True Elites wrote:
Totally disagree that Kessler should go pro. Pretty much no 18 year old is mature enough to adapt to and thrive within a professional running environment. You want to be spending time with peers your age, learning, growing, making mistakes, etc. No holed up in an apartment all day sitting around doing nothing until your afternoon double.
While college running may not be ideal for the super elite HS kids, it's certainly better than going pro at that age. It also, ideally, prolongs an athlete's runway. They can focus on being a college athlete for 3-5 years, and then focus on being a pro athlete afterward. Having running literally as your job at 18 or 19 seems like a recipe for disaster.
Exactly. Being a pro runner kinda sucks. It's incredibly boring. As an 18-22 year old, very few athletes could deal with that kind of tedium, especially without teammates your own age (I know I couldn't have maintained my sanity). The sense of comradery you get at college is really unmatched, especially on a high powered team like NAU or Oregon, and the season is very structured, which is very useful for a young athlete. I mean, I think this is one of the reasons why BTC is so successful; they're basically a ludicrously good college team. They all run more or less the same workouts.
As you say, college also provides an intermediate level for talented athletes. Hobbs Kessler will not dominate the NCAA, but he will be competing for 1st place, which will serve him well in the future. As a pro, he'll likely spend his first few years getting dusted in pro races as he develops. That's demoralizing.
That's why I think high schoolers should ALWAYS go to college first, unless they're someone like Jakob who is already making World an Olympic finals. A 3:57 mile and 8:39 2 mile are amazing for a high schooler, but it's not really competitive even in the NCAA, let alone for a pro.