He’s the best runner Annandale has ever had, four-time state champion, three-time All American runner and the Gatorade Runner of the Year. Ahmed Bile, who had more than 70 universities interested in him, of which 60 were Division 1 and 8 were Ivy League, recently announced his commitment to Georgetown University. What distinguished this university above all others for Bile was its overall prestige, excellent athletic program and the support it had from his family.
Bile, who began his running season only in his sophomore year after coming off a nine-year club soccer career, was immediately distinguished as one of the fastest runners in the school. His best times have been 1:50 minutes for the 800 meter run, 4:09 for the mile run and a 14:38 three-mile run.
He suffered a stress fracture injury in his foot last year and could not run for a total of nine weeks, yet he placed fourth in the district on his first race back from recovering. Naturally, these achievements gave Bile many opportunities to run for some of the best teams at the collegiate level.
Schools such as Georgetown, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, Duke and University of California Berkeley invited Bile to spend a few nights on campus throughout the past few months. Bile visited Georgetown first, followed by UVA and then UNC. “Georgetown was my first visit, it was the day after my birthday,” Bile said. “They showed me a good time.”
After the first three visits, Bile said he canceled his Duke and Berkeley visits. “I knew I wanted to go [to Georgetown],” he said. However, Bile also said “The UVA guys were really awesome, so it made my decision between UVA and Georgetown really tough.”
Cross country head coach David O’Hara said he supports Bile’s college decision “wholeheartedly.” “The program [at Georgetown] has a larger scope or view of Ahmed’s career,” O’Hara said. “It would bring him along a little more slowly instead of putting high intensity pressure on him his freshman year and cause him to be injured or slower as many programs would.”
As Bile’s coach for most of his running career, O’Hara knows what is best for Ahmed in terms of which college would best support Bile’s talent. “When you have a really great athlete your job as a coach is to help him prepare mentally and to keep him healthy,” O’Hara said. “Which is really a minimal role but an important role at the same time.”
Location was not a big factor in which university Bile committed to, although he was specifically considering schools on the east coast. “I didn’t care how close I was to home, but my mom was happy when I chose Georgetown,” Bile said. “My whole family wanted me to go to there and they’re all Georgetown fans and have grown up around DC, so it kinda played a factor that my whole family wanted me to go there.”
The fact that Georgetown is less than 30 minutes away from home was not the only factor that influenced Bile’s decision. “It was the best combination of athletics and academics,” Bile said. “I felt really comfortable with the team; the guys were awesome and I really liked the coach.”
Academics played a big part in Bile’s commitment. In the end, Bile said the name of the school and its overall prestige mattered greatly for him. He gets a fifth year of eligibility because of his red-shirting (which means taking a year off of athletics to do other things) and “[Georgetown] will pay for my grad school,” Bile said. “I’ll probably continue in the McDonough school of business or go to the law school.”
However Bile also said he sees himself signing a contract to go professional in his fifth year at Georgetown, which depends heavily on how well he performs at the collegiate level. “Like any great high school runner, a lot of things have to go right to be as successful in college as you are in high school,” O’Hara said. “A lot of that is being a healthy runner, which is a lot of the reason that he decided to go to Georgetown.”
Finally, a more personal reason Bile was willingly on-board with Georgetown is the fact that “Georgetown’s a big Nike school,” he said. “I’m just excited to get on the free gear and never having to buy any running stuff again.”
Overall, Bile, his family and his coach feel like he made the best decision for himself. “I felt really good about the decision,” O’Hara said. “It was really well informed, we took our time, and his parents took their time, and a lot of thought went into it so it wasn’t a rash or quick decision that we jumped into.”