Dec. 18, 2015
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's track and field head coach Jerry Clayton announced the signing of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the early signing period on Friday (Dec. 18). Middle-distance athlete Anthony Berry, sprinter/hurdler Josiah Davis, high jumper Alex Klemm and thrower Manning Plater will compete for the Maize and Blue starting in the 2017 season.
Each of these athletes has a season remaining on the track in his high school eligibility. Three are Michigan natives, and Clayton continues to bolster the U-M roster with talented athletes in as many event areas as possible. He stressed the strong fit for each of these four future Wolverines, both as athletes and in the classroom.
"The biggest thing about this group is that each individual is a real good fit, I felt, for us both academically and athletically," said Clayton.
"We are covering some of the areas that we need to get better in. We are bringing in some assistance in the distance events to continue to keep that area of the program really strong. Losing a few throwers to graduation, we bring in Manning (Plater) in an interest to keep that area as another strength for us as a team."
Coming off the program's best conference finish since 2009, U-M is positioning itself with an eye on climbing even further up the conference standings, and the well-rounded but potent roster that Clayton and assistant coaches Kevin Sullivan and Steven Rajewsky strive for is reflected in this year's group of signees.
"We are also putting ourselves in a good situation by adding a high jumper in Alex Klem and hurdler in Josiah Davis," Clayton said, "Overall, we put ourselves in a position where we are going to cover a lot more events than we have the last two years, and hopefully the team will get excited about that."
Anthony Berry -- Traverse City, Mich. -- Travis City Central -- Mid-Distance
In cross country, Berry is a one-man record book at TCCHS. His time of 15:11 stands as an all-time record, and he was the program's first-ever three-time all-state honoree. Berry's time of 15:20 this fall set the school record at the state meet and earned him fifth place in his final race as a Trojan, his second top-five finish.
He owns the program's regional record (15:32) as well, and capped his senior season with a regional title and his fourth consecutive conference crown. His eight all-region and all-conference accolades are made even more impressive by the fact that he was the fastest athlete in his class all four years at the state meet, setting state (15:47) and regional (16:03) freshman records. He took his performance to the national stage at the 2012 Foot Locker Nationals Meet, where he was the fastest freshman (16:28).
On the track, Berry owns an individual school record at 1,600-meters (4:09.03; 2015; No. 5 in State of Michigan), where he was ranked the No. 6 junior in the nation last spring after earning 19 first-place finishes on the track in total during the 2015 season.
He helped the Trojans to a team state championship in 2013, and is also part of three record-setting relay teams at TCCHS: 3,200-meters (7:46.71; 2014), 4x1 mile (17:45.01; 2014) and distance medley relay (DMR), where he anchored the group that went 10:41.3 in 2014.
That DMR success was elevated to the national level when he competed in New York City in the DMR National Race, finishing ninth. Berry is a three-time all-state finisher at 1,600-meters, including a runner-up finish in 2014, and his rookie finish in 2013 is an MHSAA freshman record (4:19.44; 7th place). He also earned an all-state finish in 2015 at 800-meters.
He has five conference titles: one at 800-meters (2014) and two at 1,600-meters (2014-15) and 3,200-meters (2014-15) with two all-conference honors as a freshman before that. He is a two-time Golden Mile winner (2014-15) and was rewarded with accolades from the local media, earning 2014 and 2015 Record Eagle Male Athlete of the Year honors.
The first of three natives of the state of Michigan, Berry's father, Michael, played football at Michigan State University from 1977-79.
4x400-meter relay (split): 50.80
4x800-meter relay (split): 1:55.20
Josiah Davis -- Saline, Mich. -- Saline -- Sprints/Hurdles
Specializing in the long hurdles, Davis brings a championship pedigree to Ann Arbor. He owns the school record at nearby Saline High School in the 300-meter hurdles (38.54; tie-No. 4 in State of Michigan), as well as the MITCA team state meet record. This past spring, he ran the 400-meter leg of the national champion distance medley relay team at Outdoor New Balance Nationals, and also competed in the 400-meter hurdles at that meet, recording the top time of any athlete representing the state of Michigan.
Davis will serve as Saline's team captain in 2016, and it's no surprise as he has been a contributing part of the program's wildly successful run in recent years. As a Hornet, Davis has already collected team championships at the conference (2013-15), regional (2013-15) and state (2015) levels, totaling 11 total team championships, including those won during the cross country season.
As a three-time state meet qualifier, Davis has collected all-state honors in the 300-meter hurdles (2015), with a pair of individual conference championships (2014-15) in the same event. Davis was named a member of the Michigan Dream Team last year for his work on the 4x400-meter relay, and he was also recognized as a two-time all-region and all-conference athlete at 110-meter hurdles (2014-15).
He also excels in the classroom. An AP Scholar and four-year honor roll member, Davis is also the student council president and will serve as officer of his graduating class in 2016. Off the track and outside the classroom, Davis is a member of the Saline High School band, where he is a section leader in the drumline.
Davis also ran cross country at Saline, competing as a member of the Hornets' conference, regional and state championship teams (2015). He also lettered in soccer (2012-14), helping to lead his team to a Division I state semifinal game and taking home the conference's sportsmanship honors.
Athletics run in the family for Davis; his sister Jaime played lacrosse for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and his brother John runs at the University of Findlay.
300-meter Hurdles: 38.54 FAT
110-meter hurdles: 15.32
300-meter hurdles: 38.54
Alex Klemm -- Shelby Township, Mich. -- Macomb Lutheran North -- High Jump
Klemm is a multi-talented athlete at Macomb Lutheran North, with a history of competition across several events. He competed as a pole vaulter and sprinter/hurdler in addition to contributing in the jumping events as a Mustang, but will compete as a high jumper for the Wolverines.
An Indoor New Balance All-American last winter, Klemm proved he could compete with anyone in the nation when he won the AAU National Outdoor Championship (15-16 Boys) in 2014, clearing 2.03 meters (6-8 ft.) for the title.
In his home state of Michigan, he is a two-time all-state honoree with two top-three finishes under his belt. Klemm finished in third place during the 2015 indoor season and runner-up in the outdoor season.
His personal-best height of 2.05 meters (6-9 ft.) stands as an all-time program best, and a Muskrat Relay meet record as well, in addition to ranking No. 2 in the state last spring.
Klemm also ran cross country for one season, while playing two years of soccer at Macomb Lutheran North.
High Jump: 2.05 meters (6-9 ft.)
Manning Plater -- Rushville, Ill. -- Rushville -- Throws
An extremely well-rounded athlete, Plater set records on the basketball court and football field at Rushville, in addition to those he set in the circle. He finished his hoops career as the school's all-time leading scorer with over 1,200 points, and is the all-time leading rebounder as well. As a senior, he ranked as the No. 10 tight end in the state of Illinois, and twice earned all-conference honors as a two-way player.
Already a two-time all-state discus thrower, Plater will look to pick qualify for the state meet for the fourth straight year and pick up his third all-state honor next spring. His all-state performances include a third-place finish in 2015, and he has also collected all-state honors in the shot put, featuring a fourth-place finish.
Plater's success at the conference level is also impressive. He's captured the conference crown on three occasions: twice in the discus (2014-15) and once in the shot put (2015).
His multi-sport approach followed in the footsteps of his father, Matt, who played football (1987-90) and also competed in track and field (1988-91) at Millikin University, where he earned All-America honors in the discus in 1991.
In the classroom, Plater is an Illinois State Scholar (2015) with four years on the honor roll at Rushville. A National Honor Society member, he was also a student council representative.
For his academic prowess, Plater has twice been invited to the Capital Area Stars meet for honor roll students, winning the shot put (2015) once and discus twice (2014-15).
Discus: 54.55 meters (179 ft.)
Shot Put: 15.95 meters (52-4 ft.)
The Wolverines are in the midst of a holiday break, but will return to action the first week classes resume, competing at Kent State's Doug Raymond Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 9.
Communications Contact: Chad Shepard