• Curtis Anderson

Northern Arizona’s Trouard joins OTC Elite

EUGENE, Ore. – As a distance runner, Andy Trouard is a bit of a late bloomer. The newest addition to the Oregon Track Club Elite roster didn’t join the track and field team at Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, Arizona until his junior season, and he waited until his senior year to run cross country.

But that didn’t stop him from finding success.

Trouard won the individual state cross country title in his one and only season, and he also earned state championships on the track at three distances: 800m, 1,600m and 3,200m. Those results were good enough to earn a scholarship to continue running at nearby Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where he focused on the mile.

That all changed in the fall of 2016, however, when newly hired distance coach Mike Smith arrived at NAU. He advised Trouard that his combination of strength and acceleration would be better served over longer distances.

“When Coach Smith came in, I thought of myself as a miler,” Trouard said. “He thought I should be a long distance guy, but he wanted to give me some freedom, so that first year he let me do what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until my last season that he sat me down and told me what a great 3K or 5K runner I could be. As it turns out, he was right.”

Trouard, who graduated with a degree in mathematics last spring, won the 3,000m at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, becoming the first NAU athlete to win an NCAA title since David McNeil in 2010.

The three-time Big Sky champion also placed fifth in the 5,000m at the 2018 NCAA Indoor meet, and followed up with a fourth-place finish in the 5,000m at the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field last June.

His biggest achievements, however, came as a member of the NAU cross country team. He was the Lumberjacks’ No. 4 runner as they claimed back-to-back NCAA Cross Country Championships in 2016 and ’17 – the school’s first national team title in any sport. Trouard was a model of consistency as he placed 37th overall as a junior, and 35th as a senior.

“Going into 2016, we knew we would be good,” Trouard said. “We had a couple of guys who had redshirted the year before, and winning the national title was our one and only goal. At the beginning of the year, we had a little camping trip where that was brought up, and we never talked about it again.”

Trouard’s transition from the mile to the 5,000m was cemented last spring when he set a PR of 13:21.07 with a sixth-place finish at the Payton Jordan Invitational.

Today, as the 24-year-old Trouard begins his pro career as an OTC Elite distance runner, he can’t believe his good fortune at being coached by Mark Rowland in TrackTown USA.

“I won the lottery with Mark Rowland wanting to coach me,” Trouard said. “This is a great set-up here. Nike is the most prestigious shoe company in the world and the guys on the team have all had success and are fun to be around.

“Eugene is a great community as far as running goes. I know I’m in the right place to get everything I need. If I put in the work over the next couple of years, the results will follow.”