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NEWS: HOKA Signs Natalie Cook, Kole Mathison & Karrie Baloga to NIL Deals

Earlier today, HOKA announced that they have signed former high school distance running superstars, Natalie Cook, Kole Mathison and Karrie Baloga, to "Name, Image and Likeness" (NIL) deals.

Each of those three current collegiate underclassmen are recent Foot Locker cross country national champions. The NIL announcement comes on the same day as the 2023 version of the Foot Locker XC National Championships which are sponsored by HOKA.

Natalie Cook, after a historically elite prep career, found outstanding success in her first year with Oklahoma State, winning the 2022 Cowboy Jamboree, placing 7th at the NCAA XC Championships and running 15:24 for 5000 meters on the indoor oval. She transferred to Colorado this past summer following battles with injury during the winter and spring months.

Kole Mathison, who ran 4:04 (1600), 8:47 (two-mile) and 14:23 (5k XC) in high school, is currently in his first year with Colorado. However, we did not see the long distance standout compete this past fall.

After an outstanding high school career, Karrie Baloga found very promising success in her first season with the Colorado Buffaloes. She finished 21st at the Virginia Invite, 39th at Nuttycombe, 8th at the PAC-12 XC Championships and 82nd at the NCAA XC Championships. And yet, despite emerging as a highly valuable scorer for the Buffaloes, Baloga recently opted to enter the transfer portal.

As competing brands like On and New Balance have recently and aggressively invested in NIL opportunities, HOKA's signing of three high-profile, on-the-rise distance stars allows the California-based shoe brand to remain in the national eye as a major and an involved player.


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