From the UK to the US – Rory Leonard’s Journey Across the Pond


STILLWATER — In the United Kingdom, the emphasis is all on soccer. For Rory Leonard, when soccer did not work out for him, he did not know what he would do. He determined to give operating an opportunity and ended up falling in love with the sport.
 
When Leonard acquired minimize from the soccer academy in the UK, he turned to his mother and father for recommendation. His mother and father have been runners, so that they prompt it to him realizing that he beloved to be lively and that he wished to keep match, and the relaxation is historical past.
 
“First, I didn’t enjoy it straight away. It was exactly what I thought it was going to be, just hard, difficult, and repetitive,” Leonard stated. “But then I had my first race, I came fourth in my first race in the northeast of England, and it was just that racing feeling, I loved it.”
 
Following that race, he started to take operating extra significantly and put in the work to enhance his operating occasions. His dad grew to become his coach, which helped lead to a breakout second in Leonard’s profession.
 
“I think the first time that there were signs that this big change had happened was when I finished second at the British Cross Country Series in Liverpool, which was a really big run,” Leonard stated. “Coming second when I really wasn’t expecting that, that’s when I realized like okay we got to get rolling now and keep the focus on because I realized this is fun and this was good.”
 
His second-place end at that race opened the eyes of many schools in the United States, together with Oklahoma State. In the finish, it was Coach Dave Smith‘s persistence that spoke to Rory and introduced him to Stillwater over different colleges.
 
“He (Smith) clearly wanted me to be at Oklahoma State, and he clearly cared and thought I had a future here,” Leonard stated. “More than anything, I was just going to be comfortable, that I was going to be at home and that he was always going to be honest with me about anything. That meant the most to me in the whole process.”
 
Now, in his freshman yr at OSU, Leonard has been loving Stillwater to date.
 
“Probably the biggest thing has been the team, I’ve been welcomed really quickly and get along with everyone and all the guys are lovely,” Leonard stated. “And yeah, spending a little more time with Dave, and getting to know Dave. I had a lot of personal stuff going on in the last year, year and a half which Dave has always understood, and he’s been really supportive with that and training and sessions as well.”
 
In Leonard’s collegiate debut at the Cowboy Jamboree on Sept. 18, he completed 14th as an unattached runner with a time of 24:04.6.
 
He does not need to cease there, nonetheless, as he has lofty targets not just for himself but additionally for Oklahoma State Cross Country as a complete.
 
“If we’re talking just goals, it would be very great to firstly win a national title, individually at some point,” Leonard stated. “I don’t want to limit myself to one national title. If I want to get aspirational, winning a triple would be cool, it’s a big ask but it’s one of those sports where winning is everything, so why not aim to win everything.”



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