The following is a press release courtesy of Iowa State athletics.
AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State track and cross country program announced today the addition of one of the nation’s top prep runners, with the signing of Gilbert High School product Thomas Pollard. Pollard signed his National Letter of Intent this morning, solidifying his commitment to run for the Cardinal and Gold.
Pollard has claimed numerous accolades during his high school career, both on the course and on the track. On the course, Pollard captured the 2014 3A individual state title two weeks ago, breaking the tape in just 15 minutes, 4 seconds. He also notched runner-up finishes at the state meet in each of the previous two seasons.
The Ames, Iowa, native earned All-America recognition a year ago, running to a 13th-place finish at the Foot Locker Nationals as a junior. His performances at the state and national meets earned him recognition as Gatorade’s 2013-14 Iowa Cross Country Runner of the Year.
On the track, Pollard confirmed himself as one of the nation’s elite, clocking a state-record 8:50.43 en route to the state title in the 3200-meter run. The time is the fastest ever run by an Iowan and ranked as the third-fastest time in the nation during the 2014 season. The state title is one of Pollard’s seven top-five individual finishes at the state meet.
Pollard has qualified for the state championships eight times, a number that will likely increase this spring.
On the national stage, Pollard has taken home top-five finishes at several highly-touted events, finishing third at the USA World Youth Trials (3000m), fourth at the Nike Festival of Miles (4:08.28) and fifth at the Brooks PR Invitational (2 mile – 8:56.83) and New Balance Outdoor Nationals (2 mile – 8:59.63).
In choosing the Cyclones, Pollard cited Iowa State head coach Martin Smith’s experience and reputation, team atmosphere, proximity to home and ISU’s academics as the primary factors in his decision. He plans to major in statistics and supply chain logistics.
“I feel Coach Smith has recruited a group of runners that have the potential to do something really special in the next several years and I wanted to be part of that group,” Pollard said. “I got to know several of the guys at last year’s Foot Locker Championships and the Brooks PR Invite. I am really looking forward to becoming their teammates.”
“Iowa State is a perfect fit for me,” he added. “It allows me to run for a nationally competitive program and attend one of the top statistics and logistics programs in the country.”
Pollard chose the Cyclones over Oregon, Stanford, Wisconsin and Indiana. He follows recent Iowa high school standouts Kiel Uhl (Des Moines Roosevelt), Jason Thomas (West Des Moines Dowling Catholic) and Josh Evans (Linn-Mar), who chose to run at Iowa State.
Pollard, who led Gilbert High School to its first-ever 3A team state cross country championship, will return to action at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional in Wisconsin on Nov. 29. Pollard hopes to qualify for the Foot Locker national high school cross country finals in San Diego on Dec. 13.
*2013 Foot Locker HS All-American
*2013-14 Gatorade Iowa Cross Country Runner of the Year
*Two-time Iowa HS state champion (3200m, XC)
*2013 Drake Relays Champion (3200m)
*Iowa HS 3200m Record Holder (8:50.43, No. 3 nationally)
*Three-time Junior Olympic Champion
*Top-5 finishes at USATF World Youth Trials, Nike Festival of Miles, Brooks PR Invite and New Balance Outdoor Nationals