Feb. 11, 2013
TEMPE – The Arizona State University track and field program scored the biggest in-state commitment since Jacquelyn Johnson with the addition of Bernie Montoya (Yuma, Ariz./Cibola High School), who has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete for the Sun Devils, head coach Greg Kraft announced.
Montoya is widely considered the top-ranked distance recruit in the United States and enters his senior season at Cibola HS as a five-time Arizona state high school track and field champion and a three time state Cross Country Champion.
He became the first student-athlete in Arizona prep history to win three state cross country titles following his 5,000-meter victory in 15:14.23 at the Arizona Division I State Championships and went on to finish 22nd at the Nike Cross Country nationals this past fall.
Last season, Montoya made headlines across the country as he won the prestigious adidas Dream Mile in New York. The races are run as a part of the Diamond League meet, the adidas Grand Prix. Both the Dream Mile and Dream 100 are invitation only races (selected by adidas) with the Mile featuring the 14 best athletes in the country on both the men`s and women`s sides.
Montoya shocked the field with his winning time of 4:01.32 to win the event, clocking the fastest time in United States junior class prep history and the ninth-fastest time in U.S. high school history, period.
Montoya also holds the Arizona state two-mile record with his time of 8:48.25 at 3,200-meters – the second-fastest time in the nation among returning prep runners. He also has a personal best of 1:52.49 at 800 meters.
Even with the great history Arizona State has had in the distance events, Montoya comes to Tempe as the most highly regarded recruit in Sun Devil history and has the potential to be just one of five high school runners in American history to break the four minute barrier this season in the mile.
Montoya selected Arizona State over the likes of perennial distance powerhouses Oklahoma State and Oregon, both of which he took official visits to during the recruiting process.
The last in-state recruit Arizona State picked up that came in so highly regarded was Jacquelyn Johnson, who also came out of Yuma, Ariz. Johnson would go on to win seven national titles for the Sun Devils and competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Montoya will join Cody Brazael on ASU's distance squad next year, who is the nation's No. 7 returning miler in the high school ranks this year - giving ASU two of the top seven student-athetes in the event next season.
ASU Men’s Distance Coach Louie Quintana on Montoya:
“Bernie is a magnificent young man. He comes from a very strong family and tight knit community down in Yuma, Arizona. His commitment to ASU is a tremendous boost to our young and very talented distance squad. We have created a strong bond during this recruitment process and I feel that ASU is the best fit for Bernie to begin to actualize his goals of becoming a National Champion on the collegiate level and to subsequently begin to prepare for life as a professional runner down the road. I have been fortunate to Coach five NCAA individual champions in five different events as well as World and Olympic qualifiers; Bernie has the psychological and physiological gifts to make a mark on the NCAA landscape. This is a tremendous day for Arizona State University Track and Field. We are honored to receive his commitment and are equally excited to get to work.”