college track and field recruiting

Track and Field Recruiting From the Eyes of an Elite HS Runner

Interview with Cory Mull

Interview with Cory Mull

Senior, Talitha Diggs finished her junior season ranked in the top 10 nationally in the 400m (52.82 seconds) and top 50 in the 200m (23.88). As a result, basically every school in the country started recruiting her. To date, her top six choices are Texas, South Carolina, LSU, Florida, Stanford and the University of Southern California. Here are a few things Diggs is keeping in mind with each visit.

1.COACHING PHILOSOPHY: "When I look for a coach, I'm looking for a family-oriented program and a supportive coach who wants you to come to the university but also really wants to train you as an athlete. They know what you're capable of doing. I need tough love, too."

2. PRIOR SUCCESS: "I'm looking at the success they've had in the 200m and 400m and the 100m. I'm looking to see how I can add to that, to make it stronger. That's an important thing. With (Texas') Coach Floreal, for instance, he's had a lot of coaching experience in the areas I run.”

3. CULTURE: "I'd like to work with a mentor. I like tough love. I think it makes you stronger. But while I want to be a great track athlete, I want to be a better person. I want an environment that gives me all those things."

4. TEAMMATES: "It's definitely an important factor to me. Being able to have teammates who can push me, mentally just be able to push me. They build the environment of the school, so what each teammate brings to that university is going to matter for me."

5. DEPTH CHART: Based on signings over the past three seasons, here are sprinters who have signedwith each program on Diggs' final list of six teams.

What You Should Be Doing In Your Junior Year - Track and Field Recruiting Advice

Track and Field Recruiting

Track and Field Recruiting


You are almost halfway through your junior year of high school and will be heading off to college in little over a year. Many programs have completed their recruiting classes for this year and are now focusing their efforts on next year’s class – this year’s juniors.

As it is now permissible for college coaches to call juniors the recruiting process has already begun. To ensure that you take full advantage of this process, here are a few suggestions to help you find the right fit for you.

1.         Cast A Wide Net

Your junior year is about seeing what’s out there and what kind of school might be a good fit for you. If you have not yet done so create an expansive list of schools/programs that meet your specific needs and desires. Among factors to consider are affiliation (NCAA I, II, III, NAIA and JUCO), competitiveness of the program, cost of attendance, quality of education, geographical location, intended academic major, enrollment size, public vs private, and other factors that matter to you.

Think about what may impact your athletic experience the most like coaching style, athlete retention, and success of the program. Determine if you are a good fit athletically – many schools post their recruiting standards online.

Know what the academic requirements are for the schools you are considering to determine if you are potentially admissible. 

Continually revise your list. During my coaching career, I often saw recruits close doors too early.  They would rule out programs in their junior year of high school based on a variety of factors and then end up scrambling in the end when Plan A did not work out. Make sure to keep Plan B in play as to not have to settle for Plan C at the last minute.

2.             Fill Out Online Recruiting Questionnaires

The online recruiting questionnaire is a good first and simple means to initiate communication with a program. It allows the coach to assess if you are a good fit for their program. In a recent interview with the Recruiting Code, Duke University Head Women’s Cross Country Coach, Rhonda Riley was asked, “What are the important steps for an athlete to get noticed by you?” She responded, “The two ways to get on my radar are to fill out our online questionnaire and to follow up with an email. When a high school athlete takes the time to send an email with their contact information, personal best marks, academic information etc. it means they are serious about considering Duke as a potential university.”  Online recruiting questionnaires are typically very easy to find on individual schools’ track and field websites.

3.             Contact College Coaches

Over the span of my 30-year coaching career, I learned that communication is the most important element to reaching your goals. If you have not yet started - start reaching out to college coaches from the schools on your list. You will be surprised at how effective personally reaching out to coaches will enhance your recruiting experience.

Proofread every email before hitting send. A great deal of communication in the early phases of the recruiting process is going to be cut and paste on both sides, however, making a simple mistake can dehumanize the process and render the remainder of your communication less credible. Make sure you are addressing the proper institution and coach. I cannot tell you how many emails I received from recruits specifically addressed to a rival coach expressing their interest in a rival school.

Send updates on a regular basis.  Most coaches receive dozens of emails from recruits each day so it’s important that you keep yourself on their radar.  

4.             Take The ACT / SAT

Register and take the SAT/ACT during your junior year. If you feel adequately prepared, I would suggest taking the test in the fall of your junior year. This will allow you plenty of time to take it for the second time in the spring. Everyone's test prep is going to vary based on their own strengths, weaknesses, schedule, and goals. At the very minimum, though, all students should try to put in 10 hours of focused test prep, at least to get familiar with the format and timing of the test. Realistically, you would need to put in much more time over a sustained period to do well.

However, if you are not ready to take the test do not view it as a test-run. Do not take the test until you have prepared to do so at a level that is reflective of your academic potential.

If you are considering attending a highly selective academic institution taking the test earlier will significantly enhance your recruitment. Most selective schools will not vigorously pursue a potential-student athlete without test scores to determine admissibility. 

5.             Utilize Unofficial Visits

Unofficial visits can help you gather significant information about individual programs and schools. This time will allow you an opportunity to meet the coach in person, tour the college, check out the athletic facilities, and possibly meet current team members. 

Do your homework - know who and where you are visiting. Have a keen understanding of the unique strengths of each school and team, as it will show the respective coaching staff how serious you are about their program.

Use this time to learn as much as you can about the program and coaching staff. Identify the factors that will be most important to you in determining if you will return for an official visit. Have a short list of specific questions ready that address the most critical factors in your college decision.  

There is no imposed limit on the number of unofficial visits you may take, so take as many as possible. There is no better tool to help you hone in on the best school/program for you. 

In summary:

 Your junior year is quickly passing and it is time to start seriously considering where you want to continue your academic and athletic pursuits. Do not be passive – start reaching out to college coaches now. Be aggressive in your outreach and email every program that you are interested in, regardless of the perceived reach. Be your own greatest advocate and take charge of your future. 


Track and Field Recruiting Tip Of The Week

Track Recruiting



To get started, determine the most important factors in choosing a school. Consider quality of education, cost, team environment, program success, level of competition, coaching style/philosophy, location, major and such. Obviously, you should prioritize these factors to ensure you are finding the very best fit for you.

For example, the cost of attendance will be very important for many families and will therefore drive the recruiting process. For another family, the academic reputation of the university or college may be the most important factor in determining which schools to pursue. Obviously, as a track and field recruit the college coach and the team environment will be important factors in your decision.

My suggestion to you is create a list identifying your most important factors in rank order. For all families, there will be more than one factor impacting the decision. Identify the factors that are important for you and let that list guide you through the recruiting process.


1600m / 3200m Boy with PR’s of 4:22 and 9:30 as a junior. He has SAT scores of 1210 and wants to attend a NCAA D1 school with a solid academic reputation in the Midwest that the family can afford.

Schools to consider:

Bradley University Butler University Drake University Xavier University

Best NCAA Division I Colleges - Fast Track Recruiting 2019 Cross Country Power Rankings

Fast Track Recruiting Cross Country Power Rankings looked at over 300 NCAA Division 1 College Cross Country programs. Our best program list is based on the school’s academic rankings and Regional and National Cross Country Rankings.

Here are the programs that are representing the best results in and out of the classroom using our criteria.

Best NCAA Division 1 Colleges

2019 Men’s XC Power Rankings: 

1.     Stanford

2.     Princeton

3.     Notre Dame

4.     Michigan

5.     UCLA

6.     Wisconsin

7.     UVA

8.     Washington

9.     BYU

10. Purdue          

Honorable Mention:

Texas, Georgetown, Penn, Army, Dartmouth, Brown, Penn State

Best NCAA Division 1 Colleges

2019 Women’s XC Power Rankings:

1.     Stanford

2.     Princeton

3.     Columbia

4.     Michigan

5.     Notre Dame

6.     Dartmouth

7.     Villanova

8.     Wisconsin

9.     Georgia Tech

10. Washington    

Honorable Mention:

BYU, Penn State, Yale, Duke, Wake Forest, Penn, Illinois, Northwestern, Cornell

UNC Track and Field Recruiting Standards

Curious how fast you need to be to run for the UNC? Below we have listed their walk-on and scholarship standards.

Fast Track Recruiting

UNC Track and Field Questionnaire

UNC Summer Camp Information





UNC Track and Field Recruiting Standards


Alabama Track and Field Recruiting Standards

Track Recruiting







Want to run track and field for the University of Alabama? See their recruiting standards below for both walk-ons and scholarship opportunities.

Track Recruiting
Track and Field Recruiting
Alabama Track and Field

Iowa Track and Field Recruiting Standards

University of Miami Track and Field Recruiting Standards

Paying For College - NCAA I Track and Field Scholarship Standards


Student debt is higher than ever. In fact, total student debt has surpassed $1.5 trillion. Furthermore, the average college graduate leaves college $38,000 in debt. In addition, one in six college graduates owes more in student loans than they make in a year. Currently, the average monthly student loan payment for recent grads is more than $350.

Numerous schools offer need-based financial aid and scholarships in addition to academic based incentive scholarships. In addition to school issued monies there a numerous outside organizations that offer scholarships. Find Outside Awards.

Need help - use these resources to find and filter outside award opportunities:

· Search private scholarships, find those that match your criteria, and send a personalized letter with your information to scholarship sponsors.

·       Fastweb!: Create a personalized profile that can be matched against a database of more than 1.5 million scholarships totaling more than $3.4 billion, and get notifications of new scholarships and approaching deadlines.

· Search scholarships from nearly 3,000 sources, potentially worth up to $3 billion.

· Search for scholarships and grants from many different sources, and find information on both federal and private financial aid sources.

·       UNIGO: Find scholarships that match your hobbies, interests, and academic background in a database of 3.6 million awards worth over $14 billion. Gain tips on finding and applying for scholarships and download scholarship applications.

·       SchoolSoup Scholarship Directory: Search for scholarships by a variety of key categories using SchoolSoup’s free scholarship matching platform.

·       Scholarship Search by SallieMae: Access more than 5 million awards worth over $24 billion and get notifications when new scholarships become available.

For elite high school track and field / cross country athletes additional money can be obtained through an athletic scholarship. We have put together the times you will need to run to receive athletic scholarship money at a NCAA I Power Five program.

Below you will find the general recruiting standards NCAA I Power 5 Schools are using to decide whether or not to offer a full ride or a partial athletic scholarship. Remember, these standards are from "big-time" division one programs. Mid-major NCAA I, NCAA II and NAIA programs will have lesser standards depending on their level competitiveness.  


EVENT       MEN / WOMEN                          

100m         10.35  11.50                

200m        21.00      23.50                         

400m        46.90      53.00                          

800m         1:49        2:07                              

1600m       4:04      4:47                           

3200m        8:50       10:30                         

110HH      13.65       13.50                   

300IH         36.50      41.80             

400IH         51.50       58.50                           

PV               17'          13' 3"               

LJ                25'           20'           

TJ                51'          41' 6'                         

HJ                7'             6'                        

SP              63'            50'             

Dis             200'           170'         

Jav            225'            160'        

Ham          225'            185'     



EVENT       MEN        WOMEN                             

100m          10.50        11.70

200m          21.40        24.00

400m          47.50        54.20

800m          1:52          2:12

1600m         4:12         4:55

3200m         9:10         10:45

110HH        14.00      14.00 (100H)

300IH          37.50        43.00

400IH          52.80        60.00

PV                16'          12' 6"

LJ                  24'          19'

TJ                  49'          40'

HJ                6' 10"      5' 8"

SP                60'            47'

Dis              185'           155'

Jav             205'            145'

Ham           225'            185' 

How I Made My College Decision - Gen Hirata

Gen Hirata

The college decision is a tough one, but I feel like the choice was clear for me. I have been pole vaulting for a little over two years and knew since day one that I would want to compete in the sport in college. I searched for the best schools with the best pole vaulting programs in the nation and contacted their coaches. I researched and visited several schools before I found my top pick, the University of South Dakota. When I talked to Coach Derek Miles on the phone for the first time, I knew South Dakota would be a top contender for me. After a few more phone calls with other coaches I narrowed down my choices and visited my top four schools, Virginia Tech, the University of Arkansas, the University of Virginia, and the University of South Dakota. Although all of these schools had outstanding programs, both athletically and academically, I decided that South Dakota would be the right fit for me. After meeting all of the pole vaulters at South Dakota and speaking with all of the track and field staff, I knew South Dakota would be my top choice. Coach Miles ensured me that he would do his absolute best to make me the best pole vaulter I could be and I genuinely believed him. His coaching style is similar to the way my current club coach, Val Osipenko, teaches which was something that was very important to me in my decision making process. Coach Val and coach Miles are both passionate about what they do and thoroughly enjoy coaching others to success. In the end, I knew for certain that the University of South Dakota would be my new home for the next few years.