CORNING - Hawks runner John Cleary announced his commitment to run at Division I Cornell University Wednesday at Corning-Painted Post High School in front of a large gathering of supporters.

“It’s a great feeling, especially out here with all of my family and friends,” said Cleary. “Just knowing that they’ve supported me all throughout high school and will continue to support me when I go to college is really a great feeling.”

A plethora of different factors went into Cleary ultimately choosing to continue his education and running career at Cornell.

“Cornell just kind of stood out and made sense in a lot of different ways,” Cleary said. “It’s a really competitive school academically and it had the programs I was looking for. It also had the competitive running side of things so I could improve both as an athlete and academically.”

Academics were important to Cleary and believes he made the right choice becoming a member of the Big Red with top academic schools like Johns Hopkins and Carnegie Mellon also in the running.

At Corning, Cleary has competed as a varsity runner on the Hawks cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams since his freshman year. He holds the Freshman, Sophomore and Junior class records in the 600 meter and 800 meter events. He has also qualified for State and National level competition multiple times. In addition, he was fortunate to be a member of the 2017 NYSPHSAA Championship Cross Country team which was also the first Section 4 team to qualify for Nike Cross Country Nationals in Portland, Oregon.

Running at such a successful program with Corning has prepared Cleary to make the leap to the Division I level.

“I think it worked out really well, because a lot of the training that we do here at Corning is preparing us for college,” said Cleary. “Especially the way the coaches give us the freedom to do workouts and long runs on our own. I think that makes me really confident going into next year that a lot of the training has been centered around preparing for the next level.”

Cleary intends to study Chemical Engineering at Cornell University.