LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Bucknell head men's soccer coach Brendan Nash has developed a track record of compiling strong recruiting classes during his 13-year tenure, and he has another promising group coming on board in the fall of 2012. Following last season, the Bison graduated six seniors who contributed to two Patriot League titles, so the new class will have big shoes to fill. However Nash feels that he has a wide range of talent in this eight-person class, which covers every position from forward back to goalkeeper.
The following student-athletes will be joining the Class of 2016 next year: Patrick Figgie (Riverside, Conn./Brunswick School), Clarke Fox (Berwyn, Pa./Conestoga), Jesse Klug (Sammamish, Wash./Overlake school), Mark Kramarchuk (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Fordham Prep), Mike Lansing (Randolph, N.J./Randolph), Vaughn Moore (Atlanta, Ga./Marist School), Chris Thorsheim (Manalapan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) and Connor Willings (Orlando, Fla./Lake Highland).
"We are graduating a very accomplished six-person senior class, including two goalkeepers," said Nash. "That senior class won two Patriot League championships and advanced in the NCAA tournament during their careers. They understood that hard work on and off the field leads to success. This being the case, this year we felt we needed to add some impact recruits, as well as some additional depth in goal.
"We definitely took care of our concern in goal by adding three very good netminders. After that, we continued to look for what we always look for: quality student-athletes, who are leaders, from winning programs. Once again all of our incoming recruits were captains of their respective teams. In addition, some had incredible success in high school. Three led their teams to state championships and two of those even finished in the top 10 in the final high school national rankings. Coming off a disappointing season in 2011, we felt we needed to carefully recruit student-athletes that can help bring us back to our high standards. Based on their athletic and academic backgrounds, our staff feels confident these young men will represent the Orange & Blue very well in the classroom and on the soccer field."
Patrick Figgie Midfielder # Riverside, Conn. # Brunswick School # Beachside Club
Figgie was a three-year starter at The Brunswick School in Connecticut and co-captained the team as a senior. In 2011 he was an all-state selection and picked as team MVP. He was also an All-WNEPSSA pick as both a junior and senior. Figgie played club soccer for Beachside and was elected co-captain of that squad, which he helped win three state championships. Figgie played ODP soccer from 2009-11.
Nash on Figgie: "Patrick came through our summer camp system. We would call him a "worker bee." Anyone familiar with our program over the years knows just how important the worker bees have been for us. Patrick can play many different positions due to his work rate and soccer IQ. So we will wait and see where he fits in best."
Clarke Fox Goalkeeper # Berwyn, Pa. # Conestoga H.S. # Spirit United SC Strikers
In 2011 Fox captained a Conestoga High School team that went undefeated (24-0-1), captured the Pennsylvania state title, and was ranked No. 6 in the nation. Fox was named the Southeastern Pennsylvania Player of the Year after posting a 0.32 goals-against average -- the fourth-best mark in state history -- and 17 shutouts. He was the recipient of the CHS Pioneer Award for Leadership, Integrity, Hard Work, Sportsmanship, Teamwork and Athleticism. Fox is also a two-year member of the Spirit United SC Strikers, which is ranked No. 6 in the nation.
Nash on Fox: "Clarke is a big, athletic keeper with a strong leg who is just starting to come into his own. We watched him a few times during his high school's undefeated state championship run. The best thing about Clarke was that he made the big plays in the big games while leading his team as captain to finish No. 6 in the country."
Jesse Klug Forward # Sammamish, Wash. # Overlake School # Seattle Sounders Academy
Klug comes to Bucknell from the MLS Seattle Sounders' Academy team. He led that squad in scoring with 14 goals en route to a division title in 2011. He played in the MLS Generation Adidas Cup among other national showcases with the Sounders. Klug also played club soccer for Crossfire, where he was the leading scorer on a team that won state titles in 2008 and 2010 and reached the regional quarterfinals in 2010. In 2007, 2008 and 2009 he competed in the Maccabi Games and won a bronze medal in 2007. Klug played varsity soccer at Overlake School as a sophomore and junior, but was unable to play for his school team in 2011 due to his responsibilities with the Academy team. As a junior, he broke the school's single-season scoring record with 31 goals and 10 assists. The 31 goals ranked third in the state and first in his league.
Nash on Klug: "Jesse is a flat-out finisher. Playing with an MLS Academy team for a few years now, he trains in a professional environment on a daily basis. During this time he has become a proven goal-scorer who does not waste many chances. He brings a different dimension to the attack than each of our current forwards. So it will add to our ability to play to each forward's strength against the different defenses we will face."
Mark Kramarchuk Back # Mount Vernon, N.Y. # Fordham Prep # NY Cosmos Academy
Kramarchuk has served as captain of both his high school team at Fordham Prep and his New York Cosmos Academy Team. At Fordham Prep, he was a High School All-America selection while leading his team to a state title. He was a NYC CHSAA "AA" first team all-league defender. He was also a second-team pick as a sophomore and junior. Kramarchuk was a three-time first team All-Bronx Varsity Soccer League selection. In 2010, he was picked for the Spring Showcase US Soccer Development Academy Select Team. In 2009, he was part of an ODP Region 1 championship team.
Nash on Kramarchuk: "Mark is a traditional center back, but could probably play anywhere along the back line. He has a big, solid frame, but is also a technical player. Mark's biggest asset is his defensive positioning off the ball, which is vital in our system. As a captain for his high school team he helped lead Fordham Prep to their first ever state championship."
Mike Lansing Goalkeeper # Randolph, N.J. # Randolph H.S. # PDA Academy
The 6'4" Lansing was a first team all-state and all-conference goalkeeper in 2011 while serving as team captain at Randolph High School. From 2010-12 he was a PDA Academy player. During his sophomore year he was named Goalkeeper of the Week at the SGA Camp.
Nash on Lansing: "Michael is a big, quick, athletic goalkeeper with excellent feet. He not only uses his height to get to many crosses, but he also uses his quickness to get off his line faster than most keepers. This will take a lot of pressure off of our back line."
Vaughn Moore Goalkeeper # Atlanta, Ga. # Marist School # Concorde Fire SC
Moore was the four-year staring goalkeeper and team captain as a senior for Marist School in Atlanta. He was part of a team that won the AAAA state title in 2009, was a state semifinalist in 2010 and captured a regional championship in 2011. Moore also played for the Concorde Fire U18s and was selected to the US Soccer Development Academy Team. His side qualified for the Academy playoffs last year, was a semifinalist at the 2010 Surf Cup and was a Premier League East regional finalist and state champion. Moore also competed with the Georgia ODP and was an alternate goalkeeper at the ODP National Camp.
Nash on Moore: "Vaughn came through our summer camp system. Though he is not as big as the other goalkeepers in this class, he makes up for it with quickness and big-save ability. He is also a very vocal keeper, which is something we are always preaching to our guys."
Chris Thorsheim Midfielder # Manalapan, N.J. # Christian Brothers Academy # Red Bull Academy
Thorsheim captained Christian Brothers Academy to the 2011 state championship with a perfect 21-0-0 record. The team was ranked No. 1 in the state of New Jersey and No. 4 in the nation by ESPN. Thorsheim was a first team all-state selection by both the New Jersey Coaches' Association and the Newark Star-Ledger. He also played for the ODP New Jersey State Team from 2006-11 and captained the team in 2010 and 2011. He traveled with the Region I Team to Italy and Costa Rica and also helped the team to a championship at the Disney Showcase. Thorsheim has most recently played with the Red Bull Academy U18 team in 2011-12.
Nash on Thorsheim: "Chris is your prototypical creative center midfielder. He reminds me a lot of Conor O'Brien, which is quite a compliment. He is not the strongest or fastest player on the field, but he is usually the smartest and most competitive. His vision and technical ability will create quite a few chances for all of the guys with speed in our attack. Chris is also coming off an undefeated state championship in high school. He was the captain of a team that finished No. 4 in the country and produced at least six Division I soccer players."
Connor Willings Back/Midfielder # Orlando, Fla. # Lake Highland Prep # Florida Rush SC
Willings earned five varsity letters in soccer at Lake Highland Prep, having made the varsity squad as an eighth-grader. This past season he was named the NSCAA Boys High School Player of the Year in the state of Florida and was a member of the NSCAA All-America Team. His team was the district runner-up in 2011, one year after advancing to the state championship game. Willings played his club soccer for the Florida Rush, which was the champion of the USYS Region III Premier League. The squad placed fourth at the Collegiate Championship Soccer Showcase in Birmingham, Ala., and won the men's U19 Red Division at the Disney Showcase on Orlando. In 2008-09, Willings played for the U15 Boys National Team at Super-Y League National ODP.
Nash on Willings: "Connor comes into the program with an impressive resume. Not only was he an NSCAA High School All-American, but he was also named Florida Player of the Year. That is quite an accomplishment for a state with soccer as good as Florida. Connor is another versatile player who has played center mid, right mid and center back for his club team. He has done a very good job at center back for his high school team, which is where we feel he will eventually find his niche for us. He also has a long throw-in, which will allow us to utilize Mayowa Alli on some more offensive plays."