FORT MYERS, Fla. – On Tuesday, FGCU men’s cross country coach Cassandra Goodson announced the signing of a pair of local runners to National Letters of Intent (NLI), as Aaron Rojas (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) and Jean Deceus (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS) are set to join the Green and Blue as freshmen for the 2012-13 academic year.
"We wanted guys who are hungry for success and willing to work to attain it,” said Goodson. “We feel that these two young men both complete and strengthen our team.”
A member of the 2010 FHSAA 2A State Championship team at Estero High School, Rojas comes to campus as the 2011 Fort Myers News-Press Runner of the Year, holding a personal-best 5K time of 15:25.22. With a chance to make an immediate impact for the Green and Blue, the future Eagle placed 5th at the FACA Senior All-Star meet, and also took 10th at the 2011 FHSAA 3A Cross Country State Championships while helping his team to a third place finish. In one of his stronger individual finishes, Rojas took 6th overall at the 2010 FHSAA 2A Cross Country State Championships.
“We feel Aaron is a runner who will step up and help us immediately in the fall,” added Goodson. “Aaron comes from an outstanding high school program with a strong work ethic. We are very excited about Aaron's decision to join our program.”
Competing at Immokalee High School, Deceus helped his team reach the Class 2A State Meet in each of the past three seasons, where they finished in ninth place in 2009 and 2010, taking 27th individually during his junior campaign. Deceus is very familiar with the FGCU cross country program, having competed alongside current FGCU standout Argeo Cruz (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS) and trained under former Eagle and current head coach Hugo Gijon at Immokalee. Deceus owns a personal-best 5K time of 16:17.46.
“Jean brings a lot of things that we value to our program. He is an extremely hard worker and a talented athlete, but his leadership and integrity were the X-factors that drew us to him,” said Goodson. “I can imagine that our runners will benefit just having Jean standing next to them on the starting line.”
The two newcomers will join an FGCU squad which placed in the top 10 in every competition of the fall season, highlighted by a pair of second place finishes and a first place finish at the season-opening FGCU Invitational. The Eagles are set to welcome back nine runners from the 2011-12 squad.