Success stories often manifest from some of the most unlikely places. Whether it's switching sports, getting the chance to try out and becoming a walk-on star or some other scenario, the beginnings at the collegiate level for Roshon Roomes don’t quite fit that description.
Roomes, member of Iowa State's Running Club, came to Ames after competing at Woodbury High School in Woodbury, Minnesota. During his senior season, he ran at the state meet, competing in the open 400-meter dash and the 4x400-meter relay. Roomes won his event and helped his team to victory in the relay.
Despite his successes in high school, he was unable to make the varsity track team at Iowa State. He didn't let that stop him, though. He continued to run, staying in shape in case the opportunity presented itself to join the team.
AJ Ortega, vice president of the Iowa State Running Club recruited Roomes last winter.
“I saw him running in State Gym and I could tell by his form that he was a natural,” Ortega said. “From people I talked to, I found out he’s respectable and friendly, fitting right in with the club’s culture.”
Roomes joined and instantly fit right in.
Though he was only a member for one year, he made the most of it by training and competing.
“He was definitely gaining his form back, not having run much in the fall,” Ortega said.
Roomes began to cut his times throughout the season, eventually getting a chance to compete at nationals.
Similar to high school, Roomes competed in the open 400 as well as on a relay team, this time the 4x800-meter relay. Despite running double the distance, Roomes ended with a fast 800-meter leg, helping his team to a top five finish and breaking Iowa State's previous club record.
Roomes also ran a blazing 400-meter dash, winning the event and breaking the club’s previous record.
“We didn’t truly witness his caliber until nationals,” club president William Graham said.
Though most of the members of the club competed in track at some point in high school, Roomes stood out among the rest. He didn’t call attention to himself, though, letting his running speak for itself.
“Running alongside him and working out with him really pushed me,” Graham said. “He still motivates us today, despite not being around in the club.”
Shortly after the club’s season ended, Roomes announced he would be trying out for the varsity team.
“Initially he didn’t think that he’d get the chance to compete at the varsity level again,” Graham said. “It was pretty exciting for everyone in our club to see him seize that opportunity.”
Since joining the team, Roomes has been gaining even more exposure by being part of a dominant 4x400-meter relay team.
His greatest feat, aside from being the champion at nationals for the running club, has been breaking Iowa State’s previous relay record.
“I could see him scoring some points for Iowa State at national meets,” Ortega said. “He’s got the potential to reach that championship tier.”
Roomes has transitioned from being an average student working toward his college degree to a well-known athlete on the Iowa State men’s track team.
“Roshon still manages to keep in touch with some of the club members,” Ortega said. “It’s great to see the transition from club to varsity level hasn’t changed who he is.”