In her first-ever appearance at the Mecca of collegiate track and field, Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, Utah’s Rosalie Waller was able to make the most of it by finishing in 18th place in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:06.45. The place was good enough to earn her a spot as an honorable mention All-American.
“It was really exciting to be here,” Waller said. “It’s definitely something I’ve been working for the past four years and especially this past year. It was exciting to be here and to soak up nationals.”
When the gun went off, each runner was in their own respective lane, but about 100 meters into the race, all the runners were allowed to break into the first couple lanes, causing a clump of runners to form. For Waller, she started in lane seven, forcing her to be stuck on the outside of that group nearly the entire race. Because of this, Waller actually ran more than 800 meters.
“The race wasn’t what I really wanted,” Waller said. “It started off with an okay pace, but I was stuck on the outside, and it was windy. I didn’t have the finish that I wanted.”
Despite not having her best race of the season, Waller still wrote her name in the record books, once again becoming the first Ute to be named an All-American in the event. Waller set the school record in the event earlier this year at the Drake Relays with a time of 2:04.71.
Waller’s head coach, Kyle Kepler, had nothing but praise for the senior in her final collegiate race.
“That’s a self-made story,” Kepler said. “A girl who’s persevered from that walk-on status to earn scholarships and alongside that, being one of the best athletes we’ve ever had. She’s a self-made kid.”
Now that her career is all said and done at Utah, Waller is looking forward to a few more weeks of training in hopes of qualifying for the USA track championships. At this moment, she is on the borderline of qualifying for the meet, but even if it does not pan out, her coach believes she will be just fine in the near future.
“I mean, she nearly had a 4.0 in biomedical engineering,” Kepler said. “She’s got some decisions to make, but she’s got options, and that’s what you want.”