Rocky Hansen Is A Recruit To Watch Out For At RunningLane

* Rocky Hansen ran a time of 4:02 in the 1,600m in April

Photo Credit: Dan Loughlin/MileSplit

By Garrett Zatlin - MileSplit Recruiting Correspondent

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It's not easy being a high school runner who is competing in the middle or long distances, at least not in this era.

Archbishop Wood's Gary Martin (PA) just ran a 3:57.98 mile only a few months after Newbury Parks' Colin Sahlman (CA) ran a 3:58 mile on the indoor oval. Fellow Newbury Park star Lex Young recently posted a time of 13:43 for 5,000 meters, while his brother Leo Young ran 4:00 in the mile back in March.

We also can't forget about Marshall County's Cade Flatt (TX), an electric 800 meter talent who has run 1:47 for the half-mile distance, or Will Sumner, who broke two national records indoors at the 500m and 600m distances.

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* Rocky Hansen in the 1 mile boys championship at adidas Track Nationals

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But while these current superstars continue to garner national headlines, there is one distance running prospect who deserves your attention more than ever.

His name is Rocky Hansen.

The Class of 2023 standout from Christ School in North Carolina has a fascinating resume. And next week at at the RunningLane Track Championships, we're going to see first-hand just far his star is rising. 

Many of Hansen's times across the middle and long distances are plenty strong. However, on numerous occasions, he seemingly appears to be racing for the win or settling team points.

But when Hansen is in hyper competitive fields, he turns into a completely new runner. These next two weekends, its fair to suggest, could be major boons for Hansen. 

For instance, he's run the 1,600 meters four times this spring. In those four races, he has earned three wins; but there was only one race where he ran faster than 4:15.

That race came at the Carolina Distance Carnival, where the current junior blasted a monster time of 4:02. When converting to a full mile (1,609 meters), Hansen's time unofficially becomes 4:04.

It would be easy to look at Hansen's string of 1,600 meter performances this season and think that this was maybe a one-time deal.

Of course, that thought process would ultimately be ignoring his 8:51 mark for 3,200 meters at Arcadia, or his one mile and two-mile national titles from Adidas Track Nationals this past winter.

Here's a fun fact: When you include conversions, Hansen is the top non-senior miler in the country who isn't from Newbury Park.

He's also the eighth-fastest combined runner at both the 1,600m and 3,200m distances. 

rankname1,600m pr3,200m prcombined
1Colin Sahlman - Newbury Park (SS)4:03.768:33.3212:37.08
2Lex Young - Newbury Park (SS)4:03.138:35.7212:38.85
3Leo Young - Newbury Park (SS)3:59.328:39.5712:38.89
4Gary Martin - Archbishop Wood3:59.558:41.5712:41.12
5Christopher Caudillo - Clovis (CS)4:03.838:45.1912:49.02
6Aaron Sahlman - Newbury Park (SS)4:03.578:48.2812:51.85
7Zane Bergen - Niwot High School4:08.548:44.7112:53.25
8Rocky Hansen - Christ School4:02.888:51.6012:54.48
9Ethan Coleman - Olympia High School4:10.108:51.0913:01.19
10Simeon Birnbaum - Rapid City Stevens High School4:06.518:55.2213:01.73

If you applied that same practice to the 3,200 meters, you'll find that only California's Christopher Caudillo and Newbury Park's junior trio sit ahead of Hansen. 

In other words, if you remove a portion of southern California and the Class of 2022, then Hansen might be the best junior distance prospect that the country has to offer.

Hansen's recent rise is a huge development for schools like North Carolina, Duke and NC State as they won't have to travel far to recruit this in-state star.

The Tar Heels would make plenty of sense as a landing spot for Hansen. Over the last few years, they have become one of the more aggressive pursuers of distance talent throughout the country. After all, coach Chris Miltenberg has shifted the identity of this team to focus on the longer distances.

    NC State is always a respectable program that will need to soon replace the eventual departure of veteran Ian Shanklin. Hansen would fit into that role nicely.

    The same can be said for Duke as they will soon be without graduate student and former Yale standout Nick Dahl.

    With the resume that Hansen has established, it's fair to suggest that his services will be sought after by almost every major distance program in the country.

    And the best part?

    Hansen still has plenty of time to get even better.

    You just might see it in just two week's time.