Roelle wins NAIA national championship for Eastern Oregon
The junior All-American used a blistering kick over the final 200 meters to pull away and win the men’s 1,000-meter at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Geneva, Ohio.
“I’m definitely very happy,” Roelle told me. “Coming in that was definitely the goal, winning it. And after prelims I thought I had a pretty good shot. We ended up going out pretty slow in the final, but I was completely fine with it because I have pretty good finishing speed.”
Roelle, of West High fame, ran a school record 2:25.51 in the prelims and a 2:28.38 in the final. He came into the event ranked No. 1.
“Basically the entire race I was waiting, being patient,” he said. “The last 300 I just went.”
Eastern Oregon coach Ben Welch of Wasilla said Roelle finished like a champ. “He ran the final 200 in 25.8 seconds to blow open a slow tactical race,” he added.
The national title means the world to Roelle.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time, running competitive since middle school,” he said. “It’s something my mom did, my aunt did. My entire family runs. I’ve pretty much been running my whole life, so it’s nice to see when all your hard work finally pays off.”
Ketchikan’s Isaac Updike gave Eastern Oregon another All-American from Alaska after he placed third in the men’s 3-K with a school record 8:23.70.
“He was in the hunt for the win, actually leading for about a quarter of a mile in the last 800 meters,” Welch said. “He came in ranked seventh.”
Last year, Updike won a NAIA national championship in the 3000-meter steeplechase during the outdoor season.