Having teammates to count on is important to all athletes, especially freshmen in college.
Moving from home to college can be a difficult and sometimes overwhelming transition for anyone, and Avery Buck learned that firsthand after arriving at Rogers State University for her freshman year in 2017.
That is why the RSU cross-country and track senior’s main objective has been to make that process easier for her younger teammates who are experiencing similar situations.
Buck, an Oklahoma City native from Deer Creek High School in Edmond, recently revealed how she is using her psychology and sociology studies to complement her leadership role with the team during a segment of “Hillcat Student-Athlete Vantage Point” on the RSU Athletics Twitter account.
For Buck, anticipating her teammate’s needs is an important step to providing a welcoming and stress-free environment.
“College scared me, so going into my freshman year was just a terrifying experience for me,” Buck said. “So I kind of wanted to be that support system, that mom that they could go to when they couldn’t go see their mom. I tried to fill in the places that I knew I needed when I was a freshman, and I tried to be that for my girls as well.”
She will have plenty of opportunities to do just that this fall, for the Hillcats are welcoming 10 new members to the women’s cross-country and track teams.
Among those is former Sequoyah standout Tori Wood, who took nearly a year off from running while attending the University of Tulsa in 2019-20.
Utilizing the problem-solving skills she learned from studying social behaviors, Buck helps her teammates achieve success by finding effective and beneficial solutions to homesickness and other issues they might encounter.
“It’s more of me just taking care of people and trying to make sure that everyone is OK because it’s mentally tough, and it’s mentally challenging to be a student-athlete,” Buck said. “So I try to make sure that everyone’s there and everyone’s mental health is good, along with their physical health.”
Before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the outdoor track season in the spring, Buck set a personal and season best in the 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 42.34 seconds at the MIAA Indoor Track & Field Championships on Feb. 29 in Pittsburgh, Kan. She also ran a season best in the mile, finishing in 6:01.95 at the Missouri Southern State University Lion Invite on Feb. 8 in Joplin, Mo.
During cross-country season, Buck ran a personal best in the 6K (3.7 miles) at the NCAA Division II Central Region Championship on Nov. 9 in Joplin with a 25:12.8.
She managed a season best in the 5K (3.1 miles) as well, clocking in at 21:25.5 at the Southern Stampede on Sept. 21 in Joplin.