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Sports >  High school sports

Record-breaking North Central runner Allie Janke commits to defending national champ Arkansas

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 22, 2020

North Central senior cross country and track star Allie Janke points to a pumpkin with a University of Arkansas logo, revealing her college choice.  (Courtesy)
North Central senior cross country and track star Allie Janke points to a pumpkin with a University of Arkansas logo, revealing her college choice. (Courtesy)

A picture of Allie Janke’s pumpkin ended the record-breaking North Central runner’s recruiting process.

“Woo Pig Sooie” read the pumpkin, painted white, conveying the University of Arkansas’ popular cheer.

Janke, one of the country’s most decorated high school distance runners, committed to the defending NCAA national champion Razorbacks’ cross country team.

The five-time state individual cross country and track champion – likely more if not for a canceled spring 2020 due to the coronavirus – chose Arkansas over Washington, Illinois, Michigan State and Utah, among others. She will likely run cross country and track for the Southeastern Conference power, which has a No. 1 cross country ranking.

“They have such a great legacy down there,” Janke said. “They won both national cross country and indoor (track and field) national championships last year before the pandemic.”

Janke broke state 3A track and field records in the 1,600 meters (4 minutes, 43.60 seconds) and 3,200m (10:10.83) as a sophomore and won two 3A cross country titles.

NC’s 2020 cross country season was postponed to early 2021, when she’ll be favored for a third.

“Arkansas was a little intimidating at first,” said Janke, MileSplit’s 27th-ranked recruit. “Everything there is so impressive. Olympic-level quality, so I’m glad I’ll have the opportunity to get use it for four or five years.”

Janke is the latest in her family of decorated runners to commit to an NCAA Division I program.

Her brother, Justin Janke, runs for WSU. Cousins Nathan and Kendra Weitz ran for Northern Arizona and Lipscomb, respectively. Janke’s mother, NC cross country coach Jan Janke, ran at Seattle Pacific.

“I really liked the town (Fayetteville, Arkansas),” Allie Janke said. “The running trails were pretty. Washington is a pretty nice place to run. My expectations are pretty high.”

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