Carlisle's JJ Orput signed a letter of intent to become a student-athlete at Augustana University. Read below for an interview with JJ about his decision to become a Viking.
What do you enjoy most about running?
"I enjoy being able to work hard to achieve goals that I set and I like the competition. I like the fact that any success I have is based off of my own effort and how dedicated I am. The sport really holds you accountable and it is so rewarding when you run well because you know that you have done everything you could in preparation."
What got you interested in running cross country and track competitively?
"I didn't start running until 8th grade and I found that it was something that I really loved to do. When I started doing well, I liked it even more. From then on, I have been training consistently with my coaches to keep improving and striving for better times."
What athletes do you most look up to?
"I look up to Chandler Austin and Albert Meyer because they came from a smaller 3A school just like me. When I first started running cross country, I remember watching them and seeing how effortlessly they ran incredible times. I hoped that one day I could put enough time and effort into the sport to be able to run at that level. Ironically, after they graduated their coach came to my high school and I have been lucky enough to train with him ever since."
How did you make the decision to sign with Augustana?
"Were there other schools you were interested in? What led to that final decision?
When I started looking at colleges, I knew that I wanted to go to a smaller school outside of Iowa. There are lots of great Iowa schools, but I was looking for a different environment where I could obtain a great education, with small class sizes and a Cross Country and Track program where I could improve. When I first visited Augustana in Sioux Falls, I felt an immediate connection with the team and coaches. They have a great program, that made me feel at home. It felt like that was where I needed to be."
What are you most looking forward to about college athletics?
"I am looking forward to being a part of a team that has the same goal in mind, to win a national title. I am also looking forward to traveling all over the country and running against some great competition."
What are you hoping to accomplish in your final high school track season?
"I am hoping to have a really good off-season so, during the state meet, I am prepared to win a State title. I plan on going into the state meet knowing that I have done everything in my power to succeed."
What are your goals for your collegiate running career?
"My goals are to improve as an overall runner and help the team win a national title."
What do you plan to study in college and why?
"I plan to double major in Exercise Science and Business and minor in Fitness Management. After Augustana, I would like to go to Chiropractic school and eventually start my own business. I have been going to a Chiropractor since I was a month old and it has been essential to help me keep healthy as a runner. I look forward to helping others the same way."
How have your family and friends reacted to your decision to compete in college?
"All of my friends and family have been extremely happy and supportive of my decision. They have watched me work towards my goal of running at a collegiate level for a long time. The town of Carlisle, IA, my High School and coaches have always been behind me, when it comes to my running, and they are excited to see me continue doing what I love. My parents are proud that I have made my dream a reality. It would not have been possible without their constant encouragement."
What advice do you have for others who may be interested in running collegiately?
"I suggest to others to start their search early and visit as many schools as possible. I think it is very important to trust yourself and know that when you find the right school you will know it. If you trust in your decision, you will be happy there and get the most of out your experience."
"I am excited that I was able to make my decision during the early signing period and can now focus on my senior year and Track season. I am looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life at Augustana University. Go Vikings!"
Check out JJ's high school stats on his athlete profile here.