From the time he entered high school, Micah Bruggeman has dreamed of running at the NCAA Division I level.
That dream will soon become a reality.
A Joplin High School senior, Bruggeman signed a letter of intent on Wednesday to run track and cross country for the Missouri Tigers.
“It’s been my goal to go D-I and I felt like they put the most effort into recruiting me,” Bruggeman said. “I got to go to Mizzou’s campus and I met some of their guys in person and it was really nice. I really enjoyed it there. I just really like their program. I’ve spent most of my life in Joplin, so it’s nice to stay in Missouri. And the SEC is a really talented and loaded conference, so I’ll get to compete and train with some of the best.”
Throughout his prep career, Bruggeman has made multiple trips to state in both cross country and track and field.
Joplin distance coach Dustin Dixon noted Bruggeman has definitely left his mark on both the cross country and track programs.
“Micah has been so integral to the success that our teams have had over the past four years,” Dixon said. “He leaves us having run a top-three time in all four distance events in our school’s history. He has the third-fastest 5K time in cross country, the second-fastest 800 time, third-fastest two-mile and the fastest mile in school history (4:18). He will be very difficult to replace and we’re going to miss him.”
Bruggeman reached the state podium in his signature event, the 800-meter run, in both of his first two years of high school track and field, finishing third as a sophomore after taking fifth as a freshman.
Bruggeman also reached the podium in the 1600 as a sophomore, finishing sixth.
After such a stellar sophomore season, which also included conference, district and sectional championships in the 800, Bruggeman was poised to have a big junior year. The coronavirus pandemic eliminated a 2020 spring season.
This spring, Bruggeman has been bothered by a nagging injury, but he finished second in the 800 (1:58) and third in the 1600 (4:25) at last week’s Central Ozark Conference Meet.
Bruggeman noted the key to his success has been simple—hard work.
“As I look back on what I’ve done and all the work I’ve put in, there’s been a lot of sweat,” Bruggeman said. “I’ve ran with and raced against so many guys. I’ve watched other guys go to different places and now it’s my turn.”
The Eagles will compete at the district meet this Saturday in Nixa, with sectional and state meets to follow.
Bruggeman, who expects to focus on the 800 and 1600 at the next level, said he’s ready to finish his prep career on a high note.
“I want to make the most of the meets I’ve got left,” said Bruggeman, who also played basketball for Jeff Hafer’s Eagles during his prep career. “I’ve already had my last day of school, so I’m just focusing on track now. I hope to finish this season strong.”
— Joplin Athletics (@JHS_Athletics) May 12, 2021