Over winter break, track and field redshirt senior Logan Orndorf set a new record as the first Pilot in UP history to run a mile in under four minutes, finishing with a time of 3:59.94 at the UW Indoor Preview on Jan. 12. The previous indoor mile record was held by UP alum Ryan Poland (4:01.28).
“It’s very special to me just because there’s been so many guys that I’ve looked up to that have gotten really close,” Orndorf said. “And to finally kind of pick up where they left off is just really cool to finally, hopefully lead the way for a lot more guys to keep breaking sub-four.”
Running a sub-four minute mile was always in the back of Orndorf’s mind, especially once he started to compete at the college level. He’s looked to other guys on the team, like track and field alumni Jeff Thies, and to professional runners that have done it. So, as he came into this race, he thought that maybe this would be the chance he got to join an elite club of runners.
But Orndorf thought he had missed the time once again, glancing at the clock as he crossed the line and seeing the time change to 4:00. Or so he thought. As he heard his teammates cheering, he looked back to double check on his time and saw that he had done it. He broke a university record by about a second.
“So initially I was like ‘aw crap, I didn’t get it,’” Orndorf said. “And then I just kind of sat on the track for a second thinking ‘maybe next time.’ Then I got up, looked at the screen where all the actual results were (and thought) ‘what if I did hit it?’ And I looked up and saw the time and was like ‘holy crap.’”
Orndorf whirled around to look at his friends and teammates, and ran to hug them. Then he turned to embrace his head coach, Rob Conner.
“I think it’s cool because it’s successes like that...makes me really stoked to be part of this program,” Orndorf said.
Conner recruited Orndorf after contacting his high school coach in Duvall, Washington, and asking if there were any runners that were interested in UP. After his coach recommended him, Orndorf committed to the Pilots and, while he wasn’t sure of his decision at first, quickly found a family in his team.
During his five years here, Orndorf has found inspiration in his fellow teammates and friends, including fellow redshirt senior, Nick Hauger, whose determination and improvement made him want to become a stronger competitor, too.
“Watching Logan break four was incredible,” Hauger said said. “I was with a group of teammates in Portland watching on the TV, and once he finished we were waiting for his official time, and once we saw it was sub-four we all went crazy. We were so excited for him...As a friend I couldn’t be happier or more proud of the work he has put in to help elevate this program.”
Orndorf hopes to continue his early success by gaining a spot in this year’s Indoor Nationals, and maybe finish top five in the country. But for now, he’s focused on consistency and enjoying his remaining time at UP.
“Something that I’ll always have will be the friendships that I've made and other relationships that I’ve made here,” Orndorf said. “And I think running has helped me learn a lot of how to go into situations with an open mind and a positive mindset.”
Ana Clyde is a sports reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.