* Nico Young has chosen NAU after considering Virginia, North Carolina and Georgetown
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Newbury Park High School senior Nico Young, the reigning NXN champ, 2-time CIF Division 2 state champion and the country's most distinguished record-setting long distance runner of 2019, announced his commitment to Northern Arizona University on Sunday via a video by Tempo Sports.
Young's past two seasons in cross country and his junior campaign in track and field have yielded incredible results, with a national title now under his belt at Nike Cross Nationals and a national-best time of 13:39.70 for 3-miles. He set 5K meet records at NXN and Clovis and a 3-mile mark at Woodbridge, and he was just four seconds off California's all-time best at Woodward Park in Fresno at the state championships in November.
NAU head coach Mike Smith, who guided the Lumberjacks to a second-place performance at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in 2019 and a national championship three-peat in the years prior, can breathe easy now knowing he's welcoming the nation's top distance recruit.
No doubt, Young's commitment officially put out last-gasp interest from Virginia and North Carolina, whose programs, under the new leadership of Vin Lananna (UVA) and Chris Miltenberg (UNC), were hoping for a huge recruiting win. But while Virginia came on late and the hope of a new future in Chapel Hill were intriguing enough, though the Newbury Park senior wasn't swayed.
When MileSplit last updated its Class of 2020 recruits, Young sat at No. 3 overall.
His record on the track is very good, with PRs of 3:48.74 in the 1,500m, 4:08.82 in the 1,600m and 8:40.00 in the 3,200m, though with one season left, Young is aiming for more on the horizon, including an attempt at the national 5K indoor record of 13:57.04, last accomplished by Edward Cheserek in 2012. The outdoor record of 13:37.91, held by Galen Rupp, could also be in jeopardy this spring.