If you're an athlete and interested in joining a track and field program collegiately, get ready to compete to earn your spot.
But keep in mind one thing: NCAA Division I athletics isn't exclusive to just American athletes.
And that's been a major shift in the quest for talent acquisition. Coaches, and their directors and coordinators of recruiting, now spend more time on international recruiting sites, painstakingly digging into results-based sites like Tilastopaja and IAAF.
It would be naive to think that talent is only here, stateside.
So team's have broadened their scopes and moved some of their resources to talent overseas. But in the NCAA, it's also working. International student-athletes are helping programs win national championships, they're making
school history, and they're even setting event records for their home countries.
With the NCAA
Cross Country Championships less than three weeks away, the Northern
Arizona University men's program is one such example. The Lumberjacks haven't given up on the strategy that's brought them to new
In 2016, NAU won its first ever national title, and it's proceeded to scoop up two more in ensuing years, with each team featuring at least one scoring
The 'Jacks won their fourth consecutive Nuttycombe Invite with two of
five scorers -- Geordie Beamish (New Zealand) and Theo Quax (New Zealand) -- arriving from overseas, though two more, Luis Grijalva (Guatemala) and Abdihamid Nur (Somalia), were taught in American high schools but have origins in other countries.
Heading into the Big Sky Conference Championships, NAU sits at No. 1 on the USTFCCCA Coaches' Poll for the 27th straight week.
University of New Mexico's women's team has become a hub for international talent. The Lobos' 2019
roster includes nine international athletes from Australia, Israel, the UK, Kenya
and Canada. In 2015, the New Mexico women won their first title with four international
athletes hailing from England and Scotland, scoring in the top 25.
The Lobos won
again in 2017, led by Kenya's Ednah Kurgat who earned the team's first ever
individual NCAA title -- after transferring in from Liberty University. The following year the team was a runner-up, with five international
athletes completing the lineup of seven.
This season is no different, either, as the
Lobos will compete in their conference championships with a heavy international
presence which includes Adva Cohen, Lydia Hallam, Gracelyn Larkin, Hannah Nuttall and Kurgat.
At the 2019
NCAA Outdoor Championships, there were athletes from 56 countries and about 29
percent of the total competition were not from the U.S. Athletes from Jamaica (42), Canada (25) and Kenya (17) were the top producers of NCAA talent, while Australia (15) followed close behind.
Let's not forget the field events. This discipline had the most international presence within First Team All-Americans.
And it's in the men's
throws where there tends to be some significant overseas talent. The men of Mississippi
State performed the second ever sweep of the javelin at the championships.
Grenada-born Anderson Peters defended his title, broke the meet record, set a new Grenada
national record and school record. His performance was only the beginning, though, as he went on to win the javelin at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Then, in the men's
triple jump at the NCAA Championships, half of its athletes were international athletes.
Zimbabwe-born Chengetayi Mapaya, a sophomore at Texas Christian University, took home the national title in 56 feet, 2.5-inches.
Following the program record-breaking performance, he went on to compete for
Zimbabwe at the IAAF World Championships.
For the women, Kansas
State's Shardia Lawrence won the triple jump championship on her final attempt. The Jamaican athlete set a new school record with a leap of 45-10.75 and became the first woman
in the program's history to win a title in that event.
Meanwhile, Lawrence's teammate Tejaswin Shankar took second place in the high jump after winning as a
freshman in 2018. The jumper from New Delhi, India, owns the Indian National
record both indoors (7-05.75) and outdoors (7-06).
But the Wildcats of Kansas State are also known for their nationally successful jumpers and multi-event
standouts. The program has 10 international
athletes between its men's and women's teams in those two event groups alone.
and University of Florida standout Yanis David won the NCAA outdoor long jump with a mark of 22-5.25, which is the third-farthest jump in outdoor championship history.
He followed that performance with a second-place finish in the triple jump,
which is the third farthest in collegiate history. She ended her career as
the only woman to have all-time outdoor top 10 marks in the long and triple
On the track, Oregon's women have had three top-five performances from their international athletes.
Australian-born Jessica Hull, who turned pro after the season, placed second behind Oklahoma State's Sinclair Johnson
in the 1,500m, though she won the 1,500m in 2018 and was a part of the team's national
championship DMR. With that 1,500m win in 2018, she became
the third Duck in school history to win a title in that event.
Meanwhile, teammate Susan Ejore (Kenya) ran 2:02.26 and posted a fourth-place finish in the 800m. Last season, she became the
first woman in program history to win USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week the
cross country season. Completing that trio is Carmela Cardama Baez, a native of Spain, who earned a runner-up finish in the 10K with a time of 33:11.56. In 2015, she also qualified
for Spain's World Cross Country Championship team and won Spain's Junior National
Cross Country title in 2014.
|name||ncaa program||native country||event||ncaa finish|
|Charlotte Prouse||New Mexico||Canada||3KSC||2nd|
In the hurdles,
Janeek Brown helped lead Arkansas to another national title. The sophomore set new
program records in the 100-meter hurdles (12.40) and 200m (22.40). Her national
title performance in the hurdles is the second fastest in NCAA History, which
led her to be named a Bowerman Finalist. After the conclusion of the season,
Brown turned professional to compete for her home of Jamaica.
Fellow Bowerman finalist, former Texas Tech athlete and current pro Divine Oduduru by far had the biggest international impact at the NCAA Championships. The Nigerian native won the 100m and 200m, with new world leads, and then helped Texas Tech place third in the 4x100m to
lead the Raiders to their first national championship.
University of Florida's
Hakim Sani Brown, a native of Japan, also had an impressive international showing in the sprints.
Prior to his U.S. collegiate debut, he was the youngest 200m
finalist in world championship history.
At the championships, Sani Brown was
the second leg for the collegiate record-breaking 4x100m. He also placed third
in the 100m, breaking the Japanese record in 9.97 and ran the second fastest
time in his country's history in the 200m (20.08).