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Daniel Allar / Minot Daily News, Published June 26 2013

Fargo's Roesler wins Dakota Award

MINOT, N.D. – This time, Laura Roesler doesn’t have to share.

After tying University of Nebraska gymnast Emily Wong and former Colorado basketball player Austin Dufault for the 2012 Dakota Award, Roesler was voted the lone recipient of the 2013 honor by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. The award is given to North Dakota natives who excel in sports outside of the state.

Roesler, a middle distance runner for track and field powerhouse University of Oregon, set a string of personal records in the past year – including a 2 minute, 0.23 second 800-meter run Sunday to take fifth place at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. The former Fargo South star was the top collegian in the event, posting the third-best time in Oregon history and the fourth fastest in Pac-12 history.

“It’s really fun to be competing against all these great athletes and racing against the best,” said Roesler, who won 22 individual state championships in track and cross country in high school. “It’s all a part of my progression. If I want to eventually be running on the world stage, this is all part of the process.”

Roesler placed second in the 800 at the NCAA indoor and outdoor national meets. She was also a leg on the Ducks’ 1,600-meter relay team, which won a national title in the indoor season and finished fourth in the outdoor championships.

Even with all her success in NCAA races during her junior season, Roesler said winning the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., was the most memorable performance of the past year. She was the only college participant in a field that included five Olympians, a World Championships bronze medalist and a Pan American Games gold medalist.

“That was kind of a big race and a lot of accomplished women in that field,” said Roesler, who finished that race in a then-personal best 2:01.75. “For me, it was a big step in the right direction.”

Her next challenge will be breaking the two-minute mark, a hurdle Roesler described as more psychological than anything else.

“It will mean a lot to break that because once that barrier is broken, you can break it again and again,” she said.

In other awards, Bismarck distance runner Jake Leingang was named the non-school athlete of the year and the national champion Minot State University men’s club hockey team was named the non-school team of the year.