Can I run cross country in college?
> YES! Most runners on our team have an opportunity to participate at some level
How fast do I have to run in high school to make college running a realistic goal?
> Data on 2019 top 7 conference participants for Georgia schools for guys below. Includes their high school senior year 1600/3200M prs. What do the #s say? There is a place on a college XC team for all kinds of runners.
> Remember, this list only includes the 7 people running the best for each school.
> Keep in mind that 1,600M prs don't always translate to 6K, 8K or 10K college XC.
> Many larger D1 cross country schools also have "club" teams.
What is college running like?
> Each schools team environment varies greatly. The coach sets the tone.
> The competitive side of the sports is often elevated.
> Goofy fun, if it exists, is almost entirely athlete driven and away from practice.
> Teams are smaller than what you are used to in high school.
> Races are faster. Crowds are smaller. Team rah/rah activities more subdued.
> Friendship opportunities are still very available and apparent on college XC teams. Just like in high school running, the best part of college running is the friends you will make. Especially at big schools, it is good to "have your people".
> One huge bonus to college athletes is being able to select classes early.
How hard is it to juggle college class responsibilities and running?
> College running often takes more time for an average day than what you are used to in high school running. It is not uncommon to have 2 practices a day for running and cross training/strength development or one several hour long practice session.
> Races happen less frequently, but require more overnight travel. If you college does indoor track, you may compete fall, winter and spring.
> Because college class schedules are not jammed packed 5 days a week, there is ample time to study, rest & enjoy campus activities.
> Just like in high school, a commitment to a team means that a student athlete has to make prioritization decisions in how they best use their time. Student athletes are rarely successful in school or sports if they attempt to get involved in too many activities at the same time. Fraternity/sorority life and college running aren't a good mix. Party animal life and college running are not a good mix.
Can I get a scholarship?
> At D1 level, only national caliber athletes typically get athletic scholarships.
> D2 scholarships are available, but each school is funded differently.
> D3 typically do not offer athletic scholarships, but offer academic scholarships.
> Out of state schools will sometimes wave the out of state tuition.
> Fully funded D1/D2 programs have 12.6 scholarships for men.
> Fully funded D1 programs have 18 scholarships for women. D2 = 12.6
> Fully funded NAIA schools have 12 scholarship for both men and women
> These scholarship cover track and XC. Many schools are not fully funded.
> By far, the vast majority of all track/XC scholarships are partial scholarships.
> Many/most college runners are "walk ons". Some, if they perform at consistently high levels earn scholarships after they enroll.
How do I go about trying to get on a college team?
> For D1 or D2, you have to fill out a form and pay a fee to be certified and eligible
> Follow up after a few weeks with an email, letter, or phone call to the coach. Be prepared for the phone call with a list of thoughtful questions that show the coach you are interested in the school and their program and have done some research on your own to become knowledgeable.
What to do, think about and ask about if you make a school visit?
> Make sure you are excited about the academic programs at the school and that the size of the school and general feel of the college appeals to you first and foremost. Running won't be great if you aren't happy with the school.
> Talk to people who are running for the school or used to run for the school to get their impressions on the vibe of the team, coaching philosophy, etc.
> Ask about retention. How many runners who start as freshmen stay on the team through graduation? Ask about improvement. Do runners get better? Ask about injury. What is a school's injury rate?
> Ask about the coach? Is he/she open and available? How does he/she treat runners who are injured or if they have a bad race or tough season? What, if anything, does the coach do to build team bonding and maintain good team moral? What is the team's competitive objective? Conference place? Make it to nationals? How often do they reach their objectives? What kind of meets does the team go to for experience and how much travel is involved? Is the team more of a "track first" team in priority or is the program "cross country first" focused?