Hocker Announces Decision to Turn Pro
EUGENE, Ore. – Cole Hocker has signed with Nike and will forego the remainder of his collegiate career at Oregon to start his professional career. He made the announcement Monday morning on his Instagram account.
"Oregon played a huge role in that journey by providing the best coaches, facilities, and community possible. Couldn't be looking forward more to stepping onto the track as a Nike athlete," Hocker wrote in his post.
During his breakout 2021 campaign, Hocker was a three-time NCAA champion for the Ducks and U.S. champion at 1500 meters before going on to finish sixth at the Olympics in Tokyo. The Indianapolis, Ind., native is also a finalist for The Bowerman, which is awarded annually to the top male and female performer in collegiate track and field.
"We couldn't be more excited for Cole and his future as a professional athlete," UO head coach Robert Johnson said. "Cole set high goals for himself this season and reached incredible heights culminating as a finalist in the Tokyo Olympics. For him to reach this level of success as a member of our program, and at such a young age, speaks to both his incredible talent but also the standard we want all of our student-athletes to strive for. Coach Thomas did an outstanding job fostering his talent and guiding Cole along his journey here at Oregon."
Hocker became the fourth UO man to advance to the Olympics final in the 1500 meters, joining an exclusive list featuring Matthew Centrowitz (2012, '16), Dyrol Burleson (1960, '64) and Jim Grelle (1960). In that final, Hocker lowered his lifetime best and the Oregon school record to 3:31.40 in the fastest race in Olympics history. The top-six runners all finished under the previous Olympic record.
At the NCAA Indoor Championships, Hocker completed the mile-3000 double and became the first to sweep the two events since 2013. His winning time in the mile of 3:53.71 broke the meet record. Hocker captured his third NCAA title in front of the home crowd at Hayward Field, racing to victory at 1500 meters. It was the Ducks' first national title in the event since 2014.
Hocker's individual success at the national level aided the Men of Oregon to the NCAA Indoor team title and a runner-up team finish outdoors.
During the 2021 indoor season, Hocker became the No. 2 mile performer in NCAA history and No. 8 on the all-time world list with his time of 3:50.55 at the Tyson Invitational. His mark trails only fellow Duck Cooper Teare who won that race in 3:50.39 to break the collegiate record.
Hocker helped the UO men break the NCAA record and set an all-time world best in the distance-medley relay. He teamed with Teare, Luis Peralta and Charlie Hunter for a time of 9:19.42 at the Razorback Invitational, surpassing Oregon's own record set the previous year. Hocker split 2:49.89 on the opening 1200-meter leg.
For his impressive accolades throughout the first two months of the 2021 campaign, Hocker was the USTFCCCA National Indoor Track Athlete of the Year.
In a show of his range, Hocker ranked among the top eight nationally in three events during the outdoor season. His marks at the NCAA meet in the 1500 and 5,000 (13:18.95) meters ranked second and fourth, respectively, and his 800-meter time of 1:46.39 from the Pac-12 Championships was the eighth fastest in the country. Hocker was also the Pac-12 champion at 5,000 meters to go along a bronze finish in the 800 meters.
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