A year after running to a national title, Laura Roesler still has her sights set on 2016 Olympics

FARGO-Laura Roesler is known for being fast, but the former University of Oregon track star is learning patience. A year removed from her NCAA Division I outdoor national championship in the women's 800-meter run, the 23-year-old Roesler is worki...
Oregon's Laura Roesler checks her time after winning the 800 meter run at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. last June.David Samson / The Forum

FARGO-Laura Roesler is known for being fast, but the former University of Oregon track star is learning patience.

A year removed from her NCAA Division I outdoor national championship in the women's 800-meter run, the 23-year-old Roesler is working back to full health, not being able to compete the past couple months due to an Achilles' injury.

"There was definitely a period of me being really mad and really frustrated and being disappointed," said Roesler, now a professional runner who trains near San Antonio. "Now, I have accepted all of that. ... I don't want to rush back."

The Fargo South High School graduate has spent most of the past two months cross training: activities like swimming, biking, pool workouts and running on an anti-gravity treadmill. Only in the past week has she started running with her full body weight.

The Forum's archives: From Fargo South to Oregon, standout runner Laura Roesler has achieved ‘mythical status’

Roesler's Achilles' injury, which turned out to be a slight tear, is one of the challenges she's had to negotiate since completing her storied career for the Oregon Ducks last June. She left the program the most decorated female track athlete in school history before turning pro last summer.

"It's kind of like being a (college) freshman all over," said Karen Roesler, Laura's mom. "It's another transition. You have to look at the big picture. It's been a really big learning curve."

Taking care of the off-the-track details of becoming a pro has been a process, which started with hiring an agent last summer. Soon after that, Roesler signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with Nike.

"It's a different type of homework," Laura said.

Laura has set up her own LLC (limited liability corporation). She has set up a trust fund. She hired a Portland, Ore., area law firm to handle the legal matters, taxes and financial planning for her running career.

"It's helped in taking care of little things us normal people wouldn't know how to do," said Lynn Roesler, Laura's dad. "Being self-employed is a little different than getting a paycheck from your employer."

Laura likely won't be ready to compete in the USATF Outdoor Championships, Monday said. That event starts June 25 in Eugene, Ore. Monday expects Roesler to be ready to compete later this summer, but hasn't set an exact timetable for a return to competition.

"While nationals are nice, next year is the Olympics," Monday said.

"Whenever I get started with my season is when I get started with my season," Laura added. "Right now, I'm worrying about being smart."

The 2016 Summer Olympics are in Brazil, and being an Olympian is one of Roesler's top goals. Karen and Lynn agreed the silver lining to Laura being injured is that it didn't happen during an Olympic year.

"We kept saying next year is a bigger year," Karen said.

Laura Roesler finished second in the 800 at the USATF Outdoor Championships last June with a time of 1 minute, 59.04 seconds. That was a couple weeks after she won the Division I outdoor 800 for Oregon.

Roesler has run in six professional events since last summer's USATF Outdoor Championships, with the most recent coming near the end of March before she was sidelined with her injury. While the training can be grueling and time consuming, Laura feels fortunate she's been able to continue her running career.

"I'm really lucky that I have a chance to chase my professional dream," Roesler said.

 

Video highlighting Laura Roesler's final NCAA championship appearance: http://www.inforum.com/video/4293157356001