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National High School Champion Hansen and Record Breaker Heiss Among Women Signing with Aggies -- December 28, 2004

COLLEGE STATION, TX, December 28. TEXAS A&M Head Women's Swimming Coach Steve Bultman announced the signing of five swimmers, including a pair of state MVP's, to letters-of-intent last month, per Aggie reports.

The Aggies signed Kristen Heiss of Casper, Wyoming (new short course meters 100 back national high school record setter), Codie Hansen of Arlington, Texas (2-time national high school leader in the 200 free), Marissa Jasek of San Antonio, Sally Ranzau of Alpharetta, Ga. and Julia Wilkinson of Stratford, Ontario, Canada during the early signing period.

“This is arguably our best fall recruiting class since I've been here,” Bultman said. “All five of these girls are great leaders, strong students, and excellent swimmers. We will graduate a very strong senior class this year and we are happy that this new class will be able to come in and make an immediate impact.”

Kristen Heiss is a senior at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper, Wyoming. She also swims for the Casper Swim Club coached by Dean Hawks. Heiss was named Swimmer of the Meet at the 2003 and 2004 Wyoming 4A state meets. She is a three-time all-conference, all-state and all-American. Last month, she set the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) high school record in the 100-meter (sc) backstroke. “Kristen is very excited about swimming and is a very improved swimmer,” Bultman said. “She just won the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke at the Wyoming state high school meet earlier this month, setting new state records in both events for the second year in a row. We first met Kristen when she visited last March during the NCAA Championships here at Texas A&M, and we have really been impressed with her progress since then. Her record of improvement is exciting and we look forward to working with her.”

Heiss is a member of the National Honor Society, on the Principal's Honor Roll and participates in the jazz choir at her school. She is also the Wyoming athlete representative for USA Swimming. She also has great genes for the sport, being the daughter of Bill Heiss, a member of three NCAA Championship teams at Indiana in the early 1970s and later a star on the world marathon swimming circuit of that era.

“I chose Texas A&M because of the great swim program, the school's support of student-athletes, the awesome school traditions, and because the team and coaches were so hospitable,” Heiss said.

Arlington Lamar senior Codie Hansen, one of the most sought-after recruits in the country, orally committed to the Aggies on July 1, the first day of official recruiting. Hansen has a laundry list of accomplishments already to her credit, including the 5A state MVP award, and is considered to be one of the greatest swimmers to ever come out of the state of Texas.

“Codie is a swimmer that we've known and watched for almost five years,” Bultman said. “We felt she was one of the top recruits in the country and were very happy to get an early commitment from her. She is an outstanding freestyler who has great range in the 50 through the 1650. She was a member and team captain of the USA National Junior Team in 2002-2003 and brings some international experience to the team as well as experience competing this last summer at the US Olympic Trials in the 100 and 200 meter freestyle. She is a member of Mook Rhodenbaugh's very strong Dallas Mustang club team, so we know she has a great training base. She has also trained with Brian Dangelmaier and Jon Ivonen at Lamar High School. Her mom, Lilli, is a former Aggie swimmer and we know Codie is looking forward to continuing her family tradition as an Aggie.”

Hansen is a two-time National High School Champion in the 200 freestyle, one of the Aggies' stronger events. Her personal best of 1:46.93 is nearly half a second faster than the current A&M school record. Her lifetime bests in the 100, 200 and 500 freestyles would rank either first or second in A&M history. Hansen is a two-time NISCA And TISCA Swimmer of the Year. She has won six Texas high school state championships and still has another one left to swim in the spring. She owns the Texas high school state record in the 100 and 200 freestyles and is a nine-time All-American. She finished among the top 30 at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in both the 100 and 200 freestyles.

Hansen's list of accolades includes three Ft. Worth Star-Telegram Swimmer of the Year awards, two Dallas Morning News Swimmer of the Year awards in addition to the 2002 Dallas Morning News Newcomer of the Year award. She was also a state finalist for the Wendy's High School Heisman Award for the state of Texas.

“I am very excited that I chose Texas A&M because I know that I will receive a great education and awesome coaching,” Hansen said. “I know that I will improve! The A&M women's team has great chemistry, unlike any I have experienced before. I want to be a part of the great traditions and great swimming, while continuing a family history at Texas A&M.”

Hansen is also an avid outdoor athlete, having competed in the Chicago Marathon, White Rock Half-Marathon and Lance Armstrong's Ride for the Roses (40 miles). She is scheduled to graduate in the top 10 percent of her high school class and is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society. Hansen will be the fourth member of her immediate family to attend Texas A&M.

Marissa Jasek is a senior at Churchill High School in San Antonio where she is coached by Al Marks. She swam 10 years for the San Antonio Wave club team coached by now retired Mark Elley and swam the last three months for Alamo Area Aquatics coached by Rick Whittlesey.

“Marissa is someone we first met in our swim camp about four years ago and we have watched her progress ever since,” Bultman said. “She is one of the top freestyle sprinters in Texas and we feel like her best swimming is ahead of her. She is a team captain for her high school, which shows that she has leadership skills that she will bring to our team. Marissa's father, as well as three of her uncles, all graduated from Texas A&
M, and we know she is as excited as her family is to continue the Texas A&M legacy.”

Jasek finished fourth at the Texas state meet in the 100 freestyle and is the first-ever six-event All-American at swimming power Churchill. She was named the Churchill female high school athlete of the year each of the past two years as well as the high school rookie of the year in 2002. She also holds the Churchill freshman record in the 100 free and was on the state champion 200 freestyle relay team each of the last two years.

“I chose A&M because I feel that I could definitely improve my times with the help of the excellent coaches and support staff,” Jasek said. “I believe I will have a memorable college experience at A&M and it will allow me to grow as a person.”

Jasek is the treasurer of her senior class and a member of the National Honor Society. She is also a 2003-04 Scholastic All-America selection.

Sally Ranzau is a senior at Northview High School in Alpharetta, Ga. She is a senior national qualifier in the 200 backstroke and two-time team captain and MVP swimmer at her high school. She has recorded high school All-American consideration times in both the 100 back and 500 free as well.

“Sally is a very good 200 backstroker with a great work ethic that will enable her to improve in her other events, including the 100 back, the IM, and freestyle,” Bultman said. “She swims for Alex Braunfeld at Dynamo Swim Club, one of the top club programs in the country. She has always had some maroon in her, as both of her parents graduated from A&M, and her dad, Rick, is a former Aggie swimmer. Sally has a fun personality and we are really looking forward to working with her throughout her collegiate career.”

Ranzau holds the Northview High School records in the 100 back, 200 and 500 free in addition to being on a pair of high school record relay squads. She led her team to a first-place finish at the Fulton County Championships in 2004. Her club experience is extensive, having won numerous awards and earned a number of senior and junior national qualifying times. She was a junior national qualifier in the 100 and 200 back, 400 IM and 800 freestyle. She was also a Scholastic All-American in 2003 and 2004.

“I chose A&M for the traditions, team and coaches, beautiful campus, and the academic excellence,” Ranzau said. “Also, my parents went there so I've been raised as an Aggie!”

Ranzau has been on the honor roll throughout high school, is a member of the Spanish Club and has done extensive volunteer work. She also volunteers for the Rivers Alive Trib Trot, a program that removes trash from streams and roadways in Alpharetta, helps tutor elementary school children in science and worked with child cancer patients at Camp Sunshine in Georgia.

Julia Wilkinson is a senior at Stratford Central High School in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. She finished eighth at the Canadian Olympic Trials in the 200 IM. She was also a member of the Canadian junior Pan Pacific team and was the three-time provincial high point winner in Ontario.

“Julia is one of the top young IMers in Canada right now,” Bultman said. “She is very versatile and she will help us in freestyle, backstroke, and possibly breaststroke, in addition to the IM. She is now training with Murray Drudge at North York Aquatic Club after working with Andrew Ethier the last three years. The coaches and the team really liked Julia as a person and a swimmer and we were impressed with her commitment and determination to reach her goals.”

Wilkinson was on the honor roll during her junior year and was given academic and all-around student awards by her high school. She was named the swimming MVP of her high school as a freshman as well.

“When I arrived on the campus, everyone was so welcoming, and I instantly felt like Texas A&M was a place where I belonged,” Wilkinson said. “The school spirit absolutely blew me away - I loved it! The campus, the team, the coaches - everything seemed to click. Plus, it will be nice to get out of the snow for a few years!”

Head Coach Steve Bultman is excited about what the future holds following the completion of the early signing period.

“Swimmers in our program have a great record of improvement, so it's exciting to bring in girls who are already so strong, as their improvement will allow us to continue to move up in the national rankings,” Bultman said. “Our goal at Texas A&M is Building Champions, and these girls can definitely contribute as champions in the pool, the classroom, and throughout the campus community.”


2004-05 WOMEN'S SWIMMING SIGNING CLASS (5)

Name Ht. Cl. Hometown
Codie Hansen 5-11 Fr. Arlington, Texas (Lamar)
Kristen Heiss 5-9 Fr. Casper, Wyo. (Walsh)
Marissa Jasek 5-8 Fr. San Antonio, Texas (Churchill)
Sally Ranzau 5-7 Fr. Alpharetta, Ga. (Northview)
Julia Wilkinson 6-0 Fr. Stratford, Ontario (Central)