SPORTS SPOTLIGHT | Jagger Zlotoff on his goal to run a sub-four-minute mile

Men’s cross-country captain and redshirt sophomore Jagger Zlotoff has his eyes set on running a sub-four-minute mile this running season.

Zlotoff is an accomplished runner and Mountain Lion. In 2023, he was selected in the RMAC all-academic first team as well as the all-RMAC first team.

Zlotoff thinks this season was his best because of all that he accomplished.

“My running has been going great this season. I had the best cross-country season of my career, running personal bests in the 8k at 24:48 for RMAC, which placed me 13th. I also placed 45th in the 10k with a time of 30:27 at the NCAA national championships.

“So far, the track has been going well. I’ve run a personal best in the mile with a time of 4:01, which qualified me for the NCAA national championships. I also ran a PR in the 3k at 8:09, a national provisional time,” Zlotoff said.

Zlotoff is focused on his goals as a cross-country runner, he has still been able to maintain a balance between his athletic and academic goals.

“I am majoring in computer science with a minor in entrepreneurship. Balancing academics and athletics can be difficult, but I am able to manage both by using time management skills. The further into my degree I go, the more difficult it has been to manage my academics and athletics. However, that was to be expected,” said Zlotoff.

Zlotoff said he likes to unwind from school and sports “by rock climbing at local gyms, getting with my friends to play board games or video games and sitting in the hot tub at UCCS when it’s working.”

He said that he has been able to find balance in his life while still finding time to do what he enjoys. “Being a student-athlete, there isn’t much time outside of school and sports, but I give myself a few hours a day to enjoy life,” he said.

Zlotoff has had time to practice this balance because he ran cross country in high school too. “I started running during my freshman year at Highland High School in Arizona,” Zlotoff said.

Zlotoff thinks his high school statistics are not impressive, but he credits them for making him passionate about cross country.

“I wasn’t super strong with running until my junior year, so my high school times aren’t anything to brag about. But in my junior year, I made varsity and was the fifth man on the team when we won cross-country state for 6A. After that, I was hooked and started setting goals for myself,” he said.

“I wanted to qualify for state in the mile and two-mile, but COVID ended the track season. However, during COVID, I was able to stay motivated and continue my training alone. Unfortunately, I overtrained during my senior year and ended up injured for the entire cross-country season,” Zlotoff said.

Zlotoff reflected on his goal to run a sub-four-minute mile this season, and he noted that the mile was his best event in high school.

“The sub-four mile has been a goal of mine for a long time but hasn’t been a feasible one until recently. [The sub-four-minute mile] is the holy grail of mid-distance running, so everyone who is a mid-distance runner dreams of breaking it. I had a teammate in high school break it my junior year, and that is when it first became something that I wanted to accomplish,” Zlotoff said.

“At first it was just a dream and something that I hoped to do in the distant future. But due to my insanely successful track season last year, it became an actual possibility and a goal that I have been striving for this year.” he said.

Zlotoff said he has been training for the four-minute-mile but has not done anything out of the ordinary to prepare for it.

“Training to break the four-minute-mile hasn’t been anything super special. The years of consistent training have brought me to where I am now. Running seven days a week, taking minimal downtime between seasons and pushing my body and mind during workouts have propelled my running,” Zlotoff said.

“There isn’t any secret workout or way of training that will help someone magically break the four-minute mile. Consistency, motivation and taking care of my body nutritionally have genuinely helped me on my journey.” he said.

Zlotoff hopes to attempt the four-minute-mile this season.

“I hope that I get the chance to give the sub-four-minute mile a crack in California this outdoor track season … I know that my family and friends will support and cheer me on and I know my coaches see all the hard work that I have put in,” Zlotoff said.

Jagger Zlotoff. Photo via