Tracking The Nation's Top Commitments

* Sydney Sundgren competes in the 3,200m during the CIF outdoor state series

Photo Credit: DeAnna Turner/California MileSplit

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With the heat rising toward the opening of this year's National Signing Day on Nov. 9, we are beginning to witness an onslaught of commitments.

In recent days, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Cal Poly, among others, have received promises from elite high school athletes ahead of the NLI date. 

Below, we've tracked some of the top athletes over that stretch and offered some thoughts on their pledges. 

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Top Commitment Central: Where are these athletes heading?

Noah Breker, Robbinsdale Armstrong (MN)

Joe Sapone, Georgia Holy Innocent's Episcopal School


Commitment: North Carolina

In recent years, North Carolina has formed a track record for landing some of the top recruiting classes in the country. 

And with the recent commitments of Breker and Sapone, the Tar Heels landed Minnesota's top XC athlete of 2022 and potentially Georgia's best this fall, too. 

Already, Sapone has shown a critical characteristic for someone looking to compete at the highest of levels: He's a gamer. In his last two races, Sapone has clocked two sub-15 performances while also out-kicking his competition by mere hundredths of a second. He's also the returning 1A private state champion in XC and owns PRs of 1:52.69 in the 800m, 4:11.78 in the 1,600m and 4:09.64 in the full mile.

Breker, meanwhile, is amid a breakthrough cross country campaign where he's won five straight races and has clocked a 5K PR of 14:57.20. He owns outdoor PRs of 4:13.99 in the 1,600m and 9:03.25 in the 3,200m. He also won a state championship in the latter event over the 2022 season. 

UNC head coach Chris Miltenberg has focused on recruiting gritty, accomplished athletes over his stretch leading the Tar Heels. Breker and Sapone both fit that profile to a T. 

The Tar Heels are ranked No. 10 in the most recent national poll. 

Maddox Hamm, Scottsboro


Commitment: Virginia Tech 

Simply put, the Hokies landed the nation's top pole vaulter over the most recent 2022 indoor and outdoor seasons. With clearances over 18 feet across both campaigns, Hamm was in a league of his own last year. 

You can't land an athlete much better than him at the discipline.

So VT won big with Hamm, who recorded outdoor marks of 18-1, 17-10, 17-10 and 17-9. He finished his indoor campaign with a best of 18-0.5 and secondary clearances of 17-6 and 17-4. 

Few high school boys athletes have ever cleared 18 feet ... and Hamm accomplished that feat as a junior. 

Sydney Sundgren, Buchanan (CA)


Commitment: Cal Poly 

Sundgren is perhaps the exact kind of athlete Cal Poly head coach Ryan Vanhoy is aiming to sign: Considered one of the best runners in her state, but potentially a little underrated.

Make no mistake, though. Sundgren is a big talent. With an 800m PR of 2:16.69, a 1,600m best of 4:49.67 and a 3,200m PR of 10:21.73, she was ranked 74th, 16th and 12th in those categories across California. 

But better yet, Sundgren has shown great leadership, leading Buchanan to a runner-up finish at cross country nationals last year, in a race where she was named an All-American. She's also clocked a three-mile best of 16:03.30 and a 5K PR of 16:59.99. Scary good. 

Alex Leath, Vestavia Hills (AL)

Aidan Cox, Coe Brown Academy (NH)

Tatum David, Olney (IL)


Commitment: Virginia

The Cavaliers have thus far landed some pretty impressive recruits. On the longer distance front, Cox is an athlete with an impressive pedigree: Last December, he clocked New Hampshire's fastest 5K on grass ever, going 14:18.43 at the Garmin RunningLane XC Championships. So far this fall he's responded with similar performances, hitting 14:32.50 on the clock in his most recent race.   

Those times have come amid a big growth spurt. So have we seen the best of Cox yet? He's gone 4:18.67 for 1,600m and 9:00.75 for 3,200m. His signing could be a very good coup for a program that just landed one of the top athletes of 2022, Archbishop Wood's Gary Martin. 

On the women's side of things, David has been a bright spot across her career, posting times of 2:12.43 for 800m, 4:47.52 for 1,600m and 10:04.02 for 3,200m. Those last two times, respectively, came in her last races of the 2022 calendar year, at the Illinois state championships.

Meanwhile, Leath is a lethal mid-distance runner who's posted times of 49.21 in the 400m, 1:51.51 in the 800m and 4:15.66 in the 1,600m.

Virginia is ranked No. 19 in the most recent national poll for cross country. 

Reese Vannerson, Houston Strake Jesuit (TX)


Commitment: Project Podium (Triathlon)

Sometimes, you get an athlete like Vannerson, who is elite across a variety of skillsets. He's reminiscent of Austin Hindman, the former Missouri runner and state champion who was a World Junior triathlon champion.

On the track, the Texan has been impressive at 1,500m (4:00.70), 1,600m (4:12.67) and in the 3,200m (9:01.17). This past spring, he was the runner-up in the Class 5A 3,200m at the Texas state outdoor championships. 

When the time comes, Vannerson will sign with Project Podium, which is a nationally-elite developmental triathlon group.

In the triahlon alone, he's scored big wins like the 2022 Europe Triathlon Junior Cup in Dusseldorf, Germany, and and made the podium at the World Triathlon Sprint and Relay Championships, finishing third. In his most recent competitions, in June and July, he was 10th and 8th, respectively. 

He's currently ranked No. 17 in the junior (U20) continental triathlon rankings by World Triathlon. 

Elliott McArthur, Mounds View (MN)


Commitment: NC State

McArthur has the profile of a runner who's talented and team-first, and that likely suited his choice well with NC State, which is building a solid corps under head men's coach Rollie Geiger. In recent years, the Woflpack have picked up Matt Bogdan (Colts Neck, NJ), Ryan Motondo (Walter Williams, NC) and Jimmy Mullarkey (Fern Creek, NJ). 

McArthur is a really good catch. As a sophomore, he ran 4:11.88 in the full mile and then followed in his junior campaign with personal records of 4:14.46 in the 1,600m and 9:16.16 in the 3,200m. With one year left, McArthur could certainly eye up, at the very least, Minnesota's top time of 4:06.49 in the 1,600m.

Tyrone Gorze, Crater (OR)

William Schneider, Bishop Blanchet (WA)


Commitment: Washington

You have to give it to Washington. It's not often that a neighboring state wins the courtship of the rival state's best all-around runner -- with that state being Oregon. But Andy Powell has a track record for making athletes significantly better under his stewardship.

And Gorze is a prize. The Crater senior is a national-title contender in cross country with a three-mile best of 13:42.80 and a 5K PR of 14:43.10. He's coming off a wild 5K this past weekend, where he ran 14:11.38 on the track October. By spring, Gorze could dip under 14 minutes. 

Moreover, he qualified for the World U20 Championships in both the 3K and 5K this past spring, then performed in the latter event at worlds in Colombia. He finished second in the 1,500m at the Oregon state championships, clocking a time of 4:00.04.

On top of Gorze's commitment, Washington also gained a pledge from one of its own: Schneider is coming off an outdoor season where he won two outdoor titles and ran 4:07.65 for 1,600m and 9:00.36 for 3,200m. He also won a Class 3A title in cross country as a junior. 

Washington is currently ranked No. 26 in the NCAA polls for cross country. 

Jordan Ware, Memphis Central (TN)


Commitment: Mississippi State

Ware is Tennessee's all-time all conditions 100m ace at 10.34w, while he's No. 3 in state history with a wind-legal performance of 10.46. But that's not even his best event. 

Ware really shines in the 200m, where he's clocked a wind-legal time of 21.19 (+0.6) and an all conditions best of 20.94, which puts him at No. 2 in state history. With one indoor season left, Ware ideally could leave as Tennessee's top sprinter of all-time: His sights should be on the 100m record of 10.43 and 21.19.