After one season at the University of Missouri, Austin Hindman has decided to turn professional in the triathlon.
Hindman, a blue-chip running prospect in the Class of 2017 who signed with the Tigers after producing a 4:04.53 mile and 8:43.40 3200m while at Lafayette High School, became only the third American to become a World Junior Triathlon Champion in 2016. He later finished 29th in 2017.
The 19-year-old is leaving Missouri to join Project Podium, a program affiliated with the USA Triathlon Federation which specializes in the development of American male triathletes. Hindman has aspirations of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
"I have been provided a tremendous opportunity to be included in an Olympic development program 'Project Podium' with USA Triathlon," Hindman said. "With this, I have made the decision to leave my Mizzou family in hopes of achieving my dream of becoming an Olympic athlete. I am so grateful to Mizzou, Coach Burns, Coach Halter, the athletic staff and my team for all their support over the past year. Although I am excited to pursue my triathlon development, I will always cherish my time at Mizzou and will miss being a part of this great team."
In one year with Missouri, Hindman ran cross country with the Tigers and was named to the All-SEC indoor team in track and field, posting a 3K PR of 8:16.16 and an indoor mile best of 4:12.39. The Missouri native finished 13th at the SEC Indoor Championships in 8:21.48. He last competed for Missouri in February and finished 23rd in the Magog Camtri Sprint Triathlon American Cup in July in Canada.
In June of 2017, MileSplit profiled Hindman ahead of the adidas Boost Boston Games, where he had hoped to break 4-minutes in the mile.
As a prep athlete, Hindman won nine Missouri state championships in track and cross country, was a member of three state title teams, and set Class 5 state meet records in the 1600 and 3200, as well as the all-time 3200 state record of 8:43.40.
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MileSplit National Producer Cory Mull contributed to this report