Over the last few days, multiple All-American-caliber collegiate women's distance runners have announced their pro signings.
Washington's Kayley DeLay and Anna Gibson have both signed pro contracts with Brooks. Gibson is on an independent contract while Delay will join the Brooks Beasts training group. Meanwhile, Stanford's Melissa Tanaka has signed a pro contract with Oiselle while New Mexico's Abbe Goldstein has signed a pro contract with Under Armour, ultimately joining their UA Mission Run Baltimore Distance group.
DeLay originally started her collegiate running career at Yale before venturing to the University of Washington last year as a graduate transfer. During her time with the Bulldogs (Yale), the distance standout produced a monster steeplechase PR of 9:25 at the 2022 outdoor national meet, earning a silver medal and the current NCAA #4 all-time mark.
The Bulldog-turned-Husky also produced times of 8:58 (3k) and 15:36 (5k) as well as a 10th place finish at the 2021 NCAA Fall XC Championships.
Despite a tougher-than-expected 2023 spring campaign, DeLay will be able to remain in the Seattle area to train with the Brooks men and women, a group that is largely middle distance-centric. Also signing with Brooks is fellow Washington teammate, Anna Gibson.
A long-time veteran of the Huskies, Gibson provided solid three-season value for the Washington women. On the track, the newest Brooks runner produced personal bests of 2:04 (800), 4:32 (mile) and 9:08 (3k). She also ran a 4:30 altitude converted mile this past winter before helping her team set a new NCAA record in the DMR.
Despite a series of challenging postseason efforts, Gibson proved to be a refined and consistent miler. She will help transition the west coast shoe brand into a new era of competitive middle distance prowess, specifically in the mile and 1500 meters.
We then come to Melissa Tanaka, a former undergraduate at Penn and a now-former graduate student with the Cardinal, has signed a pro contract with Oiselle.
Oiselle, a women's running brand, is the main sponsor behind a pro team spearheaded by Kara Goucher and Lauren Fleshman. Recent collegiate signees include Madison Boreman, a talented steeplechase alumnus from the University of Colorado.
Tanaka showed plenty of nationally competitive promise during her time with the Penn Quakers, but the mile veteran elevated her fitness to a new level while in Palo Alto.
During her time with the Stanford women, Tanaka qualified for the 2022 outdoor national meet and made the 1500 meter finals that year. She also ran a blistering 4:09 PR in the same event earlier this spring and helped the Cardinal women win an indoor national title, as well as a Penn Relays title, with outstanding lead-off efforts.
It's abundantly clear that Tanaka is still realizing her athletic peak and may have more upside to offer as she enters the pro racing circuit. That, in turn, may make her one of Oiselle's most valuable athletes on their pro roster in the near future.
The last of the known pro signings features Abbe Goldstein, a Pennsylvania native who attended Harvard for her undergraduate studies before venturing to New Mexico as a graduate transfer.
Goldstein has proven to be one of the more consistent and steady mile-centric talents in the NCAA over the last few years.
During her time in the Ivy League, the east coast ace ran a 4:35 mile mark to qualify for the 2020 indoor national meet which was ultimately cancelled due to COVID-19. Then, as a member of the Lobos, Goldstein finished 47th at the 2021 NCAA Fall XCX Championships, ran a 4:34 mile PR (unattached) this past winter and has run 4:10 for 1500 meters multiple times.
Goldstein will return to the east coast where she will join an Under Armour distance group that is slowly beginning to find significant success with a handful of recently-signed college graduates.
It also appears that Boston College ace Katherine Mitchell, a recent breakout name over the last year in the middle distance events, is representing New Balance Boston Track Club at the USA Championships this weekend. However, no official announcement has (knowingly) been made about her signing.