Earlier today, Utah star Simone Plourde announced via Instagram that she has signed a pro contract with Nike and will be joining Union Athletics Club. The pro signing comes just a little over two weeks after Plourde ran a jaw-dropping time of 4:06 for 1500 meters in Montréal.
The Canadian distance ace had a monster breakout year in 2023, specifically on the track. After a 2022 cross country season that was largely viewed as a success, Plourde caught fire during the winter months.
This past February, Plourde ran 8:57 for 3000 meters before improving her time in that event to 8:53 two weeks later. That latter mark would ultimately put the rising Utah runner onto the national stage. There, she would earn 4th place All-American honors over the same distance.
On the outdoor oval, Plourde was even better. She ran 15:21 for 5000 meters, won the PAC-12 title over 1500 meters, ran a PR of 4:08 for 1500 meters and qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in both the 1500 meters and the 5k. She would earn 7th place All-American honors in the latter event.
Plourde will now join a Nike pro group that has aimed to establish an elite middle distance presence in a similar way that Bowerman Track Club has for the longer distances. But on the collegiate side, the newest Nike pro will leave the Utah women without a key low-stick this fall.
According to TFRRS, and with the recent news of Plourde going pro, the Utes are now expected to lose their top-four scorers from their 2022 cross country lineup which finished 12th on the national stage.