ORONO – University of Maine cross country and track and field standout Riley Masters announced Friday he will transfer to another school in January.

Masters, who grew up in Bangor, declined to say where he’s going in a statement issued by the university, but various media reports indicate he is transferring to the University of Oklahoma.

During his 2½ years at Maine, Masters earned All-America honors twice and participated in three NCAA championships. He holds school records for the mile and 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 miles.

“I loved running for Coach Lech and the University of Maine,” he said. “I know that if I had stayed I could have had continued success under Mark, however, I am looking forward to pursuing new opportunities. Maine will always be home, but it is time for me to explore and experience something new.”

In 2010, Masters became the first UMaine runner to break four minutes in the mile, clocking 3:59.97 during an indoor meet in Boston. He has since lowered the mile record to 3:58.17.

Masters, who has two years of eligibility remaining in outdoor track and one year in indoor track, will be able to use the NCAA’s one-time transfer exception and compete immediately for the Sooners after he enrolls. The transfer exception applies to athletes from sports other than baseball, basketball, football and men’s hockey who have maintained their academic eligibility, though a waiver is required from the athlete’s original school.

“I know we’re doing all we can to help with Riley’s transfer,” said Laura Reed, assistant athletic director for public relations at UMaine.

Neither Lech, nor Athletic Director Steve Abbott were available for comment.

Officials at Oklahoma would neither confirm nor deny Masters’ pending transfer to the university.

“We don’t have any information about mid-year transfers until school resumes in January,” said Cassie Gage, a spokeswoman for Oklahoma’s track and field team.

First-semester finals ended at Oklahoma on Friday, and classes resume Jan. 17.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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