college track and field recruiting standards

Iowa Track and Field Recruiting Standards

Track and Field Recruiting: Three Things To Consider When E-Mailing A College Coach

Fast Track Recruiting

Over the span of my thirty-year coaching career, I learned that communication is the most important element to reaching your goals. It is imperative that you learn to communicate openly and effectively with your parents, high school coach, and college coaches.

More specifically, when sending an initial email to a college coach expressing your interest clearly articulate yourself. Here are three suggestions to consider when emailing college coaches.



Be brief. Clearly and concisely articulate who you are. There is no need to list what place you finished at your conference meet or how competitive your high school is academically. Express your interest in their specific school and program, list your PR’s and provide your essential academic information – GPA and test scores.  Avoid phrases such as “I am confident that I can contribute greatly to your program” if you are not yet performing at a level close to the team’s current athletes.



In most cases, your initial e-mail to a college coach will be your first impression. Make it impactful. Avoid slang terms, misspellings and formatting mistakes. Carefully proofread every email before hitting send. Be sure if you cut and paste that the formatting is not changed clearly exposing such. Finally, be sure that the coach’s name and school are correct. On several occasions while I was coaching at Columbia I would receive emails addressed to other coaches and/or colleges expressing interest on one of our rival schools. Send a couple of test emails to your self first to ensure there are not weird font or text size changes where you have cut and pasted new names.



Prior to sending your email complete the school’s online recruiting questionnaire. Your e-mails should be extremely easy to read. Avoid sending attachments – there is no reason to include them on your initial email and they will most likely not be opened. Provide clear and easily seen contact information.

The recruiting process can be daunting. There are so many unknowns throughout the entire process. However, if you get started early, put in the work and take an active role you will find the right fit.

College Track and Field Recruiting - What Should I Be Doing In My Sophomore Year In High School?

College Track and Field Recruiting

In less than a year, college coaches will be allowed to start contacting you. On September 01 of your Junior year, your recruiting process will begin. As a result, it is imperative that you devise a plan of action now.

Below are three suggestions for you to consider during your sophomore year of high school to optimize your college recruitment experience:


Create an expansive list of schools/programs that meet your specific needs and desires.  Among factors to consider are affiliation level (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.

Do not be mesmerized by the name of a school. See beyond the prowess of their football and basketball programs or their academic reputation. Make sure the schools you choose meets your needs for reasons beyond it simply being cool to tell the world you will be running or studying at a particular school. There is much more to college track and field than simply Division I.

Create a list of schools that you would be happy at without track and field - just in case your athletic career does not go as planned.


Do not be passive. Start reaching out to college coaches now from the schools on your list. In my personal dealings with high school student-athletes, I often heard prospects state that the schools on their list were comprised solely of programs that contacted them. If a program you’re interested in does not reach out to you, reach out to them! You will be surprised at how effective personally reaching out will enhance your recruiting experience.

Start to visit colleges during your sophomore year. Take a campus tour, check out the athletic facilities and eat lunch at a local restaurant. Start to get an idea of what it is you want in a college. You can’t sit down and speak with the coach until your Junior year, but you if you happen to bump into them you can say, hi.


Over the span of my thirty-year coaching career, I learned that communication is the most important element to reaching your goals. It is imperative that you learn to communicate openly and effectively with your parents, high school coach, and college coaches.

Because it is only your sophomore year college coaches are not allowed to respond to your emails and other forms of communication, but now is still a good time to start reaching out. Fill out their online questionnaire. Send an email expressing your interest in their program and give them a brief overview of who you are as an athlete and student.

Your sophomore year is a great time to begin readying yourself for the process that is about to begin. You should view this time as your pre-season training. Although there will be no meets during this time the work and preparation that you do now will be critical to future success.

For more recruiting information click below:

What Should I Be Doing in My Senior Year 

What Should I Be Doing in My Junior Year 


College Track and Field Recruiting: What Should I Be Doing In My Junior Year In High School?

Track Recruiting


Your Junior year of high school has arrived. With the new NCAA recruiting rules in place, coaches were allowed to start contacting you on September 1st. Many programs are in the midst of finalizing their recruiting classes for this year and will begin focusing their efforts on next year’s class – this year’s juniors.

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:

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.

SENIORS - What should you be doing? CLICK HERE



Below you will find general Walk-On Standards for Power 5 (NCAA I) teams. The standards below are not specific to any particular school, but rather an aggregate of numerous unpublished walk-on standards from college coaches at Power 5 schools. Obviously, the standards will vary from school to school slightly based on their particular strengths, weaknesses and conference affiliation, but the standards listed below will give you a good idea regardless of where you are looking. 

EVENT           MEN                WOMEN

100M              10.75              11.90

200M              21.65              24.60

400M             48.70               56.50

800M              1:54                2:15

1600M           4:19                 5:09

3200M            9:20                11:20

110HH           14.40              14.40 (100H Hurdles)

300IH             38.50              44.50

400IH             54.00              62.50

LJ                    23’                18 ‘ 6”

TJ                    47’                 38 ‘ 6”

HJ                    6’7”               5’6”

PV                   15’6”              11’6”

SP                    57’                  42’

Discus            165’               140’

Jav                  180’               125’

Hammer         190’                150’

Am I Fast Enough To Run At MIT?

What type of student-athlete is MIT Track and Field looking for? To gain admittance to MIT as a recruited student-athlete, you are going to have to be fast and smart!

MIT currently ranks #5 among all National Universities according to the US News and World Report College Rankings. Furthermore, they rank #1 in the High School Guidance Counselor category and rank #5 in the Best Value category. Numerous publications list their Engineering and Computer Science programs #1 in the country. Additionally, MIT tops almost every chart in providing undergraduate student research opportunities.

MIT’s acceptance rate is right around 7% - so, what do you have to do to get accepted? Below is a list of what they are ideally looking for in regard to your academic record:

Top 5% of class while taking the most rigorous curriculum offered

SAT Math - 770 or better

SAT Reading/Writing - 700 or better

ACT Math - 34 or better

ACT Science - 34 or better

SAT Math Subject Test - 780 or better

SAT Science Subject Test - 760 or better

Looking for a boost from athletics? Below you will find a list of the MIT Track and Field Recruiting Standards:

MIT Track and Field Recruiting Standards

A cool fact about MIT – They have a dedicated two-hour activities window from 5:00-7:00 p.m. where there can be no mandatory undergraduate academic exercises – so, no practice conflicts while there.





FAQ - Are Recruiting Services Really Needed? A Look into College Track and Field Recruiting


Frequently Asked Questions –

Does my son or daughter really need a recruiting service to get recruited - probably not. Most likely, all they really need to do is run fast or jump high or throw really far. If they do not hit a particular mark then all they probably have to do is to initiate contact with enough college coaches to garner some interest. In fact, during the span of my 25 year coaching career at the NCAA I level, I was shocked by the price tag of such recruiting services when compared to the end result. Most recruiting services hire staff members with little expertise and actual experience in the sport they are representing. So, as a result the end product is typically little more than some generic finger-pointing in the right direction and a fancy online profile for college coaches to peruse, if so desired.

On the surface, the recruiting process seems simple enough. In fact, on the surface running or throwing or jumping seems simple enough, very simple. In fact, our species has been doing it for years. Seemingly all one needs to do is buy Jack Daniel’s Running Formula and voila - you are on the road to greatness. How hard is it, right? Do a little research and workout. Anyone can do it.

However, to run faster or faster longer or to jump or throw further or to vault higher, one would certainly benefit from a knowledgeable coach. Does my son or daughter really need a coach to run fast? No, not if they are naturally fast. But, they do need a knowledgeable coach to run faster. That is what we do. Are we needed – probably not? Many, many high school student-athletes are recruited annually without using a recruiting service – just as many, many 100m runners run fast without adequate preparation or training. However, if you want to run faster…if you want to get into a school one rung higher than you initially anticipated, if you want to get more scholarship money than you thought possible, and if you want to be exposed to programs and colleges that would be great fits for you based on real information gathered through the collection of data, years of coaching experience and knowledge of over a time thirty year period of time that is where we come in. We can help you maximize financial aid packaging. We can help you identify schools and programs not currently on your radar. We can provide program information with regard to attrition rates, injuries, program burn-out, coaching changes, facility limitations and such.

And, from a cost analysis is it worth it? Though the total cost can appear daunting at first the cost of a recruiting service pales in comparison to future educational costs. Most of you will be paying somewhere between $100,000 - $700,000 – recruiting service costs will range from 0.002 – 0.9% of that amount and will be almost certainly be absorbed by added financial aid or scholarship dollars.

Are we needed, no. Will we make your experience better, YES! Will you end up with more and better choices and more lucrative offers, YES!

For more information for parents regarding their role in the recruiting process see here -

For more information on what the prospective student-athlete should be doing see here -

Am I Fast Enough To Run At Wake Forest University- College Track and Field Recruiting


Hey, Coach – I am very interested in running at Wake Forest…am I fast enough? I have received numerous e-mails about running at Wake Forest over the past few weeks. So I thought I would provide information on their recruiting standards.

In a conversation with a very high-end NCAA I Head Coach this morning, we discussed how recruiting standards are created. I believe that most programs develop recruiting standards in the same manner. Coaches are looking for athletes who have the potential to score points at the conference level. I did the very same thing while at Columbia. This differs a great deal from the typical high school track program philosophy. College programs are not looking to simply cover all of the events. As the coach this morning indicated, “I wish that recruits and their parents understood that our standards are based on conference results – not whether we have someone better in that event.”

For example, let me go back to Wake Forest. Their top 200m runner ran 21.85 this past spring. Their second best 200m runner ran 22.36. So, one would presume if I were a 22.0 200m runner who was a junior in high school that I could run at Wake Forest. However, there is much more to it. The ACC is comprised of 15 schools – many of which a great sprint programs. A quick review of their conference list ( ) revels that 20 men  have run faster than 21.30 and 50 men ran faster than 21.85 – the ACC only scores 8 places – do the math.

For more information on recruiting standards click here -

For more information on Wake Forest University Track and Field click here.