When Rajer Gurode started running track in 5th grade, every finish line signified the beginning of the next race. She’s a well-decorated athlete currently holding two school records in her sophomore year at Sam Houston. “After the 5th grade track meet, I knew this was for me. To get 4th in a big, big competition like that, I was just like ‘yeah, I like this,” says Gurode with a big smile on her face.
Rajer Gurode grew up in Bryan, Texas attending Bryan High School where she finished third in the 4×100 at the Killeen ISD Relays. She was a 3-time All-District Track Meet champion, citing the competition at Bryan High School as motivation. In 2020, she finished second in the 100-yard sprint with a time of 12.24.
“My freshman year [of high school], I ended up breaking a record and I was like, I want to do this again,” she says. “In the moment I was excited, but then it was time to move on and break [records] some more.”
Since starting at Sam Houston last spring, Gurode has had 11 first-place finishes with almost every other placement being in the top five. In her first month at Sam Houston, only five out of 17 of her placements were out of the top five, and in two events, she placed first.
Speaking of her journey to track, “I tried basketball and volleyball, but they were too slow for me because I would sprint up and down the court,” says Gurode.
It’s no coincidence that Gurode’s best events are the 60-meter sprints. At the Howie Ryan Invitational in February of 2022, Gurode’s first 60-meter was 7.53 seconds. Her second, .03 seconds faster. That same month, Rajer Gurode was named the Western Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week.
A month later, Gurode captured first at the TSU Relays in an old favorite, the 4×100 with a time of 45.85. After this event, she hit her stride. Gurode had two first-place finishes at the J Fred Duckett Twilight Meet in April of 2022, in the 4×100 and 200-meter sprint.
In May of 2022, Gurode saw her first championship. She competed at the 2022 WAC Outdoor Track & Field Championship, finishing first in the 100-meter sprint with a time of 11.65 seconds.
On January 29th, 2023, Rajer Gurode set a school record at the Houston Invitational. She ran a 60-meter with a time of 7.38 seconds, making her the top collegiate finisher in the final. Almost exactly a month later, she broke her own record with a time of 7.33 seconds. The next day, at the WAC Indoor Track & Field National Championships, Rajer Gurode did it again, this time in the 200-meter sprint, with a time of 23.73 seconds.
“They have a record board in the field house that I look at every day, I was like, ‘I can beat that’. So I worked hard every day and the record was mine,” says Gurode, adding, “it’s normal for me to win.”
Rajer Gurode finds her happy place on the track, striving for records and sprinting for championships. She uses any anxiety she experiences as motivation, and focuses on her goals. “It helps me clear my mind,” she explains, “all I want to do is run.”