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Coming into college as one of the top recruits in the nation comes with lofty expectations.

That’s exactly what Northern Arizona distance runner Brodey Hasty has worked through during his freshman year. Hasty originally committed to run at Oregon, but flipped his commitment in August just before the start of the 2018 cross country season.

That decision put the highly touted runner on a squad full of distance talent -- making Hasty another potential star in a long line of Lumberjacks who have dominated on the national level in distance.

Presumably due to a large number of upperclassmen runners ahead of him, he redshirted cross country and got a chance to focus on training and learning from Lumberjacks director for cross country and track and field Michael Smith while the Northern Arizona squad clinched a third straight cross country national title.

Smith said the plan for Hasty was to make the transition from high school to college competition as smooth as possible. His indoor track and field season was limited, only racing a handful of events despite posting strong performances -- which set him up for a massive showing once outdoor season got rolling.

“We just have to be really, really patient and make sure we keep a positive, healthy relationship with competing. That’s the thing we really guarded throughout the year,” Smith said.

Once outdoor season came along, Hasty made good on the high standards that were placed on him as he took three top-six finishes in the men’s 5,000-meter and qualified for nationals in the event along with a pair of teammates.

Hasty is one of just two freshmen to have qualified for the 5K NCAA championship race, and is just one of seven underclassmen in the 24-athlete field. Hasty’s personal best time of 13:55.49 places him a few seconds behind his fellow Lumberjack runners Geordie Beamish and Luis Grijalva.

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“Well, I’d say that a large part of coming to college was figuring out a new way of dealing with all that stuff and I think I worked through it a lot with Coach Smith. We worked out some ways to kinda rethink things and think about things newly,” Hasty said.

Smith said with all of Hasty’s dominant high school performances, he came into college with a ton of attention on him -- something that some Northern Arizona runners don’t have until they have established themselves at the college level.

Massive expectations came with the attention, but Hasty learned from Smith on how to manage the outside noise.

“At first I felt there were some expectations and Coach Smith definitely helped me a lot in the fall to realize there are some, but there really aren’t any,” Hasty said. “They’re just other people’s expectations on you, not your own.”

Hasty has a rare chance to make an early splash on the national level.

The trick with Hasty: he still has time to make more splashes if this season doesn’t pan out. Making it to the championships is the start of what he and Smith hope can be a successful college career at Northern Arizona.

“I mean, hey, I’m here. I’m gonna race hard and work hard and we’ll see where that gets me,” Hasty said. “I have some median goals where if I do well, then I do well, and if I don’t, then I don’t. This is my first time at nationals and the experience over everything is important. So, if I do well there is an added bonus.”

Hasty is set to race at about 7:25 p.m. at the 2019 NCAA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas, on Friday.

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Lance Hartzler can be reached at 556-2251 or at lhartzler@azdailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @lance_hartz.

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Sports Reporter

Northern Arizona football and men's basketball beat reporter. Also covers prep and local sports around Flagstaff.

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