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D3 women's XC/Track recruiting (JHU, Tufts, Pomona, Williams etc.)

goldentrees100goldentrees100 4 replies5 threads New Member
Hi, I'm a high school junior interesting in running at some academically strong D3 schools. I was wondering if anyone has info on what test scores and GPA would be needed to be recruited at those schools, if I run a 19:30 5k and 2:30 800 (I think that I can break 19 next season and also definitely improve more in track). Is it the faster you are the lower your stats need to be? or is there no correlation at all? I've already emailed a coach from one of the schools mentioned and she seemed interested but couldn't give me any concrete info about academics until senior year so if anyone could help me out that would be great thanks!!
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Replies to: D3 women's XC/Track recruiting (JHU, Tufts, Pomona, Williams etc.)

  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 739 replies8 threads Member
    I'm surprised no one's answered you yet. My son is starting recruiting, not in track, so this is just general information-- the closer you are to the school's average accepted students stats the better. And if you have stats in the bottom 25% of accepted students you are probably ok, with coach support.

    Anecdotally, my son has a friend who has been recruited for track who has an offer at Pomona, but doesn't have the grades/scores for Middlebury (even though, generally, Pomona is more selective than Middlebury). So, it really depends on the school for specifics.

    Also anecdotally, we know someone who got into Williams with a 3.4 gpa; however, he was a soccer star, and also earned that gpa at a very rigorous boarding school.

    Work as hard as you can on academics, that's all you can do. And once you are a junior/senior you will be in the best position you can be.
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 606 replies1 threads Member
    edited October 2019
    You need to see admissions profile of admitted students for each college.
    Fill out sport recruiting questionaires.
    Provide test scores, GPA, academic rigor, and event PRs.
    Are you going to NB Nationals?
    See how these colleges did at their conference or NCAA championships. See their rosters. It's a balancing act- how many sprinters, jumpers, long distance runners, etc., each college is seeking will vary depending on injuries or coach specialty.
    For example
    https://www.tfrrs.org/teams/MD_college_f_Johns_Hopkins.html

    Generally coaches will welcome last minute walk -ons if you're able to be admitted academically without coach support.

    There are more distance events in college than high school, so there may be opportunities if a coach is seeking to compete in steeplechase, 10k, etc.
    edited October 2019
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 606 replies1 threads Member
    edited October 2019
    Also see NCAA resource.
    http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/eligibility_center/Student_Resources/CBSA.pdf
    The D3 colleges you are targetting may be hoping that top athletes who don't get into Ivy D1 or other top conferences, will apply. So there may be a trickle down /musical chairs effect, you could find opportunities late your senior year. Or, if top athletes choose and are admitted to the colleges you're interested in, you could have difficulty finding a spot.
    edited October 2019
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  • goldentrees100goldentrees100 4 replies5 threads New Member
    @Hippobirdy @cinnamon1212 thank you for your input!
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  • goldentrees100goldentrees100 4 replies5 threads New Member
    if there are any female runners in the recruiting process or have completed the recruiting process, I’d love some insight
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  • politepersonpoliteperson 424 replies4 threads Member
    You can probably run at most or all of the schools you’ve listed with those times. I’m not sure about getting coaches interested in helping you get admitted though. My guess is that your times aren’t quite in the range for that. I suspect 2:25ish 800 might start to get some interest, but as mentioned above a lot depends on other recruits and what the coach is looking for in that particular year.

    XC times usually matter less than track times given course and condition variation. Coaches usually use place at state, NXR/NXN, Foot Locker to judge XC talent. But really, they want the track times to back up what the XC times or places suggest. If XC is your strength and you can extend your season to include an NXN or FL regional that might be worth doing this year. But most of this is going to depend on what happens in the spring.

    Academics are going to vary by school. Given that right now you don’t know whether a coach will support your application, your best bet is to work as hard as you can on your grades and test scores. Once you get a clear picture next summer it’ll be too late to change much.

    What I’d suggest right now is to finish up your season strong. Then this winter I’d fill out the recruiting forms at schools you’re interested in, follow up with an email to the coach that includes your times, grades, test scores. Mention that you’re interested in learning more about the program and the recruiting process. Then sit back and wait. You should get a good idea of interest level from those responses. Good luck!

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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 606 replies1 threads Member
    edited October 2019
    Also take a look at colleges that Pomona, JHU compete against in the athletic conference- SCIAC, like Chapman, or Centennial, like Ursinus, that may be easier academic admits.
    Enjoy your season, rest, take care of your health! Don't overdo your training.
    edited October 2019
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  • eastcoast101eastcoast101 469 replies8 threads Member
    My S runs XC and track at a top D3 (not the ones you mentioned but similar level). It really varies by school but in general if your academics aren’t there, your times won’t get you in. At one school, the coach said he had very little pull with admissions. Get through admissions and you’re welcome on the team but coach can’t help. Another coach ignored him completely until he was admitted and only then reached out. The school he is at now, the coach submitted a list of recruits he wanted to admissions; some were accepted and some were not. (S traveled with the team as a freshman so his times were clearly good enough). Our takeaway was that academics are at least as important as times for these schools.

    You will need to keep up with the academic rigor of the school while training. As a distance runner, there is no off season so you’re talking virtually the entire school year. They don’t want to admit a strong runner who will struggle a academically.

    I agree with the comments about track times being more important than XC times. Course variations and conditions make comparisons difficult.

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  • jmk518jmk518 343 replies2 threads Member
    I've been through this as I have 2 daughters that both run in college...one D1 ACC and one D3 NEWMAC. In my experience with D3, the coaches have some influence but in general, they can't lower the bar. If it comes down to you and a comparable student but the coach has indicated that You are a recruit, that can make the difference with admissions

    Work on getting the track times down this year. If you want to run MD try to get the 800 under 2:25 (sub 2:20 would be great, even if it is an FAT relay split). That would be low 3:00 if you run the 1k indoors. Talk with your coach about the speed work necessary to get your leg speed up. You can't run a fast 800 without a fast 400.. Your coach should be able to get you theright workouts. But if you want to run long and XC, focus on getting the 3k down to 10:40 or under (11:20 3200). XC times this season are probably not a big consideration as others have suggested unless they are on a course that everyone knows. Note that at most schools the 800 runners will run XC.. Good luck!


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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 723 replies17 threads Member
    I didn't answer because track isn't our sport but I have some general recruiting info. Generally from why I have seen now (and my experience at one of the colleges you mention years ago) if you can get your stats to the average of the school and will contribute to the team the coach can get you in. At that point you are competing against other kids with the average stats and the coach can pull with admissions in your favor.

    If you have below average stats you need to be the superstar athlete to get in. BUT I would ask yourself if you think you want to go to a school like that. Playing sports is a big commitment and if you don't have the stats you are going to need more academic work time, which athletes don't have.

    I highly recommend aiming for colleges where your stats are average and you like the coaches/team/school vibe.
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  • tkoparenttkoparent 295 replies5 threads Member
    In our experience D3 track is a little different from some other sports in that the coaches aren't as concerned with building a team of specific individuals, it's mostly about individual times. That's good in the sense that the recruiting process isn't as accelerated as it is with respect to, say, soccer or football. It also makes it easier to walk on, but it may make things more difficult if you are looking for the assurance associated with being recruited or hoping to use track as a hook. My son wasn't looking to be recruited, but he wanted assurance he would be able to run, so that's the question he asked. The answer was almost always "of course," although who gets to run in some of the more competitive meets might depend upon how the athletes perform over the season.
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  • arbitrary99arbitrary99 126 replies5 threads Junior Member
    We went through D3 track recruiting. The commitment D3 coaches can make fun from “little influence” to “strong support” to “likely letter.”

    Ability-wise, they want to see you scoring in their conference championship. They will extrapolate from your junior year times. (For track only junior year and if you do summer meets counts). Go look at the conference championship and see what times those athletes that scored ran their junior year in HS. Also look at their current roster for the same.

    2. For the NESCAC, outside certain sports where if you are great like in football they will rake well below average students - Williams comes to mind, for these sports you need to be in their average academic profile.

    3. They will submit you to a pre read around June. If admissions blesses you, you go forward.

    (Unless the school issues likely letters, very rare in d3, where a full application is due around October 1)

    4. The coach will probably have 3x more qualified athletes than spots, and after the official overnight will to top to bottom asking for commitment to ED1 for supper until preferences used up.

    5. Some schools offer much higher certainty with coaches support. Amherst/Williams for example almost certain. Pomona less so (unless one if the two slots they have).

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  • ThisNameNotTakenThisNameNotTaken 45 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I don't have any useful information for you, but I want to thank you for starting this thread. My D21 is in a similar situation, although she has decided to skip the recruiting process and take her chances walking on, if she decides she want to.

    She is more of a long sprinter (200, 400) who is looking mostly at NESCACs (we are cold weather New Englanders). Like you, she is "good but not great" but it seems like she could probably be a contributor (in relays if nothing else) at some of the schools.

    I have followed some of her teammates/competitors who have gone on to run in college and I have noticed that a lot of them give it up after a year or two, sometimes due to injury, sometimes not. In my D's case, and probably yours, you should always have in the back of your mind "if I wasn't doing track/xc would I still pick this school".

    The one thing that bothers me is the whole ED part of it. I can understand the coaches wanting a commitment, but unless you're really a star, I (and YMMV here) would be wary of going ED anywhere unless you're really sold on the college itself.

    So far we have visited Bates, which she seemed to like, and we are headed to Amherst in a couple of days. Tufts is a maybe but the Boston area rental market is an issue (not sure how long Tufts guarantees housing for). We wrote off Williams as too far away. Athletics there seem pretty intense anyway, from what I can tell.

    Good luck to you, and remember that success in life is mostly about you, and not the college you go to. If you spend enough time on these forums it's easy to lose sight of that.
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  • GoodtoKnowGoodtoKnow 23 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @goldentrees100 In the end, my senior T&F daughter accepted a D1 offer but was recruited by Pomona and JHU and other similar D3s. Of those two, the JHU coach seemed to have less sway with academic profile. She wasn’t as interested in this school so did not submit academic data for pre-read. She passed her academic pre-read at Pomona and was told she could proceed to ED “with confidence”. Interestingly, her test score was lower than originally quoted by coach as entry bar. Coach was very nice and has been there for quite a while.
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  • roots60roots60 12 replies1 threads New Member
    My S just went through the recruiting process at some of the same schools you have mentioned. He too is MD/XC runner; and currently has an ED application pending with coach support at a highly-selective D3 school.

    He wisely did not make contact with coaches until the end of Junior year track season, as that season produced new PRs and honors. He then visited several college campuses that summer, and contacted coaches ahead of time, supplying his times, and asking to meet with them when he was on campus, etc.

    Every school was different in their processes. The traditional process -- and the one I know is followed at Pomona -- is for the coach to make a "short list" of desirable recruits from a larger list of athletes who have expressed interest in the school and provided statistics (through direct contact or RecruitSpot). The athletes on that short list are then invited to supply transcripts, scores, and course lists for the purpose of the Admissions Office doing a "pre-read". If the "pre-read" indicates a likely admit (no "red flags") then you are invited to come for an Overnight Visit, during which the coach will give you a better idea of how badly they want you, your chances of admission, etc. But, as I said, some schools/coaches do this differently, and more informally.

    The bottom line, though, is (not surprisingly) better track times allow for somewhat lesser academic accomplishment. However, looking back on the process now, I would say that there is definitely an academic "floor" that is not really that much lower than the "floor" for non-recruits. In other words, in the highly-selective D3 world, the AO always trumps the coach.

    If I were you right now, I'd dedicate my time and effort between now and the end of outdoor track season to getting faster and researching how competitive/desirable you are (or will be) at the various schools you are considering. We found a great tool for this: a website called TFRRS - "Track & Field Results Reporting System". The site aggregates nearly every result for every athlete at every college. If you select "All Results" on a given team's page, you can see the range of runners and performances for that event. For example, here's a link to the Pomona-Pitzer women's page:

    https://www.tfrrs.org/all_performances/CA_college_f_Pomona_Pitzer.html?list_hnd=2573&season_hnd=453

    Throwing out obvious larks or outliers, you can see that 800m. performances ranged from 2:15 - 2:41, and individual athletes' season PRs ranged from 2:15 - 2:36. You can also see that their MD runners are very young. This will all help you know how desirable you may be to a specific coach.

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  • ThisNameNotTakenThisNameNotTaken 45 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I would like to second TFRRS. We only recently found about that.
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  • arbitrary99arbitrary99 126 replies5 threads Junior Member
    edited January 14
    The team members times/distances are an interesting data point, but your athlete child will be implicitly be judged against recruits for all events not just their own as the coach only has so many preferences. So if they can recruit someone that can immediately earn them conference championship points in the pole vault that will take priority over a hurdler who can’t - even though that hurdler is as fast as other current team members. Sprinters May be more valuable as they can do relays too, if more points can be earned. Though sprinters for men may come from the football team as well. Cross country may supply the distance track athletes too.

    So I recommend you look at conference results and what it takes to be in the top 8 or so.

    So it’s a broader calculus the coach will use.
    edited January 14
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