By DRAKE LOHSE
“Good things come to those who wait” might be one of the corniest sayings in the history of corny sayings. But for Drake’s Olivia Rogers, it may very well be true.
“Coming out of high school, one of the things that really sold me on Drake from the beginning was the training program,” Rogers said. “It’s very detailed, and it’s designed to build up so that you peak your senior year.”
That’s a tough sell to any eager athlete coming out of high school. To leave home and agree to hunker down is not an easy thing for a competitive spirit to accept. Rogers says it was an easy choice.
“I looked at a couple of other places,” Rogers said. “But I knew I wanted to be somewhere warm. And when I came and actually stepped foot on Drake’s campus, I knew this is where I wanted to be.”
Hearing someone refer to Iowa as “somewhere warm” might sound strange, but for Rogers, the Colorado native, Iowa was the perfect distance from home. She packed up and moved from Boulder to Des Moines, and while her training program wasn’t designed to culminate for another three years, Rogers didn’t wait to succeed. In 2016 alone, she finished 60th at the Hawkeye Invitational. Rogers placed 46th with a 6k time of 25:53.2 at the Oz Memorial, and took third at the Viking Invitational later that year. Her performances in 2016 culminated in a 57th place finish at the MVC Championship.
“Before a race, the one thing I always do is visualize,” Rogers said. “It’s that old trick of picturing yourself doing what you want to do. Just mentally envisioning yourself accomplishing what you want to accomplish over and over again.
The first day of the Jim Duncan Invitational was gloomy and damp. To picture success on such a day would be a challenge for most. For Olivia Rogers, it may have been the difference maker.
Rogers competed in the women’s 5,000 meters, along with three other Bulldogs. Rogers start was slow, but a late kick by the Colorado native carried her to the finish line. Olivia finished with a time of 17:29:88, smashing her personal record by two minutes.
“Olivia always wants to do more and to be endlessly pushed. Just by getting to know her this year and working with her every day, I see how she gets after everything, not just on the track but in everything she does,” Drake coach Lindsey Crevoiserat said. “She has the ability to transfer the drive and ambition she has into all aspects of her life which is remarkable to see.”
After the Relays, the Bulldogs compete in the Nebraska Invitational on May 4. The MVC Outdoor Championships kick off on the May 9. Olivia Rogers looks to close this year strong, and enter her senior season with confidence, she says.
Until then, there’s plenty of time to reflect on an already fruitful Bulldog career.
“The one thing that I’ve enjoyed more than anything during my time here,” Rogers said. “Has to be time with the team. Freshman year is the most challenging, for sure, being away from home and everything. But having a good team that you can spend time with off the track and help take your mind off the race, that’s something you don’t get everywhere.”
Photo courtesy of Drake Athletics