College Cross Country Recruiting
The recruiting process for cross country is all about the times you are running, finding the programs that are the right fit and having the ability to step up in distance and training.
Getting recruited for a scholarship versus a walk-on
To make the most out of your recruiting process you need to have your goals for college set early. Specially, you want to understand what you will need in terms of scholarships and establish those goals with the coaches recruiting you very early on. There are several programs that ask their entire freshman class to walk-on without scholarship money. If you need a scholarship right away you might need to look at programs that aren’t your top choice.
Coaches recruit runners on their potential
During the cross country recruiting process coaches will want to know about your training program to get a sense of how much potential you have when making the jump to a more rigorous training program. If you are a high school runner that runs a lot of miles and is already training year round you will want to make sure and establish with coaches that you think you have a lot more potential to improve once you get to college. Additionally, coaches will want to be sure you can physically handle the additional miles.
*Insider tip –coaches are wary about recruiting injury prone runners. If you are an injury prone runner in high school it is always better to take the time to fully recover rather than try and run through injury.
Coaches do the recruiting themselves
Unlike other college sports there aren’t scouts for the recruiting process. Cross country coaches do 99% of the recruiting themselves and this means they will be looking to watch you run in person. In order to see as many quality recruits as possible coaches usually only attend the biggest races where they can come and see several potential college runners.
Cross country recruiting is about the times you run and place you finish
With cross county the weather can have a big impact on the times run on any given day. Coaches evaluate runners using a combination of their times run versus the field. If you have run a slow time it’s not the end of the world as long as your place in the race is consistent with where you usually finish.
*Insider tip – don’t forget about track. Coaches are going to be looking at your track and field times as you will be expected to run cross country and track and the college level.