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See How She Runs

She runs like a duck -- a University of Oregon Duck, that is. -- the official site of University of Oregon athletics -- introduces Laura Roesler like this:

One of the top middle distance recruits in the nation comes to Oregon after winning an astounding 22 state titles in her native North Dakota.

Who is she?

Turn the clock back to summer 2010. Wearing purple and black striped footies and a black warm-up suit, Laura sits by her mom, Karen, in the living room of their Fargo home.

“We kinda like staying out of the limelight,” says Karen. Laura nods. But with Laura’s record, it’s tough. The 2010 Fargo South High School graduate became the most decorated track athlete in North Dakota history. Highlights include:

  • Claiming her first state title in seventh grade in the 400 meter.
  • Qualifying for the 2008 Olympic trials – and reaching the semifinals in the 800 meter.
  • Setting a state record of 53:25 in the 400 in May 2010 – the third fastest in the country.
  • Inspiring USA Track and Field coach Rose Monday to describe her as a “phenomenal talent” with the potential to be one of the best 800-meter runners in the country.

Laura’s response to all the accolades? “I don’t really think about it,” she says shyly. “To me they’re all great experiences. I just think about the next meet.”

The starting block

Laura got her start close to home. “When she was little, there weren’t a lot of girls in the neighborhood so she played with boys,” says Karen. “She had to keep up or get left in the dust.”

Competitiveness emerged a few years later when she played on boys’ soccer teams. “We always knew her as quiet with a kind, soft heart,” says Karen. “But on the soccer field we saw a different side – a fierce competitor.”

And her ability to concentrate and work hard? That came through in schoolwork and piano lessons. Laura started lessons in second grade and still plays today. “It relaxes me,” she says.

Training and more training

Training a champion is a team sport. “We’ve really been blessed with good help over the years,” says Karen, a phys-ed teacher, former runner and longtime exerciser at Sanford Fitness Center in Fargo.

For Laura, keys to success have included exercising safely, adding variety and setting goals. Sanford Sports Medicine has been pleased to play a part:

  • Laura attended Speed-Strength camp in eighth grade.
  • Two years later she participated in Winter Sprint camp led by Brett Beil, Sanford exercise specialist.
  • Last summer she and Brett worked one-on-one, focusing on strength to improve stride.

Beil admires her drive and open-mindedness. “Laura could sit back and relax, knowing she’s the fastest in the state, but that’s not her,” he says. “And when you ask her to try something new, her only questions are how many, how heavy and how long.”

The next level

A quiet inspiration, Laura chases her potential. Well into her freshman year at the University of Oregon, she’s advanced her track career to NCAA Division 1. “Go Ducks,” she says, grinning.

But it’s not just people back home who are interested in her running career and where it might lead. Laura has caught the attention of many, including the New York Times: “Roesler will only be heading into her junior year in college by the time of the London Olympics in 2012.”

Hard work, excellent training, dedication, talent … and more hard work. All come together to transform a girl from North Dakota into an extraordinary champion. Possibly an Olympic champion?

Laura just shrugs and smiles. Stay tuned...

Learn more about POWER, Sanford's athletic enhancement training program.

Posted Date: January 2011