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Eric Peterson, Published June 16 2012

Momentum carries Roesler into Olympic Trials

Fargo - One weekend ago, Oregon sophomore Laura Roesler helped the Ducks win a national title in the 1,600-meter relay.

Her reward: A finals test the following Monday morning.

“I didn’t get much time to live in the moment,” the Fargo South graduate said with a laugh.

Roesler was the third leg on a 1,600 relay team that set a meet record at the NCAA Division I Outdoor track championships in Des Moines, Iowa. The team finished the race in 3 minutes, 24.54 seconds.

The time was not only a school and Pac-12 record, but also the second-fastest in collegiate history.

“That was unbelievable, amazing,” said Roesler, who has won a combined nine indoor and outdoor All-American honors at Oregon. “I wanted that moment to last forever.”

Now that Roesler has conquered finals week – finishing up Thursday by handing in a “long paper” she said – it’s on to the next big moment in an already remarkable track career. Roesler is expected to make the women’s 800 meters field (which has yet to be finalized) at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, which start later this week at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Roesler finished fourth in the 800 at last weekend’s Division I Outdoor meet with a time of 2:02.96. She clocked a personal-best 2:02:09 in the semifinals.

“I’m in a good place right now with racing,” Roesler said. “I’m coming off a good weekend. Everything is falling into place at the right time.”

This time around the Trials won’t be a new thing for Roesler. She competed at the 2008 Trials, which were also at Hayward Field, which is now Roesler’s home track. Roesler had just finished her sophomore year at South prior to the 2008 Trials.

“I think the first time she went in kind of blind,” said Karen Roesler, Laura’s mom. “I think this time around it’s like being at home for her. There is nothing like running at Hayward Field.”

Roesler feels she will be able to handle the moment better now. At the 2008 Trials, she became one of the media darlings at the event after she made it to the semifinals in the 800.

Since she couldn’t wear her high school uniform at those Trials, Roesler wore a pink shirt for a uniform top. That, along with her age and first-round performance in the 800, also grabbed attention.

“People were asking left and right what was I all about,” said Roesler, who was 16 at the time. “I kind of let my nerves get the best of me. It was like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ Now people will know who I am. I’m that girl in the pink shirt. I’m that high school runner.”

After garnering all that attention, Roesler felt she “ran scared” in the 800 semifinals in 2008.

“I know when she was done running (the first round) and she got into the media gauntlet,” Karen said. “That was kind of overwhelming.”

Now Roesler, 20, is four years older. She’s a smarter, more confident runner. She has two years of college seasoning to go along with that first Trials experience.

“I will be able to wear my Oregon gear so that’s kind of a cool thing for me,” Roesler said.

“I think it will be fun just to see how she has matured as a runner,” Karen added. “She has learned a lot.”

And now that Laura is done with the school year, she said “there is no reason to stress.” She celebrated the end of her finals week with ice cream and bowling on Thursday.

“I got dead last both games,” Laura said of that bowling outing with a chuckle. “Usually, I don’t get last.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com