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The Unsponsored Favorites


Heading into the Olympic Trials, there are some key college athletes and unsponsored pros who will be strong contenders to make the Olympic team.
The Unsponsored Favorites

4 months ago


 By: Paul Nordquist

Coming out of the Pandemic we saw many brands drop some of our favorite athletes, while also failing to sign some great young talents. Now we get it, budgets have been tight, but after seeing Jacob Riley run unsponsored on his way to the Olympic team it begs the question – who could do the same on the track?

Below is a cheat sheet of all the runners who we think have a shot at making the Olympic team and are currently unsponsored. In other words, below is a list of runners all brands should heavily consider signing before the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 18th, 2021.  

The Collegians

Athing Mu  800m

  • 800m PR: 1:57.73 (NCAA record + American junior national record)
  • 600m PR: 1:25.80 (NCAA record)
  • Only 17 years old!

Aaliyah Miller  800m

  • 2021 NCAA indoor 800m Champion
  • 800m PR: 2:00.69
  • Clocked 3rd fastest 2021 indoor 800m time in US this year on her way to her National title

Sage Hurta  800m/1500m

  • 2021 NCAA indoor mile Champion
  • 1mi PR: 4:30.58,
  • 800m PR: 2:00.62
  • Won the 2021 CU Invitational 400m in 54.84 from a standing start

Cole Hocker 1500m

  • Completed the most iconic NCAA double since King Ches, winning the 2021 NCAA Indoor Mile and 3k less than an hour apart
  • Mile PR: 3:50.55
  • 3000m PR: 7:46.15
  • Owner of the infamous Instagram post that sparked “Your move, Centro”

Yared Nuguse 1500m

  • 2020 NCAA Outdoor 1500m Champion, anchor leg of 2019 Indoor DMR winning team
  • Mile PR: 3:55.62
  • 3k PR: 7:46.71
  • Helluva team player – ran 2019 Indoor DMR and 2021 Cross Country NCAA championships instead of individual events

Courtney Wayment  1500m/5k

  • 2021 NCAA indoor 3k Champion, anchor leg of 2021 Indoor DMR winning team
  • Mile PR: 4:30.47
  • 3.7825 Mile PR (XC): 20:43.4 (kudos to tfrrs to for consistently delivering)

Whittni Orton 1500m/5k

Conner Mantz 10k

  • 2021 NCAA Cross Country Champion – first American to win since Galen Rupp’s win in 2008
  • 5k PR: 13:24.78
  • 10k PR: 28:07.70

The YouTubers

Cooper Teare 1500m/5k

  • Anchor leg of 2021 Indoor DMR winning team
  • Mile PR: 3:50.39 (NCAA record)
  • 5k PR: 13:17
  • That dude on YouTube
  • Amateur roaster (see: Cilantro)

Nick Harris 1500m

  • 2nd place finish at 2020 USATF indoor 1500m
  • 1500m PR: 3:39.04
  • Is somehow an incredible artist on the side, would recommend his Lover cover album on Spotify.
  • Nominated for best supporting actor for role in Morgan McDonald’s YouTube channel (Oscar pending)

The SteepleChasers

Colleen Quigley 3000m SC

  • Finished 8th in 2016 Olympic Steeplechase final, 2019 USA Indoor Mile Champion, 2015 NCAA Steeple Champion
  • 3000m SC PR: 9:10.27
  • Insta star – 238k followers
  • The biggest name on the list, and certainly the most likely to land a big contract pre-trials

Tripp Hurt 1500m/3000m SC

  • 1500m PR: 3:36.83
  • 3000m SC PR: 8:30.69
  • Best social handle to be found in the sport (IG: tripp_and_get_hurt)

Mason Ferlic 3000m SC

  • 2016 NCAA Steeplechase Champion, 5th at 2016 trials
  • 3000m SC PR: 8:18.49
  • 5k PR: 13:25.92
  • Great over grass (also rumored to give a good haircut) – made 2019 XC world team, beat Paul Chelimo FTW at 2020 XC Town USA Meet of Champions

Craig Nowak 3000m SC

  • 3000m SC PR: 8:35.14
  • Unofficial 3000m SC PR: 8:21.49* (apparently the start line was incorrectly placed, but we think Craig is fully capable of an Olympic qualifier)
  • Currently a professional metronome
  • Known as the Cool Craig on the distance scene, races in a Pirate singlet (which is as cool as it sounds)

Isaac Updike  3000m SC

  • 3000m SC PR: 8:17.74
  • Has the fastest time in the US this year after winning the Grand Prix at Hayward Field over Mason Ferlic and Hilary Bor
  • One of the first to capitalize on the hashtag #unsponsored on Instagram

Old Man Strength

Eric Sowinski 800m

  • 800m PR: 1:44.58
  • 2016 Indoor World Champs 800m Bronze Medalist
  • Recently ran an indoor 800m PR of 1:45.69
  • Arguably the most consistent American 800m runner of all time (has run 181 sub 1:50 800’s)

Ben True 5k/10k

  • 6th at 2015 World Championship 5k, 2015 Diamond League NY 5k Champion, four time USATF Road champion (5k-15k)
  • 5k PR: 13:02.74
  • 10k PR: 27:14.95 (ran in Feb 2021)
  • Known to be a lone wolf

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