Fargo South alum Roesler thrills at NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships
Roesler took her team from seventh to third place, running the third leg for the Ducks during the 1,600-meter relay finals. That strong surge helped Oregon finish third in that race at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships before 11,344 fans.
“My instructions before the race were to gamble a little bit in the first 200 (meters),” said Roesler, whose split was 51.62 seconds. “I don’t think I could have done anything more.”
After Roesler grabbed the baton and sped off, she electrified the crowd as she quickly started to pass other teams. She bolted down the back straightaway in front of the iconic wooden east grandstand and passed four runners by the end of her leg.
“It was fun watching her in the 4-by-4,” said Karen Roesler, Laura’s mom. “It kind of looked like high school again.”
When Laura handed the baton to senior anchor Phyllis Francis, the Ducks were in third place. Oregon was unable to make up any more spots with Texas and Texas A&M well ahead in the top two spots.
Texas A&M won the women’s team title with 75 points. Oregon finished third with 59.
“We had some highs and lows, but I’m happy with how it went,” Laura said. “For our team, we did all we could, so it was a good way to go out.”
Saturday’s 1,600 relay finish gave Roesler her 17th All-American status, the most by any female track athlete in program history.
“It’s mind-boggling to some degree,” said Lynn Roesler, Laura’s dad.
“That would have been unthinkable four years ago,” Laura added. “That’s a lot.”
Roesler ended her career with five NCAA national championships, including the 800 outdoor crown that she won Friday night. That victory was her first individual outdoor national title. Roesler also won the 800 indoor national championship earlier this year.
“She’s definitely left a huge legacy,” said Oregon head track coach Robert Johnson. “She’s been built for this. She’s just a phenomenal person and comes from a phenomenal family.”
Laura had a cheering section of around 40 friends and family at Hayward Field for the Championships, which drew more than 40,000 fans over the four days. A portion of that fan club gathered with Laura on the Hayward Field infield after the meet concluded, including Emily, her older sister, and, Kyle, her twin brother.
“It’s kind of sad,” Laura said of having her NCAA career come to an end. “I am really happy to have my family out there. . . . I have had a family member probably at every single track meet I’ve run in college.”
Roesler won 20 individual North Dakota Class A state championships during her prep career at Fargo South. She followed that with the 17 NCAA All-American mentions at Oregon.
“I kind of proved to myself that I can rise to the top at every level I am at, and hopefully that trend keeps on continuing,” Laura said.
Roesler plans to compete at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, which start June 26 in Sacramento, Calif.
Laura’s ultimate goal is to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
“That as a whole is a long-term goal. Nothing else is really set in stone,” said Laura, who graduates from Oregon today. “That’s where I want to be in a couple years. I still have a lot of big decisions to make.”