HS star Mile runner Drew Hunter turns professional, signs with adidas
"The most important thing is not rushing anything and I’m grateful that adidas understands that process for me to grow as an athlete.”
By Chris Chavez, Sports Illustrated
EUGENE, Ore. — When Loudoun Valley senior Drew Hunter ran 3:58.25 to break Alan Webb’s 3:59.86 high school indoor Mile record from 2001, fans in Eugene, Ore. were giddy for the Oregon commit to arrive next fall. But when an opportunity presented itself for Hunter to turn professional, he decided to forego his NCAA eligibility and sign a long-term professional contract with adidas, making him the first high school male distance runner to turn professional.
The monetary terms of the deal were not disclosed, but SI has learned it is a 10-year deal and adidas will pay for Hunter's education at his university of choice. Previous high school Milers prodigies have run at collegiate level for a short period before turning professional. Jim Ryun attended Kansas for four years and Webb attended Michigan for a season. Webb was one of the few U.S. high school prodigies that panned out since Ryun as he signed a contract with Nike after his freshman year and before he ran the American record of 3:46.91 in 2007.
“I’m just really excited to take a different route than most people,” Hunter says. “It’s unique and will have its learning curve but I’m ready for the adventure ahead. I wrestled with the thought of passing up on the opportunity at Oregon for several months because it was a dream for me. It took me a while to open up to the new option. It was really hard because I love [Oregon cross country] coach [Andy] Powell and there’s no greater program out there.”
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