Bellarmine Prep senior distance runner Jack Yearian has committed to run cross country and track and field at the University of Oregon.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Yearian said. “A program with that much history and talent — I’m just really honored and excited to be a part of that.”
Now Yearian can focus on winning back-to-back state 4A titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 to go along with his 4A state cross country title.
The reigning Washington state boys Gatorade track and field athlete of the year is among an exclusive 15-minute 5-kilometer group in state history — reserved for those whose combined 800, 1,600 and 3,200 times add up to less than 15 minutes.
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He’s the only Bellarmine athlete to ever run the 3,200 in less than 9 minutes (8:58.61), which is just faster than Greg Erwin’s 1979 time of 9:05.70 for best in school history. Bellarmine coach Matt Ellis said Yearian is the school’s first distance runner to head to Track Town, USA, since Erwin.
“He’s a competitor. He’s a winner,” Ellis said. “At that level, they are looking for those guys.
“In a lot of ways, it’s an honor to be associated with training with a kid like that and knowing that a school like Oregon is interested in him.”
And you know he meant it — Ellis’ brother-in-law is Greg Metcalf, the head track and field coach at the University of Washington, which alongside Colorado, Stanford and UCLA was among Yearian’s top choices.
Oregon won its third consecutive NCAA indoor team track and field title this past season and has won back-to-back outdoor titles.
Yearian said Oregon didn’t show interest in him until recently. He said he met with distance coach Andy Powell at the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field.
“When I went to Eugene, something clicked and it felt right,” Yearian said. “Those other schools were all great programs and I was honored to be recruited by them. But something about Coach Powell really stuck.”
Yearian set the state sophomore record in the 1,600 when he finished in 4:08.50 two years ago and has a near-3.9 grade-point average.
And Ellis said Yearian is far from reaching his potential.
“He’s been training to succeed in high school with the intention of leaving plenty of room to grow,” Ellis said. “He trains what I would say a moderate amount and that’s by design.
“The most Jack has run is 60 miles in a week and most are in the 50s. … He’s been trained smartly and in a complete way not only in aerobic development, but speed and strength.”