After suffering an Achilles injury last season, sophomore Payton Duesing proved her strength this season by winning the 800 at the Eagles’ opening meet, the Weilert Open, on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Duesing, a distance runner from Lantana, TX, placed first in the race among a field of 26 women. She covered the 800 meters in 2:26.02, a second faster than the second-place finisher.
Fellow teammate sophomore Caroline Schwab placed eighth in the same race.
The Eagles also posted top places finishes in four other events. Senior Ivy Lobley placed third in the 60-meter hurdles. Senior Destiny Grace secured a third-place finish in the weight throw with a top mark of 44 feet. Grace was also fifth in the shot put, followed by freshman Taelor Brown placing ninth. In the distance races, sophomore Kenya Bailey won third in the 3000-meter race with a time of 11:00.89. Senior Addy Clift ran in her first collegiate track meet, finishing in seventh in the 3000.
This first place finished marked Duesing’s first collegiate win. Duesing and the Eagles will compete again at the Wendy’s/Pittsburg State Invitational in Pittsburg, KS, on Saturday, Feb. 1.
Following the meet, Duesing shared her passion for running and her thoughts on the race and the season.
Q: How did it feel to win the 800?
A: “Winning the 800 was the best feeling. It was my first college win, and it was better than I could’ve imagined. My parents were able to come out, and that made it even more special.”
Q: What is your goal for this season?
A: “First off, this season my goal is to stay healthy and be able to race the whole season. Time wise, my goal is to run a sub 2:20 800. My PR is 2:21, so I can’t wait to get under the 2:20 barrier.”
Q: How did you prepare for this season?
A: “I run cross country as well, and I feel that has laid a great base for track training. I am able to come into track season with a lot of mileage under my belt, and I can use that to better prepare for track. More preparations include lots of speedwork over Christmas break, forming good hydration and eating habits, and making sure I’m giving my body enough time to recover—sleep. I also prepared by writing out goals and visualizing them so I can knock them down one by one.”
Q: Why did you want to run at Oklahoma Christian?
A: “I wanted to run at Oklahoma Christian because right off the bat, I knew Coach Miller was going to be the best coach I’ve ever had. It doesn’t get better than the team we have here. My teammates are my best friends.”
Q: Why do you enjoy running?
A: “I really enjoy the fact in running, you get out exactly what you put in. If you put in the work, results will follow, and if you don’t, they won’t. Running brings me such a feeling of accomplishment because I am able to push my body to limits I didn’t think were possible, and there is no better feeling than finishing a tough workout or crossing the finish line in a race.”
Q: What are you studying at Oklahoma Christian?
A: “I am studying business management. I really enjoy planning and organization, but also I love encouraging people, so I am hoping to be in some sort of leadership position in my career.”