For Oswego High School senior Audra Soderlind, cross country and track is not just about running, but about the positive team atmosphere as well as the individual control that comes with it. Soderlind has accomplished so much during her four years at OHS, making her one of the school’s most accomplished athletes in school history.
Currently, Soderlind holds the three-mile cross-country record at 17 minutes flat, and she is the first to win conference, regionals, sectionals, and qualify for all-state in cross country. Soderlind started running in sixth grade and has been able to work her way up to the top ever since. In order to maintain the position she stands in, Soderlind sticks to a strict yet simple schedule.
“I typically run every day, usually like six to seven times a week, during the summer times I double, and I might double during the winter,” Soderlind says. “So I could be running twice a day…that ranges from interval workouts, so long runs, to just regular maintenance runs.”
In order to be successful in any sport, excessive training is required. Mrs. Alicia Rafferty, OHS math teacher and head girls cross country coach, has a unique experience with Soderlind, as she used to be her training partner before she was her coach.
“I was able to understand how she trained and how she needed to train, which is actually a little bit different from some other people, so just being to individualize her training benefited the team,” Mrs. Rafferty says.
As a team captain and top runner, Soderlind plays a key part in the team’s success. She strives to implement a positive team atmosphere.
“We have always had a good group…we strive to make sure everyone is involved,” Soderlind says. “It’s just about equal parts rather you’re the first person in or the last person in everyone matters.”
Despite her success, like any other athlete Soderlind has had struggles she has had to overcome. For most girls in cross country, sophomore year tends to be the hardest.
“You just came off from being the youngest and now you’re not quite ready to compete with the upperclassmen, so I think that can always be a disappointing season,” Soderlind says. “You kind of just have to push through and trust your training that you’re gonna be better the next year.”
From freshman year to senior year, Soderlind has improved her three-mile time by approximately 30-40 seconds. Letting go of Soderlind will be a great loss in the program; however, Mrs. Rafferty is proud of who she has become, her character, dedication, and the positive energy she leaves on the team.
“She loves what she does, she has completed dedicated her life [to running],” Mrs. Rafferty says. “You have to make sacrifices as an athlete, and she has made those sacrifices to be able to race well. She is trustworthy just as a person and so much fun to be around.”
Soderlind has already committed to The University of Iowa, a Division I school, to continue her running career. However, before heading off to college, she still has her final high school track season ahead of her.
“We are going to be looking for some big things in state, and her points are going to be incredibly valuable in that,” Mrs. Rafferty says.
Rafferty already has goals for Soderlind as she approaches her track season. Soderlind also has some goals of her own.
“I focused a lot on the two-mile last year for track, so I think this year I’ll focus more on the mile, and I’ll see where I go with that,” Soderlind says.
Soderlind has been given a lot of advice and training from her coaches over the years. However, there is one piece of advice that has always stuck with her.
“TRUST YOUR TRAINING, BECAUSE IF YOU DON’T HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF, IT’S JUST NOT GONNA HAPPEN DURING A RACE.“Audra Soderlind
Hi! My name is Liliana Murillo, and I am a senior at OHS.This is my first year being a part of 42Fifty staff. In my free time, I like to hang out with my friends, watch reality T.V, and go shopping. If I am not at school, you will see me working at Riverside Pizza and Pub in Oswego. I am beyond excited to be a Sports Editor for 42Fifty this year!