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Felix Adamo / The Californian

Stockdale's Blake Haney leads the Division I boys cross-country race at the CIF Central Section Championships at Woodward Park In Fresno. Haney would stretch his lead from this point and went on to win by a comfortable margin.

Stockdale senior Blake Haney, ranked in some circles as the finest high school distance runner in the country, has verbally committed to run collegiately at Oregon.

Haney announced his choice Wednesday on Twitter; he chose the Ducks over his other finalist, Stanford. He also took official visits to Arizona State and Georgetown.

"I had a really great visit to Stanford, and I took a long time to think about it," Haney said. "Once I got to Oregon (on Nov. 16), I kind of got a feeling that was the place for me. I really connected with the coach and the team."

Verbal commitments are non-binding; Haney can sign an official letter of intent when the NCAA Spring Signing Period begins Feb. 5.

But Haney said he's all-in with Oregon, a program synonymous with distance running. The Ducks have won six men's track and field national championships and six more in men's cross country.

It's in the distance-running mecca of Eugene, Ore., where Hayward Field has housed multiple USA Track & Field Olympic Trials and other prestigious meets.

"It's always been one of those things," Haney said. "I think all runners, almost, say they want to go to Oregon at some point. I never knew if it was a good place for me. It's kind of surreal now, knowing I'm going there and that it's a fit for me. I'm really excited."

Haney, who won state championships in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters in track and field last spring, runs for his first cross country state title at 9:40 a.m. Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno. He placed fifth in the 1,500 meters at the IAAF World Youth Championships this past summer in Donetsk, Ukraine. His time, 3:44.69, was the fastest ever recorded by an American in the event.