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Under Armour signs top NCAA distance runner to endorsement contract

Under Armour has signed NCAA champion distance runner Morgan McDonald to an sponsorship deal, giving it a high-profile endorser in a segment of the sportswear industry long dominated by Nike.

McDonald, who won four NCAA titles for the University of Wisconsin over the past year and has represented his native Australia in international competition, announced the partnership Friday via Instagram.

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McDonald joins a relatively small group of track and field athletes sponsored by Baltimore-based Under Armour, and becomes one of the athletic brand’s most high-profile endorsers in the sport. Nike leads the sport in sponsorships, and other active competitors include New Balance, Puma, Brooks and HOKA ONE ONE.

The 23-year-old from Sydney is a contender to represent Australia in the 5,000 meters at the IAAF World Athletics Championships, to be held in Doha, Qatar, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 6. McDonald won the NCAA title at that distance last month with a time of 14:06.01.

McDonald wore Under Armour as a collegian — the company signed a $96 million deal in 2015 to outfit University of Wisconsin student athletes for 10 years.

The biggest names to wear Under Armour as endorsers include basketball star Stephen Curry, retired Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn and golfer Jordan Spieth.

In its third year of a corporate restructuring aimed reversing a slide in sales, Under Armour beat sales and profit expectations in its most recent quarterly earnings announcement. The company has seen strong sales in its HOVR running shoe line and it has made running a focus for new products.

An Under Armour spokeswoman could not be reached immediately for comment.

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