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Published July 28 2010

Roesler steps in to help US win gold

Former Fargo South track and field standout Laura Roesler achieved her goal of earning a gold medal at last weekend’s IAAF World Junior Championships.

However, it wasn’t in her signature event.

Roesler, one of the top junior 800-meter runners in the country, helped the United States to its fifth-consecutive 1,600 relay crown as a late addition to the team Sunday in Moncton, New Brunswick.

The U.S. team of Roesler, Diamond Dixon, Stacey-Ann Smith and Regina George ran the fastest juniors time in the world this season at

3 minutes, 31.20 seconds.

“It was a good way to end,” Roesler said Tuesday from her home in Fargo.

Roesler started the competition with her eyes on the 800.

But she just missed making the finals of the event.

Roesler – who wrapped up her prep career as the most decorated track and field athlete in North Dakota history with 20 individual titles – finished fourth in her preliminary heat with a season-best time of 2:04.34.

The top two finishers in each of three heats and the next two fastest times advanced to the finals.

Roesler was edged by USA teammate Ajee Wilson (2:04.33) for the final qualifying spot.

“It was a little disappointing,” she said. “But I was happy with how I ran, being the first person to not make (the final) by, like, nothing. If I had been in any other heat I would have made it in.”

Roesler said Team USA coaches alerted her on Thursday that she might be asked to run the 1,600 relay.

It became official on Saturday.

Roesler was a surprise addition because she was not listed in the official pool of runners for the relay event.

The U.S. 1,600 relay team of Roesler, Dixon, Sanura Eley-O’Reilly and Briana Nelson finished second in their heat in the preliminaries with a time of 3:35.26.

In the final, Roesler put the U.S. in the lead for the first time and gave her team a big cushion before handing the baton to anchor George.

The winning time was the 10th best in the history of the event.

Roesler said she will take the next month off before heading to the University of Oregon for her freshman season in September.

“It was a long few days,” Roesler said of World Juniors.

Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found

at www.areavoices.com