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On your mark. Get set. Walk.

Photo by Hannah Turner

Speed, strength and stamina are essential skills of track and field athletes. The ORU track team is no exception. With strong performances from both male and female members last year, ORU has proven to be a contender in both the Summit League Conference and at the national level.

The team posted record-breaking numbers last season. ORU hosted its first-ever track meet in March where two school records were broken. The men claimed the first-place title for the meet while the women came in third behind South Dakota and Oklahoma State.

The squad continued to break records throughout the season, leading to 15 members of the team being named to the All-Summit League team and producing 12 qualifiers for the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds. At the NCAA meet, two qualifying members were named second team All-America to finish the season.

With indoor season approaching, the team is expecting even better performances this year. Their goals include placing higher in the conference and sending a large contingency to the NCAA first-rounds.

While the team members are pushing their bodies to the limit and maximizing their speed during the offseason, they are also preparing in an atypical way—by walking.

Since Aug. 26, the track team has been participating in a student-athlete led night of prayer each Sunday starting at 6:30 p.m. From the team as a whole, from the athletic department and to the entire student body, all pray for unity and collective wellness. A typical evening consists of 30 minutes of prayer in small groups or as individuals, followed by one lap where everyone joins together and walks.

The idea began with Josh Tabla, a sophomore on the team, whose vision was to promote team chemistry as well as shared spiritual development.

Other athletes, including both men’s and women’s soccer players, have joined the team for the walk.

It seems contradictory that athletes who have the ability to move at such incredible rates of speed would choose to walk as a part of their training. But with records to be broken and championships to be earned, the team is preparing in every way, even by walking.