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Home Far, Far, Far Away From Home

By Jon Painter
On September 12, 2016

Photo by: Ashley Alonzo

The average student-athlete at Ottawa University resides 704 miles away from their hometown -- an astounding distance! Globalization is at its finest and OU is at the forefront.

The numbers says that female student-athletes have traveled farther than males with a mean distance of 806 miles, whereas male student-athletes have an average distance of 618 miles.

Leading the way is the women’s tennis team. With multiple players hailing from Australia, they averaged a distance traveled of 2,919 miles. The men’s tennis team had a distance of 1,610 miles. Finally, with a distance of 1,007 miles, the men’s lacrosse team rounded out the top three.

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and the numbers at OU reflect that with multiple players coming from overseas. Thus aiding a statistical rarity at OU, whereas the men’s soccer team outdistanced their Lady Braves counterparts with distances of 981 miles to 886 miles.

Basketball, another increasingly international sport, showed that the Lady Braves basketball players traveled 481 miles to come to OU while the men’s team has an average distance of 296 miles. Distances traveled by OU wrestlers also tilted in favor of the Lady Braves as they came a distance of 751 miles compared to 444 miles by the men’s team. Despite being able to tee off closer to the green, the women’s golf team had to travel farther than the men’s with average journeys of 485 versus 206 miles.

Now to the gridiron, the undisputed king in the United States. OU football players journeyed on average 446 miles to Ottawa, KS -- that distance is an equivalent of over 6,500 football fields!

One of Ottawa University’s newest sports is men’s volleyball, but that has not hindered athletes from going to great length to reach this opportunity. With many volleyball players residing in sunny California, both men and women teams traveled an average of 954 miles to bump, set and spike. 

Softball players traveled an average distance of 439 miles to Ottawa. Baseball on the other hand, has an average distance away from home of 336 miles. Pitching coach and self-proclaimed “Nebraska boy” Zach Gerch was not surprised at all by the high mileages that baseball players traveled.

“As an athlete based school, we are looking for the most talented players to fit into our program, which means sometimes we have to recruit out of state,” Gerch says.

OU athletes have come from all over the globe. Athletics bring many people to Ottawa -- a place few would even know of otherwise. Being far from home is a challenge, but at the same time, it brings students closer to their fellow Braves.  

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