Jonah Hoey Leaves Shanahan, Will Race Open This Year

Jonah Hoey is no longer at Bishop Shanahan High School, the senior confirmed Tuesday to PennTrackXC.

Hoey, one of the nation's top returning middle distance runners, has transferred to Laurel Springs, an online school, where he will complete his high school degree. The change means Hoey will no longer compete at the PIAA level, but he will still race in open competitions during his senior year.

Hoey, who is the younger brother of Pennsylvania high school alums and current professional adidas athletes Josh Hoey and Jaxson Hoey, completed his junior year this past spring at Shanahan. He placed third in the 1,600 meters at the PIAA State Championships in a personal best of 4:11.41. A week later he ran a PR of 1:51.12 for 800 meters at the John Hay PA Distance Festival. At the 2019 USATF U20 Championships, Hoey placed third, just missing a spot on USA's Pan-American U20 team.

He is the nation's No. 4 outdoor returner in the 800 meters and No. 12 returner in the 1,600 meters.

A major motivating factor for the youngest Hoey leaving Shanahan was the ability to train with his older brothers, who are living at home now.

"One of the biggest reasons was because Josh and Jaxson are at home, so it feels like it would have been a missed opportunity on my end if I gave up my chance to train with them," Hoey said.

"I feel like it would be easier on the family because now we'd all be on the same page," he added, noting that his brothers are currently enrolled in online college.

Hoey said he plans to travel to meets with his brothers. Going to those meets would mean missing school and would give him unexcused absences, putting him in danger of not graduating. There was also the issue of facilities. Shanahan was not keen, per Hoey, on his brothers using the school's track because they are not students at the high school.

Ultimately, Hoey says, balancing the training plan -- ramping up his mileage, getting ready for collegiate competition, and training and racing with his brothers -- at Shanahan was a difficult obstacle.

"We had been talking with the (Shanahan) coach and we reached an understanding on a couple of different occasions, but I feel like we could never reach a final conclusion on an agreement on how involved I would be with the team and what meets we should go to," he said. "Although we probably could have made it work, it was just a matter of 'is it worth it?' We weighed our options and I feel like going to school (at Shanahan) would be a pretty large drain."

Jonah Hoey will be coached by Lee LaBadie, the distance and XC coach at the University of Akron, who is currently coaching his brothers. LeBadie gives the workouts to the Hoey's father, who helps facilitate the training on site. The younger brother has typically been doing abbreviated versions of their workouts.

As for his racing schedule, a lot is currently up in the air. There is a chance he competes this cross country season at Nike Cross Regionals in New York, a meet that allows for open athletes. He plans to compete alongside his brothers during the track season.

He is a "build stage" right now from a training standpoint.

After training mostly alone last season, Hoey is looking forward to having the company of his brothers.

"It has certainly be super helpful to have Josh and Jaxson here," Jonah said. "Not only to act as a guide for physical training, but also on a spiritual and emotion level to have that mentor has made a huge difference."

Hoey plans to make his college decision towards the end of the winter. His top two schools are the University of Illinois and the University of Tennessee. He recently went on a visit to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, but is not unlikely to choose the Tar Heels.