Winning Warrior: Michael Oldach
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There are plenty of athletes in the world with talent. There are not as many athletes with the iron will and resolution to make that talent work for them. And then, you have the rare group of athletes who are both talented and not afraid to suffer to improve those talents. Michael Oldach is one of those rare athletes. The junior Kinesiology major out of Colorado Springs, CO, is not only a gifted runner, but a tough-as-nails competitor who races until the bitter end. Dangerous from every event he contests (from the 800m on the track to the 8000m cross country races), Oldach is one of the most versatile athletes to ever don the Westmont singlet. In addition to his accolades as a Warrior (7th all-time in the 1000m, 3rd all-time in the 1500m, 9th all-time in the mile and 4th all-time in the 5000m), Oldach has competed in The Cross Country and the Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Championships during his time as a Warrior. This season, Oldach has won all three races that Westmont has competed in. The Horizon talked to Oldach about his achievements and hopes for the season.
J:Personally, you’ve had a strong start to the season. What’s your motivation?
M:Yeah, it’s been a good start. I had a good summer of training and feel really fit right now. I’m blown away by some of the workouts I’ve done this year - I have yet to truly show my form. Still wins are wins. Really the motivations behind this season is about avoiding what happened last year - losing to Master’s at conference and lacking a presence at Nationals. I have yet to show well at Cross Country Nationals so that was a big motivation behind the long summer miles this year and of course I want to defend my GSAC title in conference. Speaking bigger, getting better and growing motivates me everyday.
J:What are your personal goals for yourself this season and how do you see those playing into the team goals?
M:Coach (Russell Smelley) and I talk about this a lot. I am capable of winning every race I run in this year, which is exciting, but doesn’t necessarily mean team success. I can be a low stick for the team, but we need 5 guys to cross the line before the other teams top 5. Cross-country is a team sport. All the guys are working their butts off and I’m happy to be a part of that and work hard alongside them. The goals/my motivations for the year are defending my conference title and being competitive at nationals and they align well with our teams goals of winning conference and being a tough team at nationals.
J:What’s been your most valuable takeaway from the sport at this point in your career?
M:My biggest takeaway comes from my breakthrough at last years track nationals. I was able to remain calm and composed through crazy weather and not panic in my races. Hard work is important, but only if it is relaxed hard work. Look at Eliud Kipchoge, dude who broke the marathon world record…he’s never straining, always relaxed despite the intensity of his sport. As Coach Smelley would say, “Relax and go.”
J:Tell me a little bit about your career.
M:Westmont has been the perfect place for me to develop. I didn’t ever visit and walked on to the team without scholarship, but something just clicked. I love the atmosphere of the team and the seniors Blake and David made it a joy for me my freshman year. Winning my first race freshman year was a highlight as was my GSAC win last year. Coach Smelley deserves a lot of credit though - if he’s not here, none of this would have happened. He has invested so much into me and I have grown so much as a runner, student, Christian, and as a person. I meet with him weekly and he never doesn’t have time for me. Blake Fonda has been a consistent training partner and encouragement for me - I owe a lot to him. Long term goals: National Championship titles, capture the school records from 1000m to 5000m, leave a legacy of excellence, and continue running post-collegiately.