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NEWS: Charles Hicks to Turn Pro, Will Join Nike Bowerman Track Club

Earlier today, The Stride Report received notice that Stanford superstar Charles Hicks was not expected to return to NCAA competition for the 2023-24 academic calendar. That tip was later validated by an official announcement from Flynn Sports Management where we learned that Hicks will be signing a pro contract with Nike and joining Bowerman Track Club.

Hicks had already signed an NIL deal with Nike back in March, allowing him to remain in the NCAA while still competing for Stanford over the last few months.

Hicks has emerged into a true distance standout over the last two years. Since venturing to Palo Alto in the fall of 2019, the Florida native has produced times of 7:43 (3k), 13:22 (5k) and 27:40 (10k). In total, the Stanford ace has collected eight All-American honors, including an individual cross country national title from the fall of 2022.

It should also be noted that Hicks is a two-time European U23 XC Championship winner, securing titles in the fall of 2021 and the fall of 2022. Hicks represents Great Britain when racing on international stages.

With Hicks' departure, the Stanford men will be left without a vital low-stick star who has been massively important for the Cardinal men in their hopes of winning a national team title. The men from Palo Alto were viewed as national title favorites going into the 2022 NCAA XC Championships, but a late-season injury from Cole Sprout and a few hiccups at the backend of the Cardinal's lineup ultimately forced Stanford to settle for 4th place overall.

Going into the 2023 cross country season, the Stanford men could have been viewed as national title favorites yet again. However, the departures of Hicks (via a pro contract), Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau (via expired eligibility) and Devin Hart (via a graduate transfer to Texas) have effectively left the Cardinal with only a handful of remaining pieces from their 2022 cross country lineup.

As of right now, both Ky Robinson and Cole Sprout are set to return to Palo Alto later this fall. Those two low-sticks, as well as 13:37 (5k) runner Thomas Boyden, will be paired with the elite twin brother duo of Lex Young and Leo Young. The incoming freshmen from Newbury Park High School are considered to be among the best high school distance runners ever.

While the introduction of the Young brothers will allow the Stanford men to remain in the national title conversation, the two rookies will need to quickly assimilate to the NCAA scene now that Hicks is gone. This fall, the Cardinal will once again look to pull off the always-challenging task of taking down Northern Arizona, Oklahoma State and BYU en route to NCAA gold.

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