Everyday Champion -- Hayley Oveson

March 9, 2009

Corvallis -


Everyday Champion – Hayley Oveson


When you first meet sophomore Hayley Oveson of the Oregon State track and cross country team you might think gymnast or ballet dancer, not pack mules, camping and moving irrigation pipes. 


But, that’s what Oveson did for summer jobs and for just pure entertainment – she fondly speaks of guiding vacationers on pack mules through her home Wallowa Mountains. 


“I loved growing up in the Wallowa Mountains,” Oveson, a team captain, said.  “Still to this day, I think it is the prettiest place I have ever been.”


This La Grande High School graduate has sights on more than mountain peaks and river valleys in Eastern Oregon, but also success on the track and in the classroom where she has nearly a 4.00 cumulative GPA in industrial engineering.  It’s a major that includes such winter term courses as Materials in Science, Manufacturing Systems, and Quality and Applied Statistics. 


“I don’t know what I want to do, but I do know I’m interested in working with sustainability,” Oveson said.  “I’m majoring in engineering because I like the idea of making industries more sustainable. I don’t claim to be an environmentalist, but I think in this time it is important.”


Oveson has plans to further her education with a graduate degree and taste different lifestyles.


“I love to travel,” Oveson added.  “I plan on experiencing life on the east coast.”


A far cry from her Wallowa Mountains, mules and irrigation pipes.


Read more about Hayley…


Q. What led you to OSU and a rather new Athletics (track/cross country) program?

A. The reason I came to Oregon State was because my mom and my dad both went to school here. My dad actually was a hurdler here and he was the one that got me in contact with Coach (Kelly) Sullivan, and once I met him, it was a done deal.


Q. Both your parents (Jeff and Nancy) graduated from OSU, what did they tell you about the school?

A. My parents basically had a really good time here and they met here, so they both had good things to say about Oregon State.


Q. What have you told them about OSU 2009 as compared to OSU in the 1970s?

A. What they have noticed is different, is the town. When they come here they say how pretty the downtown is. It is a lot more developed, like the waterfront is gorgeous and has really cute shops. I think the school itself is about the same.


Q. Is there something special about helping rejuvenate the track program that your parents were so involved in?

A. I think it’s huge, just the idea that my dad ran here and now I am.  I could potentially be one of the first people to run on the new track.


Q. You had quite an accomplished high school career, did you have options other than Oregon State and why did you pick OSU?

A. My options outside of Oregon State weren’t as big because I didn’t run track my senior year, and since I committed to Oregon State so early I wasn’t being recruited so heavily.


Q. How did you get interested in distance running?

A. I knew pretty young that I was built as a runner because I have always been little, and in elementary school my dad tried to start me with hurdles and I was awkward, so pretty quickly I told my dad that I wasn’t going to be a hurdler. I just figured I would be better at the distance stuff.


Q. Complete this sentence, you know you are performing at your best when ...

A. I know I have ran well if I’m completely spent by the time I’m finished. You will have a handful of races where everything feels perfect, and you run amazing times, but that happens maybe a handful of times if you’re lucky.


Q. Describe what it is like to compete for head coach Kelly Sullivan?

A. Kelly Sullivan makes you want to run well, not because he threatens you or makes you feel like there is going to be some kind of punishment if you don’t run well, he just has so much belief in you. I believe in myself because of all the trust he has in me.


Q. Talk about Kelly Sullivan’s attire…

A. Kelly’s a really cool guy and for as cute as his wife is, he probably needs to learn how to iron his shirts a little better. That’s my advice to him.


Q. You are very involved in community service activities. Why is that important?

A. I think I should be more involved with community service activities. I feel that especially since how much people have given me that it is important that I give back, and I should probably be spending more time giving back.


Q. How have you benefited from having a scholarship to attend OSU?

A. If I hadn’t received a scholarship to Oregon State, I think I probably wouldn’t have came here and I would had looked for some place where I might have earned a scholarship. I have a little brother and my parents are paying for him to go to school too, so it was important to be able to get help.


Q. How do distance runners practice?

A. The biggest part of our practice is we mix our hard days and our easy days. An easy day is an hour relaxed training run. Harder days are with intervals, or hills, or tempo runs. We vary it quite a bit. I think what people don’t get is how core strength and form is huge. Having that strength makes a big impact.


Q. What are your hobbies when you aren’t running?

A. I love to camp and I love being outside. Kelly hates it, but I love being in the sun. If I could spend my days laying by the river or swimming, that’s what I would be doing.


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