Senior Sam Oravec, who has been a prominent force on the school track team for all four years of his high school career, recently committed to Cornell University, located in Ithaca, New York.
“It was definitely a goal that I’ve really wanted to meet for a while,” Oravec said. “I achieved one of my goals of being a D1 athlete, and continuing my dream on for four years, which is [continuing] jumping [events] and getting better.”
Oravec knew that Cornell’s close community was a good fit for him when he visited.
“The team up there was a lot like our high school team: very family-oriented and very close. The coaching staff is a lot like the coaching staff here at the high school: very skilled and dedicated coaches and athletes,” Oravec said. “What it really came down to was the academics. That’s what set it apart from other schools.”
At his parents urging, Oravec began track as part of a club in elementary school, but he never anticipated getting to his current level. Oravec was a member of the 4×8 relay team, which won the 2016 Outdoor State meet and secured the top time in Virginia. Oravec received all state honors in four events in the 2016 Outdoor State meet: 4×4, 4×8, 500, and triple jump.
“I started out with cross country, and I knew I wasn’t going to be a very good endurance runner because I’ve always been more of a speed, power guy,” Oravec said. “Then, I got to winter track and started doing some more of the shorter [events], and found out I excelled more at those than the distance events.”
Oravec has been a member of six championship relay teams: 2015 Indoor 4×4, 2015 Outdoor 4×4, 2015 Outdoor 4×8, 2016 Indoor 4×4, 2016 Indoor 4×8, 2016 Outdoor 4×8. After coaches got him involved in sprinting and jumping, Oravec was driven to excel.
“I started looking at college standards when I was a freshman, just to see what I should meet. That really got me motivated to be a jumper and middle-distance runner here,” Oravec said. “I [wanted] to get to the college level.”
After years of taking advantage of the science curriculum, including biology and anatomy classes, Oravec is considering majoring in biology with a focus in physiology.
“I would like to take more of a research approach, not a pre-med approach,” Oravec said. “I really like the whole idea of science. I’m really interested in the field of physiology and how the human body works, and the applications of that on the world around us. I like to figure things out for myself.”
In addition to track, Oravec has been a member of a local shooting club since sixth grade, where he shoots three-position air rifles. Oravec received the CMP Gold Standard, which is the highest honor earned through competition.
“Other than that, I don’t really have any other hobbies,” Oravec said. “It’s either track, training for track, getting ready for the next day of school, and track.”
Oravec is determined to accomplish his goals for this season.
“I would like to get into the 22.6 range for long jump. I’d also like to get 45 ft for triple jump. Those are my two goals for jumping,” Oravec said. “My 500m, I’d like to bring down to 1:06, which I’m pretty close to. The 4×4 and 4×8 relay teams, I really want to push them, and get everybody to place well in states this year, like we have in years past.”
Coach Mark Scott has known Oravec since his freshman year, and he said that Oravec is a good teammate and leader with big goals and a plan to accomplish them.
“He came in as a freshman, and we could tell he was capable of performing in a lot of different areas. He is very competitive and multi-talented; we can put him in a lot of places,” Scott said. “He has a big vision of where he wants to be. He has little and small goals of where he wants to be in track. I’m super proud of him, and he means the world to me.”
~emma dixon, copy production editor