Hillsdale College - Emily Oren: A Career for the Ages

Hillsdale College - Emily Oren: A Career for the Ages

Provided by GVSU

The gun sounds, the adrenaline pumps, and the echo of pounding feet resonates throughout the track. Emily Oren feels confident, comfortable and in control. Just a mere 4 minutes and 35 seconds later, Oren has won the 2016 national title for the mile. Not only did she win the title, but has also set a new all-time Division II record by shaving three seconds off the previous mark. This championship is especially meaningful for Oren. Only three years ago she nearly got lapped in the prelims in this same event and ran the slowest time she had all season. This win was proof of what many have known for years. Oren is a competitor with a desire to succeed whose unyielding commitment to excellence is unmatched.

As she prepares for her final collegiate meet – this week's NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships – Oren can cap one of the greatest athletic careers Hillsdale College has ever seen.

She already owns five individual national championships and has won two as part of the indoor distance medley relay team in 2015 and 2016. Her best times in her various events read like a dreamy wish list for any aspiring track runner. A graphic to the right shows her best times in each event she's competed in.

Perhaps her most incredible time came just a few weeks ago, at the 2016 GLIAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Taking advantage of good weather conditions and a fast track at Ferris StateUniversity, Oren easily won the conference championship in the 3000 meter steeplechase with an Olympic-standard time of 9:50.54. That time was more than 30 seconds better than anyone else in the field, and eclipsed her own school record – set at 2015 outdoor nationals – by four seconds.

Most recently, Oren was named the USTFCCCA Regional Women's Track Athlete of the Year, the fourth consecutive time she's won that award, counting indoor and outdoor seasons.

Before enrolling at Hillsdale, Oren boasted an impressive career at Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Michigan. She was a four- time All State athlete in cross country and also made All State two times in track. Although her resume was impressive, Oren said she did not want to run in college and thus didn't pursue that many recruiting opportunities.

Hillsdale College track coach Andrew Towne saw the potential for impressive growth in Oren.

"We felt that Emily would be very good," he said. "She was athletic, and hadn't been intensely focused on running during her high school career. So, we felt she would most likely improve a great deal."

The development that her coaches expected came to fruition as Oren became a national contender by her sophomore season. Oren says "the leap happened on the track during my indoor season. I was running personal best times nearly every race and the national meet was a big jump forward with two national titles".

Now in her senior year Oren has been able to consistently improve every year and leaves very few stones unturned as it pertains to training. She provides a volume when it comes to workouts which inspires those around her to compete at a higher level as well.

Towne claims that it is Oren's confidence and ability to think she can always do more that has made her such a unique athlete. Specifically in the steeplechase, her athleticism and basketball background give her a big leg up on her competitors.

Her approach doesn't change much between indoor and outdoor track, and it clearly doesn't need to. "The only difference maybe with indoor is that you have to be a little more strategic about when you make moves within a race."

Teammate Hannah McIntyre cites Oren as a huge source of inspiration for the team and herself.

"She has a sort of analytic mind when it comes to racing--she watches videos to learn strategies for racing which she incorporates into her own races," McIntyre said. "She has a lot of confidence in her ability which comes from success but mostly from the fact that she puts in the time and effort to get where she's at".

Oren credits much of her success to her teammates. She says, "I could not have accomplished the feats I have without my teammates. They are always pushing me in practices and helping me become a better person on and off the track". The admiration and comradery of the team is obvious in their impressive accomplishments and personal relationships.

"I am not running to make the people watching happy, I am running because I love it and love to compete and use the gift that God has given me to glorify Him".

After this upcoming outdoor season, Emily plans to qualify for the Olympic trails and compete there. Her current plan is to stay training and see how fast she can become and how far she can go. If her history is any indicator, the sky is the limit for Emily Oren.