Three Galena track stars ink letter of intents

RENO -- The pipeline from Galena to Division I track and field programs continued on Thursday afternoon when three Grizzlies inked letters of intent to four-year schools.

Barrett Young, the state champion in the 300-meter hurdles, signed with Montana State, and Geoff Casazza and Nate Meckley both signed with Washington State.

"These three athletes for the past few years have been the core group that got the program going in the right direction," said Galena track and field coach Ed Parise. "I think all three have the chance to succeed at the next level and I think Barrett has a very good chance to be in the NCAA (championships) in the next couple of years."

Galena has sent a total 10 track athletes to Division I schools in the past three years. Earlier this month at the state championships in Henderson, Young defended his state title in the 300 intermediate hurdles with a time of 39.5 seconds. While most people would be wary of Montana, Young is looking forward to living in Bozeman.

"I enjoy Montana, it's pretty country," said Young, who will compete in the 400-meter in hurdles in college. "I'm just pretty excited and it feels good to get the signing over with."

Casazza, a distance runner who will participate in both cross country and track at Washington State, was the first to commit to the Cougars. Meckley, who defended his high jump state title earlier this month, decided to join his Galena teammate in Pullman, Wash., after considering UC-Davis, California, Cornell and San Francisco State.

"I was really excited when I realized I was going to college," said Casazza, whose athletic scholarship amounts to getting his books paid for. "That's been my goal since my freshman year (to run in college). They're kind of a developing program. It just kind of worked out we went there together."

Casazza also considered Baylor and the University of Nebraska before signing with Washington State. Meckley, whose personal best jump of 6 feet, 8 inches, thinks he'll have a chance to top 7-0 in college.

"I was just looking for a chance to compete against the best and Washington State is in the Pac-10," Meckley said. "If I'm healthy, I know I can do 7-0. We'll just have to see."

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