Shorter's Oscar Ogwaro qualifies for US Olympic Trials Marathon
By Jay Stephenson and Matt Green
SAN JOSE -- One year ago, Shorter University senior Oscar Ogwaro set a goal for himself. That goal: to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in Houston, Texas in 2012.
One year later, Ogwaro is making travel plans for the Lone Star State.
Ogwaro solidified himself as the 117th Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier by running 1:04:52 at the San Jose Half Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 2.
His time, which came at a 4:57 per mile clip, eclipsed USA Track & Field's A-Standard of 1:05:00 and granted Ogwaro his dream of competing in the US Olympic Trials on Jan. 14.
"It has become very clear to me that aggressive goal setting is one of the biggest keys to success," said Shorter head cross country coach Jay Stephenson.
Ogwaro's journey to the Olympic Trials did not come without its share of ups and downs. The Los Angeles, Calif., native came to Shorter in 2010 from NCAA Division II distance power Queens University and quickly established himself as one of the top distance athletes in the country.
The 25-year-old helped Shorter's track and field program to the school's first-ever team national championship in March 2011 by winning the 5,000-meter run at the 2011 NAIA Men's Indoor Track and Field National Championships. Ogwaro then added valuable points to Shorter's outdoor team title several months later by finishing third in the outdoor 10,000-meter run.
Still, despite all of his success in a Hawk uniform, Ogwaro just couldn't seem make any progress towards his dream of the Olympic Trials.
Ogwaro ran 1:09:00 and finished a disappointing 23rd place at the 2011 USA Half Marathon Championships on Jan. 29, 2011, a far cry from the A-Standard needed to secure a berth at the Trials.
But Ogwaro stayed the course, working harder than ever to not only supplement the Hawks' cause, but also build a foundation for his own. The work paid off nine months later in San Jose as Ogwaro placed 8th overall at a blazing pace.
"In distance running, you often see great results and then wonder, 'Wow, how did that happen?'" said Stephenson. "Well, for every great result, there are several poor results that athletes learn from and have to overcome."
The 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials will be held in Houston one day prior to the 40th anniversary of the Houston Marathon. The races will determine the three men and three women who will represent the United States in the marathon at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.