The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Okwaramoi balances best of both worlds on and off the track

(Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Juru Okwaramoi is more than just a hurdler on the women’s Track & Field team.

In fact, she is part of the honors pre-med track program while also being a teaching assistant for biology classes as well.

“Everyone always says I have a very determined work ethic, but it’s never really been anything special to me. It’s more of just setting a routine, sticking to it and making sure I don’t overwhelm myself,” Okwaramoi said.

“I am a go-getter and I like things to be done exceptionally, but at the same time, I do allow myself some leeway.”

Track & Field head coach Bert Rogers said though Okwaramoi lives a not-so-easy college life, she prevails nonetheless as someone deeply involved in both academics and athletics.

“She always has a lot of irons in the fire. Sometimes, life gets especially crazy for her, but we always work through it,” Rogers said. “For her, it’s not mutually exclusive. Whatever she’s doing, she’s going to work hard at it and do the best she can. It’s just her personality.”

Okwaramoi’s daily schedule consists of being a teacher’s assistant for General Biology 2 and having about four to five classes a day.

“I wake up at 6 a.m. every single day to either life or practice,” Okwaramoi said. “After working out, I’ll go to the class I TA for and then after that it’s just a lot of classes, meetings and office hours that are back to back on each other until about two o’clock. On top of that, I’ll have to be in the gym for about 2 to 3 hours every single day which can get to be a lot.”

Okwaramoi says that she uses breaks and giving herself leeway to get through her schedule. She said that without that, she wouldn’t be able to do what she does.

Additionally, Okwaramoi said she still has to travel every weekend which is always at different times. She said that the consistency in her academic schedule makes it easier.

“I have to balance practice and traveling every weekend and sometimes that schedule changes as well, so that means I always have to work my academic schedule around that,” Okwaramoi said. “Because of that, I’d say my academic schedule is a bit easier to balance rather than my athletic schedule.”

Sophomore hurdler Julia Beck said that even though Okwaramoi structures her day, some things have to be compromised.

“I think she does a great job with her schedule by prioritizing,” Beck said. “She manages her schedule very well, but I don’t think she sleeps that much. I’m not going to lie. Last year, she had a great relationship with Red Bull.”

Rogers said that even with unpredictable schedules, hard work and time management in academics and athletics are two essential skills to have.

“It always comes back to that idea of working hard and seeing those results come out of it,” Rogers said. “It works both ways. If you’re working hard on the track and training hard, you start to see those results. That will encourage you to better in academics with studying and getting good grades and better things will follow.” 

Even if an athlete struggles to follow this mentality, Okwaramoi said the most important thing you can do is try to live and learn from your mistakes.

“I run into troubles all the time, but the thing you have to focus on is forgiving yourself. It’s such a huge thing,” Okwaramoi said. “You have to remember you’re not a perfect human being. So being able to say ‘Okay, let’s get up and get back on track tomorrow’ is really all you can do.” 

In addition to the obligations that come with being a college athlete Okwaramoi also had to have knee surgery last year.

Rogers said that with her persistence, he often had to remind her to take it easy. 

“The injury has been a big struggle. She just wants to work so hard, so there were a lot of days where I just had to shut her down,” Rogers said. “She lost a lot of time from the sport and she’s even still dealing with it a little bit. Though, some of her times are starting to come back around.” 

Beck said she knows how devastating a surgery like that can be, specifically the difficulties in the recovery process.

“When you have a physical surgery like that, the mental toll that it takes is huge,” Beck said. “Being out of your sport for almost a year and then having to come back is very challenging in regard to the mental aspect. Though, she’s been able to grow a lot during that time too.” 

Through this adversity, Okwaramoi said she is most inspired by her mother, who she has learned a lot from.

“She’s my best friend,” Okwaramoi said. “She works so hard and I see so many of her qualities in me. I just want to be more like her. She really helps calm me while always reassuring me I’m doing fine and that everything will work itself out.”

Rogers said that Okwaramoi’s success correlates to her being a well-rounded person.

“She’s a perfect mix of outgoing, hardworking and talented. All that stuff comes together nicely,” Rogers said. “Personality-wise she has a great ability to be outgoing and connect with people, which is why I think she’s able to balance all these things in her life.” 

This story was written by Ben Hanson. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @benhansonMU.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Benjamin Hanson
Benjamin Hanson, Sports Reporter
Ben Hanson is a sophomore from Minneapolis, Minnesota studying journalism, digital media and advertising. He is a sports reporter and the assistant social media producer for the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. When he's not in the newsroom, he likes creative writing, being with friends and going to sporting events. He is excited to be able to spread the word of the Marquette Wire because it has done so much for him while also refining his sports writing.

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *