On The Dotted Line (Part One)


With the NCAA season now at a close, it is now time for graduating seniors to pursue the next chapters of their lives. For many recent graduates, they'll opt to focus on endeavors outside of running. However, for a select few, they'll be aiming to sign professional contracts with sponsors to continue their running careers.


Grant Fisher kicked-off the first major professional contract signing of the summer after announcing that he would be signing with Nike and joining Bowerman Track Club to train under Coach Schumacher. However, outside of Fisher, most athletes have only signed on with agents up and to this point.


Below, we explore the potential options of where these former NCAA stars could end up...


Jessica Hull (Oregon)

If you're at all familiar with the Oregon Ducks, then you know that Nike has an incredible amount of influence on that program and their individuals. It seems like a given that Jessica Hull will sign with Nike, a powerhouse corporation that will not shy away from giving a beloved Oregon star the money that she deserves.


Despite Nike seeming like an obvious option, other brands could play a role. Both New Balance and Adidas have shown that they are willing to extend attractive offers to young, stand-out female stars who will have a great chance of making it to the Olympics in 2020. Don't be surprised if Hull opts to venture away from the Oregon-based swoosh.


In regards to training, one option for Hull could be to go back to Australia and train with Melbourne Track Club, the professional training group that is scattered with Nike athletes and is home to a handful of Aussie stars.


If that isn't in her plans, maybe she'll decide to stay in the States and train with Bowerman Track Club. The Jerry Schumacher-led group is, without question, the greatest professional training group in the world for women's distance runners. Bowerman TC hasn't shied away from bringing NCAA superstars into their team (see Grant Fisher), so it would hardly be surprising to see Jessica Hull join the group.


But let's just say that Hull doesn't sign with Nike. Or Adidas. Or New Balance. What if she signed with Brooks instead? When you think about it, a contract with Brooks wouldn't totally be out of the question. The Seattle-based group would put Hull back in touch with former Oregon coach Maurica Powell. Not only that, but Beasts TC has seen major success with their men's 1500 runners and may be incentivized to reignite their women's distance group with a young, dominant star. The multiple connections found in Seattle tells us that there is a lot to like about signing with Brooks.


Jazmine Fray (Texas A&M)

There may not be a better option for Jazmine Fray than Adidas and the connections make plenty of sense. Earlier this year, former Texas A&M teammate Sammy Watson signed a contract with Adidas and recently discussed the possibility of moving to Philadelphia to train with Juventus TC, a professional track group that is highlighted by Adidas 800 meter standout Ajee Wilson.


With both Watson and Wilson working under Coach Derek Thompson, it feels like this could be a perfect scenario for Adidas who would be able to build a superstar team that dominates a relatively quiet portion of the country when it comes to professional training groups. When you consider that she won a national title and is the indoor collegiate record holder for 800 meters, Fray would seemingly make the perfect training partner for Ajee Wilson.


However, if an Adidas partnership didn't work out, Fray could always venture towards a Nike contract. The move would likely push her towards Oregon Track Club where she could team up with former Virginia Tech middle distance standout Hanna Green. Heck, who knows? Nike Oregon Project has seen some phenomenal success with 800 meter runners such as Donavan Brazier, Craig Engels, and Clayton Murphy. Could Fray head to NOP and pilot the development of a women's middle distance group, specifically at 800 meters? Crazier things have happened...


Paige Stoner (Syracuse)

The Syracuse star may not have had a great performance at the national meet (7th in the 10k), but it would be a major oversight to assume that that result is indicative of her actual talent. This past spring, Stoner was ranked NCAA #5 in the steeplechase, NCAA #2 in the 10k, and NCAA #2 in the 5k.


Simply put, she can do it all.


So where should Stoner go from here? Truthfully, it's tough to say for sure. A Nike-centric training group would seem a little random and Adidas hasn't typically ventured outside of the short and middle distance events when offering contracts. Sure, brands like Saucony and Hoka One One could come into play, but there doesn't seem to be a connection that would indicate Stoner signing with one brand over and another...except for one.


What about Reebok? Could Paige Stoner head down to Charlottesville, Virginia to train with a handful of her former Syracuse teammates? If she did, she would be training with Tori Gerlach (as well as Amy-Eloise Neale) who happens to be wildly versatile in longer events as well as the steeplechase. Stoner would be the perfect complement to Gerlach on a women's team that could use a little bit of a boost.


Other Potential Signings


Susan Ejore (Oregon)

Predicted Sponsor: Nike

Predicted Training Group/Coach: Oregon Track Club

Other Options: Adidas/Juventus TC


Erin Finn (Michigan)

Predicted Sponsor: Reebok

Predicted Training Group/Coach: Reebok TC

Other Options: Hoka One One/NAZ Elite


Rachel Pocratsky (Virginia Tech)

Predicted Sponsor: Nike

Predicted Training Group/Coach: Oregon Track Club

Other Options: Reebok/Reebok TC


Allie Wilson (Monmouth)

Predicted Sponsor: Adidas

Predicted Training Group/Coach: Juventus TC

Other Options: Under Armour/District TC


Isobel Batt-Doyle (Washington)

Predicted Sponsor: Brooks

Predicted Training Group/Coach: Maurica Powell (Seattle)

Other Options: Nike/Maurica Powell (Seattle)