Clayton Murphy, Courtney Okolo Sign With Nike
Murphy, a junior at the University of Akron, decided to forgo his senior year of eligibility in favor of running as a professional heading into the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Murphy announced his decision at the Portland Track Festival, two days after winning the NCAA 1500m title in Eugene, Oregon. Murphy's final season at Akron included an NCAA indoor 800m championship and the third-fastest 1500m in NCAA Championships history. He clocked 3:36.38 in the NCAA outdoor final, which is also the second-fastest mark run by an American this year.
Watch Murphy's NCAA Championship performance:
Watch Murphy make his pro announcement after winning the Portland Track Festival on FloTrack:
"Things have happened so quickly in the past few weeks with the NCAA Championships and running multiple competitions since. When coach and I mapped out the season it was always with the Olympics in mind, so needless to say I am really looking forward to the Trials as the next step in the process," Murphy said in a press release. "I am really excited to announce my partnership with Nike. The company has had such a rich tradition in the sport since its inception and I am proud to be able to carry on that tradition."
Okolo is coming off of a breakthrough senior year that included shattering the 400m collegiate record and winning two NCAA outdoor titles. The Texas graduate improved her own collegiate record at April's LSU Alumni Gold meet when she ran 49.71, improving her own previous record by more than a quarter of a second. Okolo capped off her senior year by winning the open 400m and the 4x400m relay, which marks her fourth open 400m championship of her career.
Watch Okolo's workout before she won the Big 12 Championship:
Okolo currently ranks No. 2 in the world behind Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas.
"This has been such a dream of mine for the longest time. All of the preparation and training was to set myself up for this moment. I've had a tremendous past four years with tons of progress and I'm just so excited to be able to run for such a great company like Nike during an Olympic year," Okolo said.
Watch Okolo's final NCAA Championship performance: