first mentality. His ceiling is pretty high.”

Barker is currently a senior at Boonville High School where she was a three-time state qualifier on the cross country course as well as a three-time state qualifier on the track.

In cross country, Barker recorded her best finish at the IHSAA state meet as a junior when she finished 58th. On the track, Barker helped BHS to a pair of top-20 finishes in the 4×800-meter relay at the IHSAA Championships and was 25th in the 1,600 meters as a sophomore in 2016.

“Haley hasn’t scratched the surface of her potential yet,” Hillyard explained. “Once she gets settled into a training environment where the norm is a completely different level, she will rise to meet that challenge. First and foremost, Haley loves to compete. I expect her to make an impact quickly here.”

USI opens the 2017-18 track & field season Friday when it competes at the UIndy Winter Break Meet in Indianapolis.