5. Oregon Ducks
- Reed Brown (1:51 / 3:59 / 8:50 / 14:37)
- Cooper Teare (1:54 / 4:00 / 8:41 / 14:13)
The Oregon Ducks are going through a big change. They are no longer guaranteed to have a national champion in practically every long distance event now that Cheserek has graduated and departed from the program. However, even without Ches, the Ducks are still incredibly strong with national level talent in multiple distance events. There are also plenty of young guys on this team that are beginning to see some steady improvement. Underclassmen like Austin Tamagno, Mick Stanovsek, and Tanner Anderson all had excellent seasons this past spring and seem to be trending upwards.
Yet, even with these talented young guys making consistent improvement, Oregon still needs to continue building their roster. The loss of Cheserek is a big one and scoring points will not come nearly as easy as they once did. That's why this recruiting class is a crucial one.
But when one super star leaves, another is bound is join. In Oregon's case, they got two.
The Ducks secured what may be the two best American high school recruits coming out of the high school system. Reed Brown just became the 10th American high schooler ever to break four minutes in the mile while Cooper Teare led the longer distances with mind-boggling times of 8:41 and 14:13 (both US #1). Could this be the best recruiting duo ever? The argument is certainly there.
The addition of Reed Brown will allow the Oregon Ducks to build on their already deep group of milers which had five guys qualify for West Regionals this past spring in the 1500. Brown will also give Oregon some leg speed in the 800 with his 1:51 PR. The Ducks typically put their focus on the longer distances, so it will help to have a freshman that could potentially go under 1:50 in his first year.
But Brown's success is not isolated to just the track. After a fourth place finish at the Texas Cross Country Championships, Brown went on to qualify for both Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) and Footlocker Nationals. The result? Brown placed 6th at NXN and emerged from Footlocker as the 2016 national champion.
The last two individuals to run a sub-four minute mile and win Footlocker Nationals? Drew Hunter and Grant Fisher. Not bad company to be in...
Brown's range makes him a dangerous opponent for anyone who toes the line next to him. He will almost definitely be a key contributor for Oregon in both cross country and track. However, if there is any other graduating high schooler that has the range that Brown does, it's almost definitely Cooper Teare.
Teare has dominated the 2016-2017 high school scene with impressive performances against some of the most elite competition in the nation. The biggest win of his high school career came at the Texas Distance Festival where he ran a 14:13 5k to defeat one of the best high school fields ever assembled outside of a national championship. The California native later dropped down in distance to the 3200 where he became the 2017 Arcadia Invite champion with a time of 8:41 (#4 3200 all-time).
As if Teare hadn't accomplished enough, he later unleashed a mile time of 4:00.16 which ended the season as the 2nd fastest mile in the nation (behind only Reed Brown).
Teare may not have broken four minutes, but his achievements are just as impressive as Brown's. Teare is talented enough to have an immediate impact as a freshman and eventually become a multi All-American...or even a national champion.
At the collegiate level, not every high-profile recruit is promised success. But the duo of Reed Brown and Cooper Teare is the closest any program could get towards a guarantee. Of course, only time will tell if that is the case...