Cole Hocker: an Indiana running legend

Cole Hocker is a 20-year-old American, who grew up in Indianapolis, Ind., a mere two and a half hours from Gibson Southern High School. Hocker is arguably the most talented runner to ever come from the great state of Indiana and is currently one of the best distance runners in America. He attended Cathedral High School, where he collected numerous accolades, with one of them being Indiana’s Gatorade Runner of the Year. Like many runners, Hocker spent his time training and enjoying the competitiveness of Indiana cross country, as well as track and field. Hocker skyrocketed to greatness, which led him to announce his commitment to one of the most touted running programs in the nation, and quite frankly, one of the most coveted institutions in the world. 

Hocker saw enormous success with the Ducks his first year, as he aided the Men of Oregon an NCAA Indoor team title. During the 2021 season, he became the second-fastest miler in NCAA history and No. 8 on the all-time world list, with a stellar time of 3:50.55 at the Tyson Invitational. Hocker also helped the Men of Oregon set a new world record in the distance-medley relay with a time of 9:19,42, which is a relay that starts with 1,200 meters and works its way down to 400 meters with the last runner. Hocker was excellent in practically every distance event with him ranking in the top 8 in the country in three different events, as well as being a Pac-12 champion at 5,000 meters. All of these impressive accolades are what helped deem him the 2021 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. 

Shortly after having an exceptional outdoor season, one that resulted in being National Champion in the 1,500 meter, Hocker announced that he would be foregoing his next few years at Oregon to run professionally with Nike. This move shocked many in the running world, but it was one that he deserved after all his hard work and dedication to the sport he loves. 

The greatest accomplishment thus far in his career, is one I saved for last on purpose, which is his outstanding Olympic run in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. 

He started off his journey with a win at the United States Olympic Trials, at his home track in Eugene, Oregon, in the 1,500 meter run with a time of 3:35.28. His time was enough to guarantee him a spot in Tokyo, a lifelong dream of Hocker’s. He continued to train after his victory, before he departed for Tokyo, Japan, in search of qualifying for the Olympic Final in the 1,500 meter. He promptly carried himself through the quarter-final and semi-final rounds, which gave him an opportunity to medal in the Olympic Finals. In what some call “the greatest race ever” Hocker powered through the field, loaded with the world’s fastest milers, in which he took home a sixth-place finish for America. He ran a great race and was the youngest competitor in the field of professional runners. 

Hocker still has many more races and accolades to collect on the track, but he has already made a very good case to be one of the best runners America has ever seen, let alone the state of Indiana. Many runners look up to Hocker after his newly-found fame on the oval, and I, along with many others, aspire to achieve goals as lofty as Hocker has achieved.