UCC opened the doors to a lot more than academics. William also discovered athletics, and the power of teamwork.
ROSEBURG, Oregon – For Umpqua Community College (UCC) alumnus William Turner, academics have always come first. The Sutherlin native and A-achieving student, who was home-schooled for 10 years, was reintroduced to formal classroom learning his senior year in high school. One year later, after graduating with four other students at Geneva Academy in Roseburg, he started his journey at UCC in the Fall of 2016.
“I chose UCC for a number of reasons,” he said. “One of the main reasons is that I applied for the UCC Scholars program and was accepted. That was huge. It helped me pay for an entire associate degree.”
The UCC Scholars program is designed to open the doors for local high achieving high school and home-school students who want to go to college, but might not be able to afford it. For Turner, it opened the doors to a lot more than academics. He discovered athletics, and the power of teamwork.
“I was talking to a friend about sports, and wanted to do something,” he said. “It was around the time that obstacle course racing started, and I thought it sounded kind of cool.”
While steadily learning and earning his way through a transfer degree with an interest in business, and successfully completing the Police Reserve Academy with a few outstanding honors, Turner and one other teammate became the first two athletes to sign with the team. It was then that the first-time athlete started working out.
“We worked out four to five hours a week as a team, and then I went out on my own and personally doubled it,” he said. “8 to 13 mile runs, dead lifting, tire flipping, climbing, carrying buckets of gravel… I loved the challenges. I even got to swim the length of a football field, and I can’t swim.”
By the time Fall rolled around, Turner was one of 14 on the College’s inaugural obstacle course racing team. Along with improving himself physically and personally throughout the season, he built a network of support that will last him a lifetime.
“I have connected with people here who will be lifelong friends,” he said. “We eat dinner together, play cards together, watch movies together, workout together. We help each other out.”
Turner ended the season with many personal bests. He also completed his studies at UCC at the end of March. He intends to complete a bachelor’s degree in Business, and then join the U.S. Army Special Forces or ranger battalion. His dream job is to become an FBI agent. Wherever he ends up, he will always remember his experience at UCC.
“I’ve taken a lot of classes, studied, helped others, challenged myself, and built a lifelong network,” he said. “I’ve learned that you get out exactly what you put into it.”
For more information on UCC Obstacle Course Racing, visit www.uccriverhawks.com.
About Umpqua Community College
Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.
Coach, Obstacle Course Racing
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UCC Scholars Program