BREAKING: Hobbs Kessler Is Turning Professional
By Jonathan Gault
June 23, 2021
Hobbs Kessler, who last month ran 3:34.36 in Portland to break Alan Webb‘s US high school 1500-meter record, is turning professional, a source confirmed to LetsRun.com. The 18-year-old Kessler, who recently graduated from Community High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., (but competed for Skyline High School) had committed to run for Northern Arizona University in the fall but will instead join Drew Hunter and Josh Hoey as recent American middle distance runners to turn professional straight out of high school.
Kessler, who will be represented by agent Mark Wetmore of Global Athletics, has not announced a sponsor yet, but adidas is considered the leaders to obtain his services (UPDATE: Track & Field News has confirmed Kessler has signed with adidas.).
adidas has bet aggressively on American high school talent in recent years, with Hunter, Hoey, Noah and Josephus Lyles all signing with the brand out of high school and sprint sensation Erriyon Knighton, who just finished his junior year at Hillsborough High School in Tampa, signing with adidas in January. Wetmore is the longtime agent of Kessler’s occasional training partner, two-time Olympic 1500 medalist Nick Willis, and recently began representing steeplechaser Mason Ferlic, another member of coach Ron Warhurst‘s Ann Arbor-based Very Nice Track Club. Willis also spent seven years of his professional career running for adidas.
Kessler’s personal best of 3:34.46 in the 1500 is already faster than the collegiate record of 3:34.68, set earlier this year by Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse.
It is understood that one of the deciding factors in turning professional was the unique five-year stretch of global championships on the horizon. Typically, track & field features an outdoor global championship three out of every four years. But, due COVID-19 pushing the Tokyo Olympics back a year, there is set to be a global outdoor championship in each of the next five years: the 2021 Olympics (Tokyo), 2022 World Championships (Eugene), 2023 World Championships (Budapest), 2024 Olympics (Paris), and 2025 World Championships (site TBD). Plus World Indoor Championships in 2022 (Belgrade), 2023 (Nanjing), and 2024 (site TBD). That provides numerous opportunities for Kessler to make a team — and earn the lucrative sponsor bonuses that come with such an achievement.
Kessler’s first chance begins tomorrow, as he is entered in the first round of the 1500 meters at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., his first senior national championship. He owns the third-fastest time by an American this year.
LetsRun reached out to Warhurst and Kessler’s father, Mike, for comment but had not heard back as of publication.
Talk about Kessler going pro on our world famous fan forum/messageboard: MB: Hobbs Kessler to Adidas!