Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, August 18, 2023

Former Vol Jacobs training in Knoxville with eye on Olympics

Dylan Jacobs graduated from Notre Dame before taking a fifth year of elibibility at Tennessee, where he earned national honors. - Tennessee Athletics/UTsports.com

Dylan Jacobs only competed for the University of Tennessee for one year. But given all he accomplished in that short time, his legacy will likely span generations.

Jacobs capped his collegiate running career by breaking four school records, capturing three SEC titles and becoming UT’s first indoor 5,000-meter NCAA champion. He was named National Men’s Track Athlete of the Year for the 2022-23 indoor season by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

The Illinois native transferred to UT from Notre Dame in 2022 after capturing the 10K title in the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Jacobs followed his distance coach, Sean Carlson, in making the move to Knoxville.

Jacobs won’t be leaving any time soon either. After deciding to pursue a professional running career, he is staying in Knoxville to train under Carlson’s guidance.

“I really think Knoxville is my favorite place I have ever been,” Jacobs says. “I really do love it here. I love training and I love the people around here. It is something that is hard for me to walk away from.”

Jacobs graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in business analytics. The first-team Academic All-American had a consulting job lined up in Chicago, but decided to use his fifth year of eligibility to run at Tennessee

“I took a visit near the end of June and really enjoyed being around the guys on the team,” says Jacobs, the first Vol to be named Men’s Indoor Scholar Track Athlete of the Year. “I hung out with them and it definitely felt like a place where I could thrive and help them as well. That is the name of the game, to better yourself and also better others around you.”

That’s why, as much as the individual titles and records mean to Jacobs, he mentions the team accomplishments as some of his greatest memories over the last year. Jacobs savors being a part of UT’s SEC Indoor-winning distance medley relay team as well as helping the cross-country team place second overall at the SEC Championships.

“We are trying to build something really special here and we hadn’t been in the top three in a while in cross-country,” Jacobs says. “Obviously, we were shooting for the win. But just to grow the momentum for the upcoming year and the future of the team was awesome.”

Carlson is proud of everything Jacobs achieved during his sterling collegiate career and his dedication to constantly push himself to improve.

“Over the course of the past four years, I have had the pleasure of watching Dylan transform himself into one of the finest distance runners in the country,” Carlson says. “He is as competitive and relentless a worker as I have ever been around in my career. Throughout the last year, he has become as tactically masterful and thoughtful a racer as you will find in the NCAA.”

Team, individual sport

Jacobs grew up playing soccer and baseball when he was younger. He thought he would stick with soccer forever, but got burned out by the eighth grade. His mom wouldn’t let him sit around during the fall, so began looking at other sports options.

“Cross-country is one thing I was looking at since a lot of people get started running in soccer,” Jacobs says. “I fell in love with the team aspect. I was super fortunate to be coached by great coaches all throughout my career, which not many people have. It’s a blessing and helped me get to this spot. But it was my mom really making me do something is how it all started.”

Jacobs got more serious about running during his sophomore year of high school, and won the 2017 Foot Locker Nationals Cross Country Championship. He started seriously considering a professional running career as a junior in college once he saw the progression he was making.

His goal is to qualify for the Olympic Trials. He has signed with On Running and will make Knoxville his base. He is forming a group of about four runners who will relocate to the area and train with him.

“You can get the most out of yourself when you are surrounded by other great athletes,” he says. “So we have some people who I used to run with at Notre Dame and hopefully a couple others will be coming to Knoxville for training and we can try to start something here where everyone benefits.”

As focused as he was during his final year of competing in college, Jacobs made sure to take time to reflect on all his accomplishments. He knows he will never get those years back and didn’t want to take anything for granted.

“I definitely tried to do that at the end because everyone told me you need to really enjoy what you are doing before you graduate,” Jacobs says. “Running in college is awesome and I enjoyed every last bit of it. Just being around teammates and having fun traveling with them was special.”