track and field recruiting

Track & Field Recruiting – What Should I Be Doing This Summer?

PHOTO CREDIT: JOHN NEPOLITAN -  WWW.DYESTAT.COM

PHOTO CREDIT: JOHN NEPOLITAN - WWW.DYESTAT.COM

Track and Field Recruiting

The NCAA currently reports that over 1.5 million boys and girls participate in high school track & field and cross country. Of those 1.5 million participants, only 85,000-90,000 will compete in college, or approximately 4-7% depending upon event and gender

As a result, it is imperative that you devise a plan of action early on in your high school career. You have worked too hard and sacrificed far too much to idly wait for the process to begin. Take control of your destiny in the same manner you have your academic and athletic endeavors. The recruiting process will require the same such commitment from you.

Below you will find what rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors should be doing right now

Going To Be A Sophomore

With the new NCAA Recruiting Rules your recruiting process will begin in less than a year. 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:

  1. Create a list of schools
  2. Send an introductory email
  3. Communicate effectively

For more information click here - SOPH YEAR

Going To Be A Junior

Your junior year is quickly approaching 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 proactive 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.

  1. Cast A Wide Net
  2. Fill Out Online Recruiting Questionnaires
  3. Contact College Coaches
  4. Take The ACT / SAT
  5. Utilize Unofficial Visits

For more informaiton click here - Jr Year

Going To Be A Senior

If you are not being recruited at all yet or not hearing from the programs you are most interested in is time to reevaluate your college search process. There is still time plenty of time to devise a new strategy and create a new outreach plan.

  1. Try, try again – and, then move on. Re-contact everyone.
  2. Reach out to all the schools that have reached out to you
  3. Expand your search
  4. Try different means of outreach
  5. Enlist the Help of your High School Coach
  6. Enlist the help of a third-party

If you are being recruited, life is good - enjoy the ride!

  1. Get an Academic / Financial Aid Pre Read where applicable
  2. Narrow your choices
  3. Take Your Official Visits
  4. Choose the best fit for you!

For more information click here - Sr Year

If you are not getting your desired results and need help - enlist the services of Fast Track Recruiting. We have produced the desired results for numerous families.

TOP NCAA D2 TRACK & FIELD PROGRAMS

NCAA D2 Track and Field Recruiting

NCAA D2 Track and Field Recruiting

Fast Track Recruiting has put together a list of schools to consider if you are looking to compete at the NCAA D2 level. In finding the performance standards to compete at this level, we looked at the team performances from the past academic year in cross country, and the indoor/outdoor track and field seasons. In addition, we placed equal value on the school’s national and regional academic ranking. Below you will find a list of schools that appear on both lists.

 

MEN’S PROGRAMS TO CONSIDER

Cedarville

Colorado School of the Mines

Grand Valley State University

WOMEN’S PROGRAMS TO CONSIDER

Augustana College (SD)

Colorado School of the Mines

Grand Valley State University

TOP ACADEMIC SCHOOLS TO CONSIDER

Bentley

Rollins

University of California San Diego

OTHER PROGRAMS/SCHOOLS TO CONSIDER

Bellermine

Embry-Riddle

Flagler

Florida Southern

Hillsdale College

Lewis

Point Loma

Queens (NC)

Seattle Pacific

Stonehill

Truman State

TRACK AND FIELD PERFORMANCE GUIDELINES

 EVENT           MEN                            WOMEN

 National Level Performances / Conference Level Performances

100m              10.60 / 10.90             12.00 / 12.30

200m              21.40 / 22.00            24.40 / 25.30

400m              47.80 / 49.50            56.00 / 58.50

800m              1:52 / 1:55                  2:12 /2 :19

1500m           3:51 / 3:59                 4:33 / 4:47

3000mSC       9:15 / 10:00             11:00 / 12;00

5000m           14:32 / 15:10             17:10 / 18:10

10000m         30:42 / 32:45           36:35 / 40:00

110HH            14.60 / 15.40              14.20 / 15.20

400IH             53.50 / 56.50            62.00 / 66.00

High Jump 6’8” / 6’ 3” 5’6” / 5’3"

Pole Vault 15’9” / 14’ 12’ / 10’6”

Long Jump 23’9” / 22’ 19’ / 17’9”

Triple Jump 48’ / 44’ 39’ / 36’

Shot Put 53’ / 48’ 45’ / 39

Discus 165’ / 140’ 150’ / 130’

Hammer 180’ / 150’ 170’ / 145’

Javelin 195’ / 160’ 135’ / 115’

New Track and Field NCAA D1 Recruiting Rules for 2019

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COLLEGE TRACK AND FIELD RECRUITING RULES

The NCAA has adopted new recruiting rules for NCAA D1 Track and Field/Cross Country programs. These new rules focus primarily on communication between the recruit and the college coach before the end of their sophomore year of high school. In reality, very little communication in the sport of Track and Field was occurring prior to a recruit’s junior year of high school. Although these rules were designed to stop the increasing trend of early recruiting and give student-athletes the opportunity to make a more informed decision on their college of choice. These rules could impact the recruiting process for track and field athletes in the opposite way as less than 15% of track and field athletes have reported being recruited prior to their Junior year. In fact, nearly 40% stated that they were not being recruited until their senior year.

New NCAA DI Track and Field Recruiting Rules

1. No communication with a coach until June 15 after sophomore year

The new rules prevent any communication between a student-athlete or parent/guardian and a DI college coach before June 15 of sophomore year. Communication includes phone, text and/or email.

2. No Official or Unofficial visits until August 1 of junior year

Fast Track Recruiting – UNOFFICIAL VISITS

Fast Track Recruiting – OFFICIAL VISIT

3. No Recruiting Conversations or Verbal Offers until June 15 of sophomore year

Six Things for Canadian Track and Field Athletes To Consider During The NCAA Recruiting Process

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International Track and Field Recruiting

BY: SCOTT MONCUR

SCOTT COMPETED IN THE 400M & 800M AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AND COACHED AT BOTH BROWN UNIVERSITY AND COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. MONCUR WAS AN IVY LEAGUE CHAMPION AND NCAA QUALIFIER. SCOTT RESIDES IN CANMOR, AB AND NOW WORKS FOR THE ROYAL BANK OF CANADA

Coach Wood recruited me to Columbia University when I was in Grade 11, and I joined his program in September of 2000.  He was patient with me throughout the process and allowed me and my family to ask questions and make the best long-term decision for me.  That is the most important thing to consider when you are weighing your post-secondary options as a Canadian or International student-athlete.  I will try to share some my experience as a high school and university student-athlete, as well as my experience as an Assistant Track and Cross Country Coach at both Brown University and Columbia University of the Ivy League.

As a high school athlete, I was an OFSAA Champion (400m), three-time medallist (800m, Steeple) and made the Canadian Junior final in the 800m three times.  I was recruited by a number of universities, both in the US and in Canada and took a number of official visits.

As I worked through the process, I found that the recruiting approach was similar amongst schools on both sides of the border.  Every school has something unique that it can offer you, and it is up to you to determine what is important to you, both in the short-term and in the long-term. 

When I started the recruiting process I knew that I wanted to end up living in Canada for the long-term, but that I wanted the opportunity to experience living and competing in the States.  This had me put most of my focus on American universities.  I was recruited by Ivy League schools, as well as schools in major athletic conferences and some schools so small that I had trouble believing they even existed!  You end up with so much information that it can be overwhelming.  To help with this, I opened myself up to listening to my family, and to my coach.  My parents both competed at the University of Windsor and my coach competed at Villanova University.  This provided me with diverse perspectives and guidance, and I suggest that you seek out trusted advisors that can share both experiences with you.  Being a Canadian athlete, you are well connected to your fellow competitors and coaches across the country.  At your provincial meet and at Nationals, you likely chat with Canadian University coaches often and know them quite well.  My advice is to seek out what you don’t know, challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone.

In the end, my final two choices were Columbia University and the University of Windsor.  In Windsor, I had familiarity, friends, coaches that I knew well, and training partners that I had run with for a few years already.  In Columbia, I didn’t know a single person (at first), had only been to New York City once (on my official visit!) and was scared to death.  I took some time to reflect on the choice in front of me.  Both, I knew, would provide me with great opportunities to run fast and to receive a great education, but there were a few key aspects of the process that tipped me toward Columbia.

1.     I had the opportunity to receive a world-renowned education and study in the same setting and atmosphere that world leaders and Nobel prize winners studied in.

2.     Columbia offered an opportunity to compete against not only the best in Canada but the best in the world.  I am the same age as Nathan Brannen, and by choosing to compete in the US, not only would I get to continue to test myself against him, but also hundreds of athletes that were faster than me.

3.     The student-athletes already on the team welcomed me on my official visit as if I had been on the team for years.

4.     This part was most important in my decision-making process: There were two coaches that were young, committed to creating an environment of success, and were fiercely focused on developing a middle-distance and distance program.

While it took me some time to adjust to living in New York City, running in Central Park, and getting hammered by teammates in workouts and races, I absolutely made the right decision.  Attending Columbia gave me the opportunity to compete at the Penn Relays, the NCAA East Regional at the University of Florida, the Duke Invitation, Harvard, Yale, and so many other incredible venues.  The experience at an American university opened up the door for me to work in US Congress the summer after my second-year, and then get into coaching myself for three years after graduating from law school.  While the decision was difficult, it was the right one.  I’m not saying that attending an American school is the right choice for everyone, but it was for me. 

To help you make the right decision for you, here are some things to consider:

1.     Pay close attention to the coaching staff, and the head coaches in particular.  Assistant coaches tend to change often, and almost certainly will during your time at a school, so base your decision on the head coach.  Do you trust them?  Do they have a philosophy that you believe in?  Will they inspire you?  Are they determined to make you great, or are you just another piece of the puzzle?

2.     Pay attention to their academic reputation.  Most schools in Canada have strong academic reputations.  In the US, there are so many schools and so many options, that a number of them won’t serve you well after graduation.  If you have the opportunity to attend a strong academic school in the US, give a really good look because those opportunities are tremendous.

3.     Visit the school.  Is it somewhere that you think you’ll be comfortable at?  Is it urban or rural, and which setting are you looking for? 

4.     Meet the team.  Do they get along and support each other, or is it an individual atmosphere?

5.     Talk to your family, but don’t let them make the decision for you.  Your parents will always guide you in the right direction, but know that they will always want you close to home.  Seek their input, but make this YOUR decision.

6.     What do you want out of your experience?  What do you want to achieve athletically?  Academically?  Culturally?  Will this school deliver in all three of those areas?

Best of luck in this process and remember that this is your journey.  Feel free to step out of your comfort zone.  I certainly did, and I wouldn’t trade a single moment of my experience at Columbia.  I ran fast, I set records, I left with a world-class education, and most importantly, I made the best friends in the world, and these are guys that I wouldn’t have met if I settled for something comfortable.

Three Things Track and Field Parents Should Understand Going Into The Recruiting Process

Track Recruiting

During my thirty-year college coaching career, I have had direct contact with approximately 10,000 cross country/track and field recruits. One of the most common remarks made to me by their parents was how challenging it is to navigate the recruiting process, particularly if it is your first time. Identifying the right school and program for your child presents an even greater challenge. The copious amounts of information you will receive from college coaches, other parents, former and current college athletes and the staff members at your high school will undoubtedly prove daunting. You have your work cut out for you, but if you start to logically piece together a plan of action you will be just fine.

I have had significant experience interacting with recruits of varying degrees of ability; from the number ranked athlete in the USA to a high school cross country team’s seventh runner. There is a place for everyone, whether it be at a power five school, an Ivy League institution, an NCAA I mid-major driven by revenue income generation for the university through increased enrollment or NCAA Division II / III and NAIA schools.

Over the course of my coaching career, I have identified a few basic principles that are applicable throughout the recruiting process, regardless of your child’s level of ability. The most critically important underlying themes that parents need to understand going into this process are as follows:

1. THIS IS A BUSINESS. You and your child are looking for the best deal possible. In turn, the coach who is recruiting you is looking for the very best athletes they can sign. Even in the sport of track and field, there is great pressure upon coaches to win. While I was a college coach, I had bonuses written into my contract that would pay me an additional 15-50% of my annual income based solely upon performance. It is important to not lose sight of this fact, however, this endeavor is an oddly two-sided process. You have the business aspect on one side, but you also have a personal relationship between the coach and athlete on the other side of the equation. The relationship in many ways will determine the success of this business endeavor. The relationship your child possesses with his coach will impact your child’s overall college experience and quality of their running career. If at all possible, don’t simply settle for the money – there is too much at stake. Fight for the best deal that you are able to obtain, but don’t give away quality of life for the deal.

2. EMPOWER YOUR CHILD - As a coach, one of the biggest red flags our staff identified during the early stages of the recruiting process was an overly involved parent. I cannot enumerate the number of times a comment such as “can we truly trust this person in the heat of battle” if their parents do everything for them” was uttered. It is imperative that you have your child initiate all communication throughout the recruiting process. I would suggest strict adherence to the following areas;

· Do not send e-mails on their behalf – it lessens their viability. As a coach, I received far too many “I know they are my son/daughter, but they are truly amazing” letters and e-mails.

· Make them speak even when they do not want to – they should answer the phone and ask the questions. You are not a screening service. If the coach is not important enough for you to speak with - eliminate that school from your shortlist.

· Let them shine – On official or unofficial visits take a backseat to your child. Let them read from the list of questions you created together. Avoid speaking on their behalf or interjecting to clarify for them. Walk a couple of steps behind when touring the campus so they may converse directly to the coach or student host.

3. KNOW YOUR ROLE - Although it is important to give your child independence and let them lead the way– guide them! Help them eliminate programs and schools to move forward in a logical direction to narrow down their options. Review their correspondences to coaches to ensure that their intent matches their wording. Help them weed through all of the hype of the recruiting pitches they will hear. In track and field, every program will sell themselves as up and coming – most aren’t! Do your research and try to determine if team members are quitting if they have an alarming number of injuries if there is truly a positive trajectory toward improvement.

The entire recruiting process can be daunting if you do not do your research. However, if you create a sound plan of attack it will be an amazing experience. You are helping your child with a critical step in their lives– do it wisely!

JACK BOYLE - HOW I MADE MY COLLEGE DECISION

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"Finding a School that will Keep Your Fire Going" - Jack Boyle

Whenever I think of athletes transitioning to from high school to college running one phenomenon that I tend to think about is why do some runners seamlessly enter the college ranks and have equal to greater success than in high school, and why do some on the other hand struggle to even maintain their past fitness and times. Obviously, each situation is different, some runners struggle with injuries, differences in training, or simply being away from home for the first time. These outside influences can clearly impact how an athlete will transition from one level to the next. When an athlete who was a blue-chip recruit or who came from a nationally ranked high school program (like myself - CBA in NJ) struggles, I often hear the term burn out associated with them when things don’t go as well in college as they did in high school. Yes, many of the external factors I mentioned may play into why certain athletes struggle in the NCAA despite immense high school success; however, I also feel like it might not have been so much one specific thing that caused the struggles but instead a combination of elements in their new situation that caused their former passion for the sport to diminish. When I think about what makes a successful track athlete passion for the sport is paramount. Most top high school coaches are able to make their athletes believe that track is not some inferior sport, but instead it is an exciting sport that can become a lifestyle. By encouraging this type of passion many high school athletes are instilled with a fire for the sport that is fed more and more as they continue to have more success and enjoyment with the sport. The transition to college can be tough as it can flip everything upside down and all of a sudden it can be unclear where this fire will be fed from. That it is why is important for high schoolers, before they even begin talking with schools, think about what makes them passionate about the sport (what feeds their fire) and try to ask each school the right questions to see if the passions are shared. For me, I came out of an elite high school program, and I wanted to find a program that had similar expectations to compete at nationals. I knew also that I was very self-motivated (at times too much maybe), but that it was important to be a part of a team with shared goals or else we could never achieve anything. I also had a goal to contribute right away wherever I went because I felt I would transition well to the longer distances in college and did not to redshirt. That is why I tried to ask each coach I visited with where they saw their program going, and what they felt I could do during my freshmen year. After I visited with Coach Wood and the Columbia team I knew this was a situation where my fire and passion would burn strong and be fed so that I could continue to grow and succeed in the sport. That is why asking the right questions that pertain specifically to you is essential during the recruiting process to ensure that you end up in the right situation where your fire for the sport can be constantly fed, and even if you struggle during the immediate transition to college your passion will remain which will ensure that you have the opportunity for future success in the sport.

Jack Boyle - Columbia University 3,000m - 8:14.10 , 5000m - 14:24.45, 10000m - 29:35.83

Recruiting Advice For Current Junior Track and Field Athletes

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You are already halfway through your junior year of high school and you will be a senior in eight months. 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.

RECRUITING ADVICE FOR CURRENT SENIOR TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETES

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COLLEGE TRACK AND FIELD RECRUITING - WILLY WOOD

The Early Signing Period has come and gone. If you are a senior and find yourself not being heavily recruited or with no real viable college options it is time to reevaluate your college search process. There is still time before April 8, 2018, signing date to devise a new strategy and create a new outreach plan.

First, it is imperative to identify the why’s behind your current non-recruitment status. If coaches from the schools on your list are not responding to your communications, they are most likely not interested. If you have yet to hear from programs not on your list, they either do not know about you or they are not interested.

Unfortunately, if they are not interested in you as a recruit there is very little that you can do other than improving upon your current marks during the indoor or early outdoor season. However, if it is because they don’t know about you – there is still time.

If you want to compete in college here are six things you should be doing.

1. Try, try again – and, then move on.

Send one more e-mail or make one more phone call to the programs you have an interest in who have not yet contacted you or responded back to your previous communications. I would suggest an email expressing your sincere desire to attend their school and compete for them directed to both the Head Coach and the event coach who would be coaching you. If you still don’t hear back from them it is probably time to cross them off of your list.

2. Reach out to schools that have reached out to you.

Go through your old e-mails, letters of inquiry, questionnaires, generic correspondences and create a list of every school that has contacted you. Reach out to these programs and start a dialogue if you haven’t yet. You may be pleasantly surprised and find a good fit for you at a place you are not currently considering. At this point in time, you are trying to create a list of options – you can always say no at a later date. Ideally, it would be nice to have choices and to be in a position to say no to a few schools. Concentrate your efforts on programs that have shown an interest in you.

3. Expand your search

If you are not being recruited, you have three primary options. The first would be to have a great senior year and wait it out. However, this could prove extremely stressful and place a lot of pressure on you. The second option would be to contemplate not competing in college. In my opinion, this is a terrible choice if you enjoy competing! Thirdly, you can expand your search and find a school where you can compete. Reevaluate your goals and desires and be realistic. Identify different types of schools and different levels of programs than you have previously been considering. Because you are a senior, you should do this immediately. Identify numerous new schools that match your current athletic and academic levels of achievement.

4. Create a different means of outreach

If e-mails are not working, try Twitter, give them a call, send a letter or visit the campus and stop by their office to introduce yourself. Do what you have to do to get noticed. The goal is to start a conversation.

5. Enlist the Help of your High School Coach

If you are not making progress on your own enlist the help of your high school coach. Ask your current coach to review your list of schools and to offer truthful and critical feedback on what programs/schools are viable options for you. Also, ask them for suggestions to expand your list. After you reach out to these programs ask your coach to send a follow-up email on your behalf identifying your personal strengths and potential as a runner. Be sure to make it easy for your high school coach to do this for you. Provide them with the contact information of the college coaches and all of the pertinent information they will need to speak on positively your behalf.

6. Enlist the help of a third-party

If you are still not generating the type of response you are looking for try to find an additional source of help. Contact current college runners you know at schools you have an interest in, alums who ran in college with a keen understanding of current recruiting trends, family friends with direct contacts to coaching staffs and recruiting services with real connections and access to the inside. Enlist all of the help you can get – you are competing for your future.

In summary:

This is your senior this year and if you want to compete in college but are not being recruited, you need to change your approach. You either need to start a more vigorous outreach campaign or redirect your focus to generate more interest in you as a recruit. Take advantage of the next few months to get noticed, recruited and find the best fit for you.

COLLEGE TRACK AND FIELD RECRUITING -Ivy League Track and Field Recruiting

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COLLEGE TRACK AND FIELD RECRUITING / IVY LEAGUE ATHLETIC RECRUITING by Willy Wood

Each year, Ivy League coaches use approximately 250 admission's spots on track and field/cross country recruits. Typically the divide between men's and women's programs is fairly equitable, leaving approximately 125 spots for each gender. Here is a list of factors to consider if you are hoping to compete and attend an Ivy.

1. START EARLY

Based on my 20 years as the head coach at Columbia University and recent conversations with many current Ivy League coaches, I estimate that approximately 75-80% of recruits apply with early decision. As a result, it is imperative that you get an early start on the recruiting process. Because of recent NCAA contact rule changes, coaches are now able to start calling you on September 1 of your junior year. Therefore, it is imperative that you ensure that you are on coach's radars prior to the start of your junior year. 

2. DON'T BE DISCOURAGED

 The idea of pursuing an Ivy can be somewhat intimidating due to impossibly low admission acceptance rates and the total cost of education. However, both areas of concern may be surprisingly less of a factor than you initially imagine.

It is not impossible to get into an Ivy League school: I cannot tell you how many recruits and future matriculants were told by their high school guidance counselors that they had no chance of being accepted and were discouraged to apply.

A great majority of outsiders grossly underestimate the value of athletics in the admission's process. If you are a great athlete, you will be able to overcome many perceived academic deficiencies. There are student-athletes being admitted to Ivy League schools who score in the 1100s on the SAT and 25 on the ACT.

Ivy League Schools can be affordable: It is possible that an Ivy can be among your cheaper financial options. When Harvard, Princeton and Yale changed how they calculate their financial aid awards a few years ago, Ivy League schools became very affordable for many prospects. Quite often while I was at Columbia, we would be among the cheaper options for many of our recruits. Most, if not all of the schools have financial aid online calculators that will give you an early indication of the cost of attendance. Do not be discouraged by the initial price tag. Approximately 60-percent of students attending an Ivy League school receive financial aid. On average, those students receive over $45,000 in grant money.

3. DETERMINE IF YOU ARE A GOOD FIT ACADEMICALLY

 Ivy League schools are significantly better athletically than most people realize. In my last season at Columbia, we were ranked sixth in the NCAA national cross country poll. Over the last 10 years, 12 Ivy League student-athletes have become NCAA Division I national champions. Most of the programs post their recruiting standards online. Generally speaking, you are going to have to be very close to me marks listed below to get serious attention from an Ivy League coach.

If you are an athlete at or just below the standards listed below, you are going to have to be a very, very strong student.

EVENT MEASUREMENT ESTIMATES - BOYS/GIRLS

  • 100: 10.90 12.20

  • 200: 22.00 25.00

  • 400: 49.00 56.50

  • 800: 1:54 2:14

  • 1600: 4:15 5:00

  • 3200: 9:20 11:00

  • 110/100H: 14.4 14.4

  • 300H: 38.5 44.0

  • LJ: 22 ' 6" 18' 6"

  • TJ: 47' 38'

  • HJ: 6' 7" 5' 6"

  • PV: 15' 11'9"

  • SP: 56' 44'

  • Dis: 170' 140'

  • Jav: 190' 130'

  • Hammer: 185' 155'4.

RESEARCH SCHOOLS - HOW THEY USE THEIR SPOTS 

The Ivy League office determines the overall number of admissions spots that may be used by an athletic department. Each individual athletics program may determine how to distribute those spots. As a result, there is a great disparity amongst individual programs. If you are set on applying to an Ivy, do your research to determine how each program uses their slots. For example, when I was at Columbia our men used primarily all of our admissions spots on the middle distance and distance events while our women distributed our slots between the sprints, jumps, hurdles and distance events fairly evenly.


In addition, each program is allotted a different number of recruits and how they are able to support each year. I would suggest looking at past recruit class announcements to get a general idea of how many spots they may have.

APPLY EARLY

Typically, the early decision deadline is November 1. To significantly enhance your chances of getting a spot from the coach and ultimately gain admittance, you should apply early. To be ready to apply early, you should take your official visit in September and October. After your official visits are concluded and you have identified your top choice, you should verbally commit to one of the schools and ask for a 'Likely Letter.'

WHAT IS A 'LIKELY LETTER'

The Ivy League does not use the NCAA National Letter of Intent program. Instead, they have what is called a 'Likely Letter.' The Likely Letter is the Ivy League's answer to the NLI and brings some certainty to the recruiting process. Likely Letters are provided to recruited student-athletes before official notification from the admissions office arrives. Typically, to receive a Likely Letter you will have to verbally commit to the coach, submit your application for approval from the admissions office and have completed an early financial aid estimate to ensure affordability. The Likely Letter gives you the assurance that the school will grant you acceptance when the letters are sent out.

WHAT IF I DECIDE THE IVY'S ARE NOT FOR ME OR I AM NOT OFFERED

If you find yourself just outside of the Ivy League recruiting standards or did not find a good fit for you and still want to attend a top tier academic institution, you still have options. I would suggest looking at schools such as The University of Chicago, MIT, John's Hopkins, Washington University, Emory, Tufts, Williams, Swarthmore, Amherst, Middlebury, RPI and NYU.

Each of these schools are among the top ranked academic schools in the country and have had very successful track and field and cross country programs. Typically, their recruiting process mirrors that of the Ivy League.

A COUPLE COMMON SENSE DO'S & DON'TS

DON'T oversell yourself as a student. It is imperative that you express to the coaches or with whom you are speaking how important the athletic piece is to you. Coaches are going to want to have confidence in your drive and motivation to succeed athletically. Furthermore, never express to a coach how stressed you are because of your high school class load. My initial thought was always, "how will they ever survive the rigors of our academic and athletic demands if high school is overwhelming them."


DO stay the course if an Ivy League school is what you want. A coach's priority list will change significantly throughout the course of the fall as recruits start saying no, decide they cannot afford the school or are deemed inadmissible by the admissions office.


DON'T get a "C"! Remember, your admission's process will differ slightly from that of a non-supported applicant. As an athlete, they will look for reasons to take you as opposed to reasons not to. Getting a "C" on your transcript makes it significantly more difficult for a coach to help you.


DO make every attempt to visit each school that you are interested in and to meet with one of the coaches. Meeting with a coach allows you the opportunity to sell yourself. If you are a borderline recruit, it is imperative that you become more than your PR and SAT score. 

In summary, recruiting within the Ivy League is an intense business. The Ivies are top academic institutions that take their athletics very seriously. Because there are so few admissions spots to go around, Ivy coaches will compete very hard for the same athletes. If you are a top-tier athlete coaches will push you for an early decision commitment. If you are a borderline recruit you will need a plan of attack to obtain one of the precious 250 available spots.

COLLEGE TRACK AND FIELD RECRUITING - How to Effectively Utilize Your Official Visit: Questions To Ask As Student-Athletes

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by Willy Wood

Your official visits will determine where you attend school and which team you compete for. According to NCAA regulations, you are allowed only five official visit opportunities, so you will want to make the most of your time spent on each campus.

Official visits are the single most effective way to learn as much as you can about the schools and programs you are considering. For a complete list of NCAA rules and regulations governing Official Visits see here:

http://www.ncaa.org/student-athletes/future/eligibility-center/what-official-visit

Each school you visit will have their own specific methods of introducing you to their programs. Some schools fully utilize the 48-hour allowable timeframe while others feel it is more effective to end the visit after 24 hours. Some schools will have you attend an official admissions campus tour while others will have their student-athletes show you around. Regardless of the specific agenda for your visit, you can expect the same basic itinerary- tour the campus and athletic facilities, meet the team, speak with the coaches, and explore the community.

Make no mistake, coaches view your official visit as one of the most important elements of your recruitment. You will be shown the most impressive buildings, eat at the best spots, stay in one of the nicer dorm rooms or hotels, and be told repeatedly how wonderful the campus and program are. This is the coach's job and you can be assured they will put their best foot forward. It is your job to see beyond the tree-lined quad and smiling faces and determine if this school and program is the best fit for you.

The areas where I encourage you to take a closer look will impact your quality of life as a student-athlete. Beyond speaking to the coaches about training methodologies, program philosophy, and goals of the program learn as much as you are able from the current-student athletes.

To do so, I suggest preparing a series of questions that you can ask off the cuff. Ask current team members questions in an informal manner when eating dinner, on your way to a movie, or while on a run. Create a specific list of questions based on what is most important to you. Remember: you are not visiting you are there to decide where you will spend your next four years. Here are some questions to ask:

FACILITIES

How much time is required to commute back and forth to and from training sites?

When does the track team actually have access to the facility they are showing you - particularly shared indoor turf fields that the football team also uses?

How often do you run from campus and how often do you travel to trails?

SPORT'S MEDICINE SUPPORT

Is there an athletic trainer assigned specifically to the team?

Do you have access to the training room on the weekends, even after early Sunday morning long runs?

What type of preventive measures are used - ice baths, NormaTec, etc?

Does the school have easy access to an Altra G and/or an underwater treadmill?

Do they offer adequate support with physical therapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists?

ACADEMIC SUPPORT

Are study hall hours required of all student-athletes?

What type of access is there to tutors?

What type of walk-in support is provided?

Do athletes get preferential treatment when enrolling for classes?

PRACTICE

What time of the day do you practice?

Is there an athletic trainer on-site during practice?

Are nutritional needs adequately addressed on-site - water and post-workout recovery foods/drinks?

EQUIPMENT

How many training shoes will you receive throughout the course of the year?

How often are spikes replaced?

What will your training kit consist of?

Will you receive adequate warm/cold weather and rain gear?

TEAM TRAVEL

Who goes?

What criteria are used to determine travel squads?

Are there alternative meets if you don't make the travel team?

PRE-PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT

Is there a full-time staff member in the area of professional development specifically within the athletic department?

How supportive are the alumni in helping athletes find internships?

Will someone assist you in creating a resume and letter of application?

What are they doing to assist you with finding a job upon graduation?

STUDENT LIFE

What does a typical Saturday night consist of?

Does the team party and drink?

Do team members live together?

Where does the majority of the team live - residence halls or off-campus?

What is the food like - are there adequate healthy food options?

Remember, you are using your official visits to determine where you will study and run for the next four years. Use this limited time wisely. It is important to understand that the coaching staff and team members are evaluating you as well. Enjoy yourself and get to know as many people as you can, knowing that when you leave campus the coach will ask the team about their perceptions of you.

Leave a positive impression, and remember do not be afraid to ask questions!

COLLEGE TRACK AND FIELD RECRUITING - Three Things Parents Must Understand Going into the Recruiting Process

by Willy Wood

During my 30-year college coaching career, I have had direct contact with approximately 10,000 cross country/track and field recruits of varying degrees of ability; from the No. 1 ranked athlete in the USA, to a high school cross country team's seventh runner.

One of the most common remarks made to me by their parents was how challenging it is to navigate the recruiting process, particularly if it is your first time. There is a place for everyone, whether it be at a power five school, an Ivy League institution, an NCAA I mid-major driven by revenue income generation for the university, through increased enrollment or NCAA Division II / III and NAIA schools. Identifying that right school and program for your child is the greatest challenge.


The copious amounts of information you will receive from college coaches, other parents, former and current college athletes, and the staff members at your high school will undoubtedly prove daunting. You have your work cut out for you, but if you start to logically piece together a plan of action you will be just fine.

Here are the most critically important underlying themes that as parents you need to understand going into this process:

1) THIS IS A BUSINESS

You and your child are looking for the best deal possible. In turn, the coach who is recruiting you is looking for the very best athletes they can sign. Even in the sport of track and field, there is great pressure upon coaches to win. While I was a college coach, I had bonuses written into my contract that would pay me an additional 15-50% of my annual income based solely upon performance. It is important to not lose sight of the fact that this endeavor is an oddly two-sided equation.

You have the business aspect on one side, but you also have a personal relationship between the coach and athlete on the other side. The relationship in many ways will determine the success of this business endeavor. The relationship your child possesses with his coach will impact your child's overall college experience and quality of their running career. If at all possible, don't simply settle for the money -- there is too much at stake. Fight for the best deal that you are able to obtain, but don't give away quality of life for the deal.

2) EMPOWER YOUR CHILD

As a coach, one of the biggest red flags our staff identified during the early stages of the recruiting process was overly involved parents. I cannot enumerate the number of times our staff uttered a comment such as "Can we truly trust this person in the heat of battle if their parents do everything for them?" It is imperative that you have your child initiate all communication throughout the recruiting process. I would suggest strict adherence to the following areas:

Do not send e-mails on their behalf. It lessens their viability. As a coach, I received far too many, "I know they are my son/daughter, but they are truly amazing" letters and e-mails.

Make them speak even when they do not want to. They should answer the phone and ask questions. You are not a screening service. If the coach is not important enough for you to speak with, eliminate that school from your shortlist.

Let them shine. On official, or unofficial, visits take a backseat to your child. Let them read from the list of questions you created together. Avoid speaking on their behalf or interjecting to clarify for them. Walk a couple of steps behind when touring the campus so they may converse directly to the coach or student host.

3) KNOW YOUR ROLE

Although it is important to give your child independence and let them lead the way-- guide them! Help them eliminate programs and schools to move forward in a logical direction that narrows down their options. Review their correspondences to coaches to ensure that their intent matches their wording.

Help them weed through all the hype of the recruiting pitches they will hear. In track and field, every program will sell themselves as up and coming -- most aren't! Do your research and try to determine if team members are quitting if they have an alarming number of injuries if there is truly a positive trajectory toward improvement.

The entire recruiting process can be daunting if you do not do your research. However, if you create a sound plan of attack it will be an amazing experience. You are helping your child with a monumental step in their lives. Do it wisely!

***

Willy Wood boasts 26 highly successful years of NCAA Division I head coaching experience, two decades of which were spent at Columbia University. He recently developed a recruiting service designed specifically for high school track and field/ cross country athletes -- www.fasttrackrecruiting.com

COLLEGE TRACK AND FIELD RECRUITING: How To Use Unofficial Visits To Your Advantage

The NCAA defines an unofficial visit as any visit to a college campus paid for by you or your parents. The NCAA permits an unlimited number of unofficial visits throughout the recruiting process. The only restriction placed on unofficial visits is during an NCAA "Dead Period."

During a Dead Period, a college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents, on or off campus. Be sure to double-check the NCAA Recruiting Calendar before making travel arrangements to ensure that you are able to meet with the coaching staff.

Do not assume the coach will automatically know dead period dates off the top of their head -- do your research. (NAIA institutions place no restrictions on unofficial visits.) A copy of the NCAA 2017-2018 Recruiting Calendar may be found here.

Because prospective student-athletes are starting the recruiting process much earlier, the NCAA has passed new legislation that will make the coordination of your unofficial visit significantly easier.

SEE - NCAA BYLAW: 13.1.3.3.2 UNOFFICIAL-VISIT EXCEPTION

Institutional staff members may make unlimited telephone calls to a prospective student-athlete (or those individuals accompanying him or her) beginning the day immediately preceding the prospective student-athletes unofficial visit (per Bylaw 13.7) until the conclusion of the visit. If more than the otherwise permissible number of calls or otherwise impermissible calls occur under this exception and a scheduled unofficial visit is canceled due to circumstances beyond the control of the prospective student-athlete or the institution (e.g., trip is canceled by the prospective student-athlete, inclement weather conditions), such calls shall not be considered institutional violations. However, the institution shall submit a report to the conference office noting the cancellation of the unofficial visit and the reasons for such cancellation.

As of August 1, 2017, it is now permissible for NCAA coaches to call, text, or email a recruit the day prior to their visit, even if that is not normally allowed. This legislative change will benefit freshmen, sophomores, and rising juniors who would not have previously been permitted to communicate with coaches unless they initiated the contact themselves.

For example, coaches are now able to send you an itinerary the day before your scheduled unofficial visit, text you directions if you are having trouble finding their office, or give you a call to let you know that they will meet you after the tour in a specific locale. Such communication was not permissible before.

During an unofficial visit, it is typical for a coach to give you a tour of their athletic facilities, talk to you and your parents about their institution, and highlight their program. In addition to this athlete-specific portion of the visit, I advise scheduling a formal campus tour through the admissions office to view the school from a non-athletic perspective.

Email the coach well ahead of time to let them know the specific date that you will be visiting their campus and your desire to meet with them. Provide the coach with a couple of times you are able to meet -- usually before or after the campus tour. I suggest starting unofficial visits at the completion of your sophomore year.

Unofficial visits can help in two primary ways. For a recruited athlete, unofficial visits are critical in gathering information as you begin to narrow down your choices. For a non-recruited athlete, unofficial visits allow you the opportunity to have a face-to-face meeting with the coach to tell your story.

If you are a recruited athlete, 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 your most critical factors. You should view unofficial visits as a means to narrow your choices -- not as a mechanism to determine where you want to go. Keep in mind that during an unofficial visit you are typically only hearing the voice of the coach. Coaches are well versed in knowing what to say and how best to sell their programs. The official visit will prove much more informative.

If you are a non-recruited athlete, the unofficial visit serves an entirely different purpose. Use this time to sell yourself. You have a limited amount of time to convince the coach that you are more than your current PR's. Give them a reason to want to recruit you. Instead of asking a detailed list of questions, use this time to express your keen interest in their program and desire to run competitively in college. Be as low-maintenance as possible.

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.

COLLEGE TRACK RECRUITING - How I Made My College Decision - Thomas Razo

Create A Formula - COLLEGE TRACK AND FIELD RECRUITING
Thomas Razo - Middle Distance - Bradley University / LOCKPORT HS, IL

My personal experience with the recruiting process was that it can be very overwhelming in its early stages. I remember receiving letters from coaches from smaller schools early in my high school career. At that point, I still had no idea what I wanted to specialize in for an academic major and I was unsure how fast I could run to determine which route I wanted to go (i.e. NCAA, NAIA, Junior College, etc.).

I was a very mediocre runner in my first three years of high school and did not start to become an elite runner in the state until my senior season. Going into my last year I had no resources available to me to get in touch with college coaches at the schools where I wanted to run. Luckily, my dad is a high school coach (and was my high school coach) and was very instrumental in getting me connected with college coaches around the nation. Without his help, I do not know how I would have connected with the coaches I had a chance to talk with throughout the recruiting process. I began to narrow my choices down based on several factors.

My parents emphasized from the beginning that the three most important factors to look at when choosing a school are: cost, academic reputation for the program you want to go into, and the ability to run for the team. Running was very important to me, but I realized it should not be the lone deciding factor in a school. I went on several official visits and evaluated each scholarship package that was offered to me. Once the visit portion of the process concluded, I sat down with my family and evaluated each option that was available to me. Using a simple formula comprised of the three factors I mentioned above (cost, reputation, and running) my choice quickly became apparent. Bradley University offered me far more opportunities than the other schools I considered could and became my obvious choice.

After graduating with my Master’s Degree, I sometimes reflect on my 4.5 years at Bradley. It was filled with many good athletic memories and accomplishments and provided me with a top-notch education. If I had to do the recruiting process all over again I would not change my decision. I can honestly say I had the best experience in terms of student-athlete life and academics. One thing I wish I had available to me in high school, is a recruiting tool I could have used to get on coaches’ radars more quickly than I was able to five years ago. I think you will find Fast Track Recruiting to be a very useful resource at your disposal. They have actual connections to large and small programs across the country. My father has sent many athletes to the next level and spent 30 years developing relationships with some coaches. However, there are few high school coaches with these connections, therefore having Fast Track Recruiting at your disposal will improve your chances of landing at the right destination and having no regrets. Everyone should be able to look back at their experience after graduating from college and be 100 percent certain they made the right decision for them.

COLLEGE TRACK RECRUITING - Admission Spot vs. Scholarship Money

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A Coach's Perspective - COLLEGE TRACK AND FIELD RECRUITING
WILL BOYLAN-PETT: Former Head Coach - NYU; Former Assistant Coach - Columbia University

One of the biggest misnomers in Cross Country /Track and Field recruiting (and non-revenue sports in general) is the fact that so very few athletes are on full ride scholarships. When you break down the numbers it makes sense; a fully funded men’s team has 12 scholarships and a fully funded women’s team has 18. Add that to the fact that very few colleges actually fully fund their track and field teams and you can see why few athletes are getting that much scholarship money. Now while this reality may seem harsh, it does not mean that there is not plenty of opportunities to use your abilities to better your college opportunities.

One of the most underutilized uses of college recruitment is when an athlete gets into a school that they normally would not because they can run fast. Specifically, coaches in the Ivy League and all Division 3 schools, neither of which give merit-based scholarships, can help you gain admission to their schools. The average SAT score in Harvard’s incoming class is 2260, yet IVY League rules would allow for a coach to take an athlete with a score as low as 1500. While the guidelines are not as clear in Division 3, the application is still the same, a coach can help you get into a school that you may otherwise not be admitted.

Now let’s get to the best part: IVY League schools all offer great financial aid packages and Division 3 schools offer financial aid and are allowed to offer non-athletic scholarships. Not only can you use your athletic prowess to get into a great school, but it could also end up being the best financial option. Unless you are in the rare group that is getting offered full-ride scholarships the IVY League or Division 3 schools will many times be the best financial option; beating out partial scholarship offers and in-state tuition options. Further, most schools offer financial aid calculators so you can get an idea of what the cost would be, there is no waiting game on a coach saying they may be able to give you 25-50% scholarship but are not sure.

The most important part of all of this is making sure you put your name out there! Let Fast Track Recruiting help you identify which schools would be viable options for you and tell your story to ensure maximum attention from those coaches. Knowledge of the process and putting yourself out there are the two biggest keys to a successful college recruitment process; let Fast Track lead the way for you and get you results you desire.