Honestly flummoxed on how to start figuring out what schools to look at for T&F-- help!

My 2025 hurdler/jumper is a great student and pretty accomplished athlete-- has been to States 2x, JOs, Nike Nationals. Her runcruit times suggest she can be recruited for some D1 schools, and she’s hesitating on D3 schools because she’s worried about not having someone to spur her in practices, etc, because her stats have her basically performing better currently than many schools we’re looking at (Amherst, Pomona).

How do we map schools and teams to her potential? She’s not completely sure of major yet, which adds to the issue. Likes law/linguistics/coding and English, and would like East or West coast.

I’m unsure of how to assess what’s a good match for her-- looking at the retention rates on runcruit aren’t helping-- many, many schools have rates around 50%. How do you assess the team and the coaches as a good match? Do certain schools have reputations we should know about-- XX school is a factory, XX university is invested in developing talent, etc, etc.

If anyone has any insights or recommendations I’d welcome them, as we’re flying blind going into junior year.

Use this website https://www.tfrrs.org/ to see where her times fit. Has she spoken with any coaches yet? She should be reaching out to coaches via email once she has a list of schools.

As for identifying schools…start with schools that have majors she likes, of a size and geography she is interested in, and where her academic and athletic stats fit. Cast a wide net to start. Assessing team and coach fit can come later when there is some level of interest on each side.
Is her HS coach of any help in targeting schools for recruiting?

Are there any cost/budget constraints?

Paging @politeperson who knows a lot about TNFXC recruiting.


It definitely can be overwhelming at first. But don’t fret—it is a process and things do get more clear as you progress.

Runcruit is a nice idea and can be helpful for brainstorming but I wouldn’t let it frame my search or the overall process.

It might help initially to know what you and your daughter are looking for from the process. Do you envision something like an Ivy League student-athlete experience? Would the need-based aid at those types of schools be important to you? Or would an athletic scholarship from an SEC type school be more important, with all that entails?

It’s fine if you don’t know, and you don’t need to focus much at this stage but if you have strong feelings that info might be helpful for posters to know in filtering advice.

In general, I like to start searches like this by identifying conferences where an athlete could happily compete.

The tfrrs performance lists are a great start:


You can drill down to, say, IVY or nescac or sciac or PAC-x, and see what sort of times are competitive. Obviously, you need to project where your daughter might be, not where she is now.

Then, for individual schools, you can check out announcements about incoming recruit classes on the track and field pages and/or IG. These will usually show senior year PRs, so again you have to project a bit.

Keep in mind, what usually matters to coaches is how a recruit will contribute at the conference level. So being faster than current athletes isn’t necessarily meaningful. Being fast enough to potentially score at the conference meet is what matters. (Or, at some programs, at the national meet).

As far as figuring out good and bad programs/coaches that takes some time and is probably a separate discussion. A lot of times it’s pretty obvious when there isn’t a fit.



If you think Ivy League schools might be in the mix, I’d start by exploring those. Look at her times in comparison to recent recruits.

If she’d be competitive in the D3 conferences you’re interested in I don’t think I’d exclude those unless she’d already be among the fastest few in the conference. If so, it could be a lonely life and she might be happier in Ivy or other D1 with more resources and a training group that fits better. If she’s among the fastest in Nescac already then Ivy coaches would likely be interested.

That is sort of the easy part. Figuring out whether P5 schools are the right fit or something more along the lines of Patriot league, mountain west, etc can get more challenging.

But the good news is that the coaches know what they want. So you learn a lot just by reaching out and seeing who responds.



Some programs do list recruiting standards. Here’s Penn’s as an example:

These don’t always correlate to composition of the actual recruiting class, and I’ve talked to coaches who didn’t even know they had these docs on their websites. So, take with a grain of salt.


Right now she’s faster than the D3s we’re looking at, and while she was jazzed about a particular major at Amherst, she was completely deflated when she looked at the T&F team stats. I keep telling her to keep all options open, because you never know, etc.

Thank you for the outdoor list! It will be a huge help. We have to get on the ball narrowing down schools to reach out to and I wasn’t sure how to go about it. We definitely need aid-- we’re middle income people, and this is something that worries me.

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Sounds similar to my kid. We were looking at schools based on academic strength, and did not really know much about recruiting. When looking at a few higher end D3s somewhat early on, we met with a few coaches and my D/S noticed that they would already be top in their event, so understand what you D was saying about D3.

We found this to be true.
This was a few years ago and I think the timing may have changed now, though at that time the coaches were not able to reach out to the athletes until July 1st prior to Sr. Year. We had some contact from a few before hand but come July 1st, coaches reached out from top D1 schools and programs that were of strong interest but we had had no-contact with any of the coaches and had no idea that we were on the radar. So the coaches do know what they want.

I am sure that you are doing this, though since your D is a great student, I would be looking at schools that are a fit academically first, then start narrowing and reaching out to coaches.
Good luck!

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HS coach is no help, but her club coach might be a resource.
Budget is a major concern!

I would say this is very similar to our D/S as well as our family. Cost was a consideration for the school selection for our kid and family.
It sounds like with the athleticism and being a great student the Ivy’s would be a good option for recruiting, and the Ivy’s, particularly the top, do provide good financial aid or “need based scholarship” which I believe they call it.
Another option to look at would be other strong academic schools that are D1, which also give merit money. Your D should be in line for some merit money at schools. Many of the mid level academic D1s give merit as well as stronger schools such as the Patriot League
As a side note, there is not a lot of scholarship money for T&F. Even if it is a fully funded T&F program for scholarships, and not all are, the scholarships are typically divided among the large T&F team.
At one of the top D1 Academic (and expensive) schools that was heavily recruiting my kid, I remember the coach saying that to receive any T&F scholarship money, you would have to be able to come in and score points right away at meets, and something to the effect that they reserve some of the scholarship money for the All-Americans on the team.


TMF money isn’t that high as a general rule.

Will you qualify for need based financial aid? Have you run the Net price calculators at some possible schools on your D’s list? If not, you should do that to get a sense of cost before merit and/or athletic aid.

If you don’t qualify for need based aid, and can’t/don’t want to pay full COA at schools with no merit or athletic scholarships, you will have to take those schools off the list.

I also encourage you to communicate the budget to your D, so everyone is on the same page.


If budget is a concern and she has the academic profile for Ivies (sounds like she probably does) then those might be a good fit.

I’d go to the NPCs for any Ivy school she’s interested in and see if the need based aid would make it affordable.

HYP usually have the best aid (P more and more for many it seems). But it is important to be aware that the other Ivies will match aid packages if you are recruited by schools with better aid. So if recruited by P but you prefer Cornell, for example, Cornell will match Princeton aid. Coaches know how to deal with this but come back here if you have questions about this. But in general: don’t eliminate HYP early if you think you want any Ivy.

When she reaches out to coaches: class and PRs in subject line of email helps get attention. First few lines of email should have major athletic and academic stats— for example, “I’m a hurdler in the HS class of ‘25 with a PR of x.x in the 100 hurdles, a 3.9 GPA and a 33 ACT.”

No reason to think she wouldn’t get athletic aid at other schools though I agree it can be thinly sliced and unpredictable. Need based aid at good academic schools is often the sweet spot for middle income kids with good academic and athletic stats.


If budget is a concern, you need to find schools that will give academic merit money and/or financial aid. Not a lot of athletic money in track.

A fully funded women’s D1 program has 18 scholarships to split amongst the entire roster.
A lot of schools carry 50-60 athletes.

Don’t overlook D3 programs(or D2 or NAIA) just because you think your kid is too fast for them. The top D3 track programs are very competitive and academic scholarships there may make these schools more affordable. Cast a wide net in the early stages of recruiting.


Meant to add: for hurdles in the Ivy league I’d probably start with Penn, Harvard, Princeton. But there’s good coaching at most of these schools. Brown, Cornell, etc


Good input. This was our experience, including Ivy coaches informing us about the matching aid against a H or HYP, which we were not aware of.


I think you should look at the financial situation without any T&F money but that being a recruited athlete may get her into the school and be an ‘extra’ few thousand. I assume that if she has Amherst on her list you think you can get need based aid from Amherst and similar need based aid schools (Ivies, NESCAC, UChicago, Stanford).

Is she good enough for Stanford or USC? You could run their NPC and see what the need based aid looks like for your family. UCS is moving to the Big Ten in 2024, so all the teams will be making an adjustment in the schedules, training, travel. That also means a LOT more travel (Rutgers, you say?), although it also means teams at lower elevations (no more Colorado or Utah meets). You might also look at teams that may be joining the PAC 12. I’ve read SDSU, Boise State, Colorado State (not on the coast but training at altitude often gives a big advantage). I’ve also read they are considering some Texas schools (Rice, SMU) and even some in Florida, which would man more travel in that conference too. Colorado (big track school) is going to the Big 12, so that changes the Pac 12 schools meets.

I think she should look at the type of college she wants - size, LAC, big D1, weather, altitude, cost - and make a huge list of schools that match. Cross off those that will be unaffordable, that are too big, that have too small a track team, that are in conferences that are weak for her.

Hit up the club coach for help.


Let us not forget Yale. Yale hasn’t had the same recent on-track success that H&P have experienced, but I challenge you to find a better group of kids to support your daughter. Not to mention that Coxe Cage is a truly special indoor facility.

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Haha—yes did not mean to throw shade at any other Ivy programs, just trying to highlight those where women’s hurdle groups have been strong recently, and where I know sprint/hurdle coaching is good. Yale are good people no question (just a bit thin in women’s hurdles recently).


Agree with your general point on finding good academic fits. Just want to clarify something on the above though: college track and field isn’t really dual meet based. The majority of the season for most teams is structured around invitationals and qualifying meets. Then conference meets, regionals, national meet.

There will be more travel at a national caliber program like Oregon or Texas but it won’t be to in-conference locations but rather to Bryan Clay, Florida relays, etc. Often the team might be scattered across several meets in the same weekend depending on event group.

Some programs still have a few dual meets or something like battle of the blues, but that’s pretty low key and usually the whole team doesn’t participate.

I agree it’s a good idea to check the schedule to see what travel there is. But keep in mind that athletes aren’t going to all meets on the schedule.



I have a somewhat different take on selecting schools. I would make the list as long a list as possible, provided it does not make you crazy keeping tabs. Even put some “throw-aways” on the list (e.g., she’ll never get into Stanford so why bother). Let the Stanford coach tell you that it isn’t a fit. Really, what 17 year-old kid really knows what he/she wants in a school, degree or even what level of dedication for the sport for the next four years or so? If you keep a long list, the process will be self-selecting.

Start contacting the coaches and the matches will start to appear. If she is truly recruitable, and it sounds like she is, I would worry not too much about an academic match. Coaches can help you through whether her grades and scores make her admissible.

As far as figuring out coach matches, meeting them is a start, but it never will inform you about reputation. One way to analyze is to look at the roster for a given program and list the seniors on the team. Then go into the archive roster 4 years prior and see how many of today’s seniors started on the team freshman year. This is only a piece of the story of course, there are injuries and changes of interest that also may account for attrition, but it is a piece of information. You also could look at the degree of improvement over 4 years, but again there could be multiple reasons other than coach quality for improvement and declines.

My real suggestion is to just go with the process. Work hard. Keep contacting coaches. Over and over again. Meet with coaches. Tour schools. I suspect the answers will stare you and your daughter in the face by the end.


Hi there, I have a ‘25 T&F athlete as well. We have been focusing on contacting D3 schools where he fits academically and appear to have strong sprint programs— we are looking for a dedicated sprint coach, seeing that one or more of their sprinters have gone to nationals, and looking for current sprinters to show a steady drop in times. He has gotten some good interest from D3’s and several coaches have confirmed he is a top recruit. As a 16yo male, I suspect he still has better times ahead so we are waiting until junior season to see if he can make any D1 cuts and then start contacting those schools as well. If he can’t run for one of the better D1 programs, I think he’d rather be a rock star D3 athlete.