National 1,600m Record-Holder Shifts To NAIA Program

Perhaps its never too late to make a life-changing decision.

This week, Addy Wileythe '22 Huntington North High School graduate and newly-minted national record-holder in the 1,600m -- not to mention a fifth-place finisher in the 1,500m at the World U20 Championships in August -- reversed course from her NLI to the University of Colorado, one of the NCAA's powers in track and field, in favor of NAIA program Huntington University, where her coach, Lauren Johnson, is currently the head coach of the men's cross country program and primarily a distance coach for the school's men's and women's track and field teams.  

The move represents a shocking one for Wiley, 18, who was considered among the best high school distance runners in the Class of 2022. 

This past spring, Wiley went on to run state record times of 2:04 in the 800m, 4:15.53 in the 1,500m and 4:26.16 in the 1,600m.

According to the Indy Star, Wiley became the only athlete to ever win the Indiana state double in the 800m and 1,600m -- and she would ultimately do it twice, both in 2021 and 2022. Wiley told the Indy Star in recent days that Huntington University will allow her to race a more flexible schedule. 

On a local message board explaining her decision, Wiley wrote: "When I got back from Worlds, I told Lauren I wanted to continue working with her. I put her in a very tough position." 

Wiley, though, ultimately leaned on that trust and belief from her coach to make the decision. She said of the NCAA, "I don't think the Division I system is for me at this time." 

She also said she believes Johnson, a professional runner who once ran for adidas, can nurture her talent and potentially lead her toward a successful path. 

"I've had such a successful end to my high school career and if my goals are beyond collegiate running, I'll have to do some unique training to nurture that talent." 

Back in June, Wiley's unreal performance of 4:26.16 for 1,600m at the GVSU Midwest Redemption meet was actually faster -- when considering the conversion -- than Mary Cain's overall national high school mile record of 4:28.35. 

Wiley would be running for her hometown university under Johnson, who graduated from Huntington as one of its most decorated athletes in history. Johnson -- her maiden name is Davenport -- actually competed in three sports across her collegiate career, including the track, basketball  and cross country teams. Wiley is a former soccer player. 

Johnson previously ran for the Oregon Track Club Elite in the mid-2010s.