The Commit: Evan Bishop
Updated: Apr 8
Evan Bishop is one of the top high school distance runners in the nation, owning personal bests of 14:30 for 5000 meters and 9:06 for 3200 meters. He is also a four-time All-American, twice on the track and twice in cross country, highlighted by a 9th place finish at the 2018 Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships. The Michigan native recently committed to the University of Wisconsin.
Many thanks to Evan for taking the time to answer some of our questions!
The Stride Report: Before we chat about your recent college commitment, let’s talk about your high school performances for a bit. Last spring you ran 14:30 for 5000 meters at New Balance Nationals to finish 4th overall. What has that race done for your confidence going into the summer and this fall?
Evan Bishop: Running a 14:30 at the end of the track season was a confidence boost heading into my final high school cross country season. With the way the racing schedule is set up in Michigan, it’s tough to run fast when you are racing one to two times every week and running three to four events at each meet. You only get a few opportunities to run a fresh and fast race. I felt like 14:30 was finally a time I was proud of. It just validates the level that I’m at and my ability to compete with the other top guys in the country.
TSR: So far this season, you’ve won six of your last seven races with four of those meets all coming in consecutive weeks. During the 2018 cross country season, you ended up earning All-American honors at both Footlocker and NXN. What do you think allows you to perform at such a high level despite a heavy volume of racing?
Evan: The heavy volume of the racing schedule in Michigan can definitely be tough. At the same time, racing week in and week out forces you to stay mentally tough and gives you more racing experience. Win or lose, I try to learn something from each race so that regardless of the outcome, I am better moving forward. Having raced so frequently during the regular season allowed me to bring my best for three straight weekends at the end of the postseason for both the Footlocker and Nike regional meets as well as the National Championships.
TSR: Let’s transition to the more recent news. You just announced your commitment to the University of Wisconsin. What made you choose the Badgers?
Evan: I am really excited about Wisconsin. There were a lot of factors to consider, but ultimately it came down to the team culture, strength of the team, and the huge effort that Mick and Gavin made to make it clear that they wanted me to be a Badger. Wisconsin had both the high academic and athletic standards I was looking for in a school.
TSR: What other schools were you looking at? What did Wisconsin have that those other schools didn’t?
Evan: I got to talk to and get to know a lot of great coaches throughout the recruiting process. I narrowed down my top three to Michigan, UNC and Wisconsin. I really liked the size of the Wisconsin team and it was clear that Mick took the time to develop each athlete. Whether you’re a 4x NCAA champ or an incoming freshman, Mick will put the time in to help you be successful. The facilities, gear and resources were great, but it’s the people that make a place special and successful.
TSR: Coach Byrne has built an elite powerhouse program in Madison, Wisconsin. Talk about how you see yourself fitting into their roster over the next few years.
Evan: I am humbled to be joining such an incredible and historic program. I will be looking to help the team in any way I can. Wisconsin has very high goals for the next few years that align with my own and I am really looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish in terms of Big Ten, Regional, and National titles.
TSR: What are your thoughts on transitioning to the 8000 meters and 10,000 meters during cross country?
Evan: I’m really looking forward to the increase in distance. I think my strength is greater as the distance of the race increases. I’m excited to see what I can run in the 8k and 10k.
TSR: Was there anything about the coaching staff, specifically Mick Byrne, that really caught your attention? Was there anything in particular that you liked?
Evan: There were a few things that stood out to me about Mick. First, he’s a humble guy. His success speaks for itself. He has experience developing guys into National Champions and Olympians. Mick goes all out on what he thinks is important and invests a huge amount of time and effort into being a coach. He’s straightforward with you about everything. Whether it’s going to be great or upsetting news, Mick gives you the 100% truth. I really respect that and feel like that kind of clarity and honesty is super important in a coach-athlete relationship.
TSR: What were your initial thoughts on the team? Was there anything that stood out to you?
Evan: The team was awesome. Over the course of the weekend, every guy on the team made an effort to get to know me. It was a big deal to me that while these guys loved to have fun, they were extremely driven and focused on being successful. It was exactly the kind of culture I was looking for.
TSR: Give us your recruiting pitch for other top recruits to come to Wisconsin.
Evan: Wisconsin has historically been one of the most consistent and elite programs in the country. There’s a reason they’ve won 16 of the last 20 Big Ten titles. They know what it takes to develop a national championship cross country team because they have done it. The coaches and athletes care about you - you won’t just blend in with the crowd. The emphasis on excellence in the classroom is important at Wisconsin and there is a great balance between academics and athletics. As a bonus, Madison is an amazing city.
TSR: What advice would you give to other athletes who are going through the college recruiting process?
Evan: Take a breath and enjoy it. It’s a very small group of people that get to experience what you are going through. It can definitely be stressful at times, but remember that this decision is about you. Recruiting is a business, so you’re not going to offend anyone when you’ve found the place that’s the best fit for you. Figure out what you value most in a school and program, but don’t overthink it. You will know what feels right.
TSR: Any final comments? Shout-outs?
Evan: No one can be successful alone. I have an incredible support system to thank for helping me become the athlete I am today. My brothers Jonah and Rowen have been like mini trainers, biking alongside me on countless solo workouts and yelling splits and encouragement during races. I feel extremely lucky to have parents who have given me every possible opportunity; getting me to the starting line at all of the regional and national events to allow me to compete on the highest stage. I’m thankful for the unwavering support from grandparents, especially my Grandpa (Jaja), who has made it to almost every one of my races since 7th grade. I’ve been fortunate to have teammates who have supported me, trained alongside me, and kept practices fun. Finally, my coaches who have each helped develop different yet vital aspects of my game. Our head coach, Dan, has poured an enormous amount of time into writing workouts, strategizing, and helping bring the best out of me 365 days a year.