Oregon’s Cooper Teare is unquestionably a talented athlete. He was fourth at the U.S. Olympic trials, sixth at the 2019 D1 NCAA Championships and is the NCAA mile record-holder, but at this weekend’s NCAA cross country championships, he collapsed in the final metres of the race and had to crawl to the finish line.
This is Cooper Teare
He finished 3rd at the West Prelim
6th at Nationals in 2019
One of the best runners in the field. XC is tough, relentless, not every race is going to go well. To have the mental toughness to keep going, not drop out, thats admirablepic.twitter.com/DgD0Mp2DRy
— Cross Country Probs (@CrossProb) November 20, 2021
His finish was hard to watch, especially given his impressive resume, but fans admired and praised his determination to make it to the finish line of his final NCAA XC championships. While he showed a lot of guts on the course, some are asking whether officials should have stepped in, rather than allowing him to struggle to the finish, fearing for his health and safety. Teare seemed to be in decent spirits after the race, however, and took to Instagram to thank everyone for their support. “Today was hard, but that is why I love this sport,” he said. “The next opportunity is just around the corner.”
Cross country can be a relentless sport, and several talented athletes before Teare have succumbed to the challenge in the past, including Joshua Cheptegei at the 2017 World Cross Country Championships.
— Rodrigo (@runjara) November 21, 2021
While this was certainly not the way Teare likely hoped to end his collegiate cross country career, it’s clear by his response after the race that there’s more to come from the young athlete, and his level of determination will take him far in the sport.