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Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Player Profile: Sophia Lee-Hauser racewalks to success

Photo by Courtesy of Point Park Athletics
Sophia Lee-Hauser breaks records on unpopular track and field event: racewalking.

Junior Sophia Lee-Hauser was announced the River States Conference (RSC) Women’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Week last week thanks to her recent success in a little-known event – the racewalk.


Racewalk is a competitive track event where the participants race at a fast walk while continuously keeping one foot on the ground and maintaining a straight supporting leg.


At the Indiana Tech Invite in December, Lee-Hauser placed fourth in the 3,000-meter racewalk with a school record 16:01 finish. The time qualified her for NAIA nationals under the NAIA ‘A’ standard and earned her a number-one ranking in the RSC.


Despite her impressive performance, Lee-Hauser is new to competing in the racewalk. 


“It was a joke in middle school that I would be really good at speed walking by my middle school coaches at track,” Lee-Hauser said. “So when I came to college, I told my coach that I would be really good.”


Lee-Hauser has been a member of the Point Park Cross Country and Track & Field teams for three years now. She primarily runs the 5,000-meter and other long-distance events.


“[My coaches] were like, ‘no, let’s just have you focus on the 5k and 10k.’ But as sophomore year [came], I was really pushing for it,” Lee-Hauser said.


Before competing in the racewalk, Lee-Hauser achieved high honors in various long distance events. She was the 2022 RSC Indoor Champion in the 4x800m race and placed third in the distance-medley race at the 2023 RSC Outdoor Championship.


“I had never done [racewalk] before,” Lee-Hauser said. “I don’t have any training on it, but [I thought that] I would be really good at it. So, after a lot of begging and stuff like that, it finally happened.”


Lee-Hauser first competed in the racewalk at the 2023 RSC Outdoor Championship to conclude her sophomore year last April. She placed first in the 5,000-meter racewalk with an NAIA ‘B’ standard finish. 


Since her debut race, Lee-Hauser has been trying to improve her time by implementing specific training. 


“I do about one workout a week when it comes to racewalking because I’m also still training for the 5k and stuff like that during track,” Lee-Hauser said. “So one of my coaches ended up allowing a volunteer coach that came from another NAIA school to help train me for racewalk.”


While training for multiple events at once, Lee-Hauser must unconventionally train in order to better her time and form in the racewalk. 


“I also do some walks around Pittsburgh, which is a little silly,” Lee-Hauser said. “I get some weird looks, but, you know, whatever to help me train and get better.”


The special training not only led Lee-Hauser to an NAIA ‘A’ standard time, but she made Point Park history in the process.


“It’s pretty surreal, just knowing that I’m the first ever Point Park woman to go to nationals for racewalk,” Lee-Hauser said. “And also, it’s really wonderful to have that faith and support in myself knowing that I can do it because, you know, racewalk is a very weird sport and event.”


Lee-Hauser embraces the peculiarities of racewalking, knowing that it is an unfamiliar event for most people.


“I feel silly doing it, and everyone thinks I look silly doing it,” Lee-Hauser said. “But knowing that I’m trying to be the best athlete I can be [while helping] my team out is pretty rewarding.”


Lee-Hauser has already competed in the racewalk twice this indoor season, so her next meet will be the RSC Championships.


“Hopefully, I get my time down even more,” Lee-Hauser said. “I’ve been training very hard. I want to even get it down farther and become an All-American with it.”


Lee-Hauser will compete in the racewalk at the RSC Indoor Track & Field Championships on February 17.

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