The Top 11 Recruiting Stories Of The Past Year

* The Newbury Park brothers committed to Stanford University in August

Photo Credit: Leo Young & Lex Young's Instagram

- - - 

We may be biased, but we don't think anyone does high school track and field and cross country recruiting coverage better in the U.S. than us. 

Each week, we publish new stories and features, profile notable athletes and teams and analyze the movers and shakers in the recruiting world. On top of that, we have ranked and re-ranked the top 50 recruits in each class and speak with athletes for interviews and podcasts. 

We'll continue to do that over 2023. 

This past year, as Garrett Zatlin passed off the recruiting reigns to Tim Casey, we haven't missed a beat. Both Garrett and Tim captured fantastic stories over the past year. Tim continues to dive deep into programs from all corners of the NCAA. 

Below, we've gathered our 11 favorite recruiting stories from the last year. If you have a story to tell, email us at

Big Signing News of 2022: Micah Larry signs with Georgia; Simeon Birnbaum commits to Oregon; Washington earns commitment from Moll sisters; Washington lands Tyrone Gorze

Our 2022 National Letter of Intent Hub

INSIDE RECRUITING: Find all recruiting stories here. 

RECRUITING RUNDOWN: Our post for commitments, signings and recruiting rankings.

Related Links: 

The Class of 2025's Top 50 Girls Recruits: First Edition

The Class of 2025's Top 50 Boys Recruits: First Edition

The Class of 2023's Top 50 Girls Recruits: Fifth Update

The Class of 2023's Top 50 Boys Recruits: Fifth Update

Photo Credit: Butler Athletics

11. Butler's Matt Roe Explains The Nuances Of His Team's Success

- - - 

Publish Date: Aug. 29

Speaking with Butler's Matt Roe earlier this year, Garrett Zatlin learned of the Midwest program's top mission: Identify under-the-radar talent and focus on development. In recent seasons, Roe has capitalized on those goals and has seen some very big results as a result. In November, Roe's team was 21st at NCAAs.

But make no mistake, the development that many Butler athletes have seen throughout Roe's tenure has been going on long before these last few years. "We're unmatched when it comes to developing athletes," Roe said. "Go look at our athletes and their results, you can see how much they are (improved) when they leave Butler."

Photo Credit: Ole Miss Athletics

10. Ryan Vanhoy Is Ready For The Next Step

- - - 

Publish Date: Aug. 22

A coach with a strong pedigree made a difficult decision to move across the country to chase a dream. Here, Garrett Zatlin details Ryan Vanhoy's plans to take Cal Poly to the next level. 

In June, the acclaimed middle- and long-distance coach from Ole Miss announced he was leaving the the Rebels to join Cal Poly, ushering in a truly "Wait, what?" moment across the collegiate track and field space. But for Vanhoy, he was chasing more than just accolades: His decision was about taking the next step in his career, both professionally and with his family along for the ride. 

9. Recruits Who Have Bought Into GVSU Have Made The Difference

- - - 

Publish Date: Nov. 1

It's not all about DI. In November, Lilah Drafts-Johnson tracked the success of Grand Valley State University from a cross country program with no history to one that's become one of the best in Division II. 

In 1999, Jerry Baltes stood in front of the Grand Valley State University cross country team with a red construction hat that his assistant coach, Scott Cook, had found on the side of the road earlier that morning. The brand new head coach told the team he knew it would take time, but together, he said, he wanted to build something. "I think my greatest trait was that I was clueless."

8. Key Recruiting Wins Vaulted Toledo Up The National Ranks

- - - 

Publish Date: Nov. 4

This fall, Toledo head coach Andrea Grove-McDonough qualified her women for their first NCAA appearance since 2014 and for only the fifth time in team history. That should be no surprise. McDonough is one of the hardest-working coaches in the NCAA. Toledo finished 28th at NCAAs in November.

"I told (O'Brien) that if I did not take this team to the NCAAs within five years, I would quit," Grove-McDonough said. "And then I got a new boss, (current athletics director) Bryan Blair (in May 2022), and because I'm an idiot, I said the exact same thing. I could've walked away at that point. Maybe he wouldn't have known the deal I made. But I hold myself to that kind of a standard."

Photo Credit: Gary Kinyanjui/MileSplit

7. Wake Forest Has Made A Statement This NLI Period

- - - 

Publish Date: Oct. 21

How does a program begin its ascent up the NCAA ranks? Recruiting plays a big difference. And for Wake Forest, which recently finished fifth at the NCAA's men's cross country championships, their work is yielding huge results. 

For Wake Forest, securing commitments from these five top recruits is another indication the men's program is on the rise under John Hayes, who has been the director of track and cross country since August 2016.

6. Montverde Academy's Top Recruits Have Bounty Of NCAA Options

- - - 

Publish Date: Oct. 12

This story from October may have been the first indication of the star power brewing at Montverde Academy. With three top 10 ranked recruits in 2023 -- Micah Larry, Micayah Holland and Zyaire Nuriddin -- and a host of other stellar transfers, this central Florida team could have a historic year ahead. College coaches are already flocking to the Orlando-area campus.  

"Scrutinizing and finding the right place is a little bit more difficult because they do all the big things well. They all have great facilities. They all have great coaches. For Micah, I want to make sure it's a place that he feels like it's home and he can see himself living there for four, five years. God willing, he turns pro and he can continue to live there and train if that's an option he wants to pursue."

Photo Credit: MileSplit

5. Oregon's Charm Led To Connor Burns' Commitment

- - - 

Publish Date: Oct. 28

After five official visits, Connor Burns still wasn't sold on a university. And then he took an unofficial to Oregon. Case closed. 

"I was pretty indecisive (about where to go to college). They're all great places to run and great schools. It was going to be a hard decision. And then I went to Oregon and it kind of cleared it up for me."

Photo Credit: David DelPoio/Providence Journal via USA Today Network

4. In 2023, Sophia Gorriaran Plans To Go All-In On Track

- - - 

Publish Date: Dec. 12

Tim Casey unearthed a scoop in December when he learned from Moses Brown star Sophia Gorriaran that she is choosing to focus exclusively on track in college. It was a change in direction from the Rhode Islander, who not only is one of the country's top young middle-distance runners but also a standout lacrosse player. 

Gorriaran is a star lacrosse player, too, and one of the top high schoolers in the U.S. But in college, she has confirmed, she plans on focusing on track, where she has a shot at some day at qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team. As a 16-year-old she qualified for the 800m Trials. 

Photo Credit: Tulsa Athletics

3. Behind Tulsa's Success Recruiting The U.K. Lads

- - - 

Publish Date: Sept. 23

How has the University of Tulsa's men's cross country program recruited some of the best international talents in the NCAA? It's not luck. As Tim Casey learned, Tulsa head coach Steve Gulley has built phenomenal word-of-mouth in England, Ireland and the U.K., and that in turn has developed a pipeline that continues to boost this small program from Northeast Oklahoma into the upper echelons of the NCAA. The men of Tulsa finished ninth at NCAAs this year. 

Most of the runners from outside of the U.S. who signed with Tulsa didn't even visit the campus before enrolling, according to the Gulleys. That includes Dalton and Power, two of the program's top runners, and two current freshmen: Johnny Livingstone from England and Chanel Muir from New Zealand.

Photo Credit: Oregon Athletics

2. Jerry Schumacher Joins Oregon. Here's What That Means.

- - - 

Publish Date: July 18

The news of Jerry Schumacher joining the University of Oregon in July reverberated across the NCAA. The former Bowerman Track Club coach carried cache not only with pros but with collegians alike, and now at Oregon, he has an opportunity to build the Ducks back up on in his image. Could Oregon slot itself next to NAU and BYU and compete for XC championships again? Already, Oregon has signed Connor Burns, Simeon Birnbaum, Tayson Echohawk Kate Peters and Lily Cridge.

Jerry Schumacher, the famed coach of Nike Bowerman Track Club, was hired on July 11 to lead the Oregon men's and women's programs as the team's newest Director of Track & Field and Cross Country. This move is a massive one.

Photo Credit: Lex & Leo Young's Instagram

1. Stanford Was Loaded. And Then It Landed Lex And Leo. 

- - - 

Publish Date: Aug. 8

Our most read recruiting story of 2022 was Garrett Zatlin's piece on Lex and Leo Young, who committed and then signed with Stanford University over the National Letter of Intent period. The L&L brothers have carved out special careers with Newbury Park over their tenures with the Panthers, and with two seasons left, perhaps there's more history left to chase. 

On paper, Stanford is a team that could contend for NCAA gold. However, as it currently stands, the Cardinal men don't seem to have a varsity lineup that is as complete or as deep as what Northern Arizona brings to the table. With Lex and Leo, Stanford inches closer to bridging the gap.