Recent graduate Connor Bauserman leaves behind a legacy of records, achievements and titles in both cross country and track and field. Connor credits hard work, determination and perseverance, skills that will benefit him in his professional career and throughout his entire life. Having been a student-athlete, Connor has a deeper understanding of what it takes to succeed.
Nearing the end of his time in high school, Connor felt unsure about his future. Knowing that furthering his education was the next best step, he considered community college before realizing that the opportunities to compete in athletics or participate in other extracurricular activities were not as attainable as those at four-year schools. Larry Quick, an OC alumnus and track and field coach at Connor’s high school, Harper Creek in Battle Creek, suggested Connor look into Olivet’s programs. From there, he couldn’t get the idea of being a Comet off his mind.
“Once I was introduced to Olivet, I just felt like all the right doors opened for me,” Connor explained. “I knew I had the opportunity to continue running while also earning a valuable degree, and that was almost enough to convince me to commit. Once I met the coaching staff and began to understand the support system I would have behind me, I knew Olivet was a perfect fit.”
Connor chose to double major in insurance and risk management and financial planning. He dove into the student group for each program, the Financial Planning Club and Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS), Olivet’s professional insurance fraternity. Each provided him opportunities to attend job fairs and access to internships, as well as the chance to travel and network with professionals from across the globe. He also excelled as a resident adviser to various student housing facilities for three years. “There are so many relationships to build on campus,” Connor said. “I really liked being involved in a variety of groups to help me meet so many other people.”
No matter where Connor found himself, however, it was competitive running that remained his true passion. By the end of his college career, Connor earned Indoor All-American honors with his 7th place finish at NCAA Nationals and was a two-time Indoor MIAA Champion in the 800m. He was named to the Indoor All Great Lakes Region team in the 800m his junior and senior years. In addition, Connor broke the OC school indoor record for the one mile run, with a time of 4:25.11. He ran away with top honors during the outdoor season, too, bringing home the MIAA Championship in the 1500m and breaking the school record in the 800m with a time of 1:52.00. He was named to the Outdoor All Great Lakes Region team for the 800m and 1500m. In addition, Connor was named CoSIDA Academic All-America and USTFCCCA Academic All-American.
“Connor had a remarkable cross country and track and field career at The University of Olivet,” Head Track and Field and Cross Country Coach Karen Lutzke said. “He is one of the hardest workers that I have coached and understands that finding a balance in working hard and recovery is important to success. He made remarkable improvements in his four years of cross country because he believed in himself and was able to have the same confidence on the track to become All-American his senior year. Connor is also the type of person who wants the program to be successful and gives back by helping others achieve their goals.”
Even with all that, Connor isn’t one to brag, but rather, reflects on those he built relationships with through the track and field and cross country teams. “Coach Lutzke really became my mom on campus,” Connor said. “She always supported me both when I was facing challenges and as I was striving to reach my goals. My experience without her and Assistant Coach Andrew Benkovksy would not have been the same. My favorite part of placing well in a race was looking over at them to see them smiling ear to ear.”
Now, Connor is putting his degree to use at Gasaway Investment Advisors in Portage and is looking forward to earning his financial securities licenses to broaden his abilities – but that doesn’t mean he’ll be putting away his running shoes anytime soon. “While I’m running, it’s always easy to let everything else go and that’s what I love about it,” Connor explained. “It’s the outlet I use to escape while truly being myself.” With cross country season approaching this fall, Connor is glad to be near campus and can’t wait to visit his former coaches and teammates, and especially to play a role in the teams’ support systems.
To learn more about the track and field and cross country teams at The University of Olivet, contact Head Coach Karen Lutzke at 269.749.6686 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the opportunities available to students at The University of Olivet by visiting campus or applying.