It’s amazing that a journey that spanned continents and took years could change and then take a massive turn because of three seconds.
As of today, Fork Union senior Alex Lomong is headed to Ohio State University to run track for the Buckeyes, in large part because he clocked a 1:48.67 at the Dogwood Invitational at Lanningan Field at UVa on May 7 in an incredible race that saw both Chantilly’s Brandon McGorty and Oregon-bound Drew Hunter of Loudoun Valley go sub-1:49. Lomong finished third with all three runners finishing within 10 hundreths of each other.
“It’s been crazy since I ran the time,” Lomong said.
That race threw his recruiting process into a different gear, a gear that put a much-needed full scholarship in his grasp, offers from Louisville, Ole Miss and Ohio State among them.
“He had offers at 1:51 but that 1:48 took him to another level,” said Fork Union coach Winston Brown. “It took that.”
It’s an incredible accomplishment for the Sudanese immigrant by way of Kenya and brother of 2008 Olympian Lopez Lomong. In seventh grade he arrived along with his brother Peter, who now runs at Northern Arizona, at Fork Union through the work of Brown and others. Alex didn’t even know the language at that point.
“I didn’t even speak in English at all, I just knew yes and no,” Lomong said. “I can’t believe how far I’ve come.”
Lomong has had an accomplished prep career that included three state titles this May at the VISAA championships in the 800, 1600 and 3200, but it was that 1:48 that made the difference and opened a door in Columbus.
“I took a visit and I liked how the team treats each other like family,” Lomong said.
Lomong knows something about forming and being welcomes into families. Brown, his wife and other members of the Central Virginia community have formed a family around Alex and his brother. That made today a special day for Fork Union employees, those that have embraced the Lomongs.
“He and Peter are a part of our family, for them to be succeeding like they are is really special,” Brown said. “He and Peter will always be our family.”
Alex’s brother gave him some pretty spot on advice as the recruiting whirlwind started to reach a fever pitch.
“He told me to go with my heart,” Lomong said.
His heart will take him to Ohio State now.