Would HPYSM give me leniency if I started track late?

I started track late in my junior year and am currently a junior, I don’t meet the 400m 49 second requirement, but I believe I have the potential to go under it easily. Track and field season does not start until spring, so I’m wondering if coaches would be lenient.

There is a 49 second 400m recruiting standard

The recruiting and walk-on standards listed by some programs should be viewed as guidelines. If you are close, it’s worth an email to the coaches. I wouldn’t anticipate much recruiting interest except perhaps at MIT, but the coaches might fill you in on the walk-on process. If you get no reply (likely) then that’s your answer. You’re a bit late in the year to be exploring this if you’re a senior, unless you anticipate a gap year.

“Easily” does not usually go along with a sub-49 second 400m. To get more constructive responses, you should explain why you believe you have that potential (starting with your PR).

Regardless, TFRRS.com shows that Stanford had 5 men run 50.00 or better 400m during 2019 outdoor (so don’t expect them to be interested). There were 25 Ivy League men who did it. (same problem). Even though MIT only had 2 men run faster than 50.00 in 2019 outdoor, it is probably too late to get an admissions boost there either.

You could use TFRRS to find other colleges where your current PR might make the coach take notice (likely D-3). Or, as politeperson suggested, a gap year might allow you to show your stuff this Spring and get an admissions boost.

I’m actually a Junior, I meant I’m going to start track in the spring. I can run 52 seconds after a 1 month of training

Being a junior not a senior changes things dramatically.

Also, track is more of what I consider a “pure” athletic sport. Not that there isn’t skill involved, but in sports like wrestling, soccer, basketball, really about everything other than track and to a lesser extent swimming, you can practice and be coached into far exceeding your raw athletic ability. An average athlete can practice and be coached into having a killer 3 point shot. No amount of coaching or practice can make an average athlete run a sub :50 400. A large amount of natural talent for running must be present, or you are just wasting your time.

For that reason, you probably will be better off than a more “skill” sport athlete. If you are fast now, no one will care what you did 2 years ago or even last year. However, you are still late to the game. I am not a track expert, but puruse the older threads here for more specific info of what to do.

Also look at the more general threads, including the one pinned at the top. If you haven’t actually run in competitions at all yet, I’m not sure there is much you can do until you start having some success, although you can research programs and be ready to send emails to coaches as soon as you have something worth talking about.

As was mentioned, you may have more success branching out to other schools, particularly on the D3 level.

If you’re a junior right now then I’d focus on training for the spring season and hope to get a good mark. See where you are in June and go from there.

52 is a pretty solid start but won’t get you far in terms of recruiting. It’s just a question of how much and how fast you improve that time.

I edited my comment. I can run 52 seconds after a month of training.

But would they give me leniency for starting late?

No, you dont get leniency for starting late.

Run some races this year. Get under 50 seconds. Then email coaches.

Having only one season isn’t going to give you an advantage over athletes with longer histories. Probably the opposite, if anything.

But you’re getting ahead of yourself. See what happens this spring. A lot of guys can run 52 off no training. Not many of those can get under 49, ever. So see where you are in June and then assess where you might fit athletically. Chances are it will be D3 if at all. But you won’t know without doing the training.

Hi, Track and Field guy here (although I specialize in distance). A 52 second 400 is decent enough to walk on at most good programs, with the exception of the best programs. Unless you are a mid-d guy that can also run 1:57 or better for the 800, a 52 does not garner much attention. Since many top distance runners can manage a 52 with little specific sprint training, and most top mid-d runners 50 or below, you need to at least be under 49 if you specialize in sprints in order to seriously be in the recruiting game. Don’t get me wrong, a 52 is very, very respectable already, just not competitive for recruitment. You have a good chance of shaving off one or two seconds, but to go below 49 is questionable.

Even if I can’t get recruitment, would a respectable 52 second improve chances?


Will colleges only accept official times from milesplit or some other website? I’m asking this because I might improve after official track season ends

Besides track, what makes you think HPYSM would want you to attend there?

As theres already guys running 50 or under with official times in track season, I dont think they would consider you for a scholarship for what you do after the season is over. Do you have any club teams you could run for in summer?

Maybe I would add diversity, I might be the only Asian guy on the track team

They want FAT times from real meets. Most of those do show up on athletic.net or milesplit, yes.

There aren’t many legit meets these days that aren’t using professional timing systems. So that’s not usually an issue.

It’s not unusual for sprinters to improve during summer meets. But honestly if you’re running 51s all spring and suddenly break 49 in a single meet in June, it’s unlikely that’ll carry a ton of weight. Coaches usually have too many other athletes to choose from to take a risk on an athlete with only a single data point in recruiting range.