An uphill battle

Injuries are common throughout all athletics, but a special injury has burdened rising star, Emma Kearney ´21.

They walk in unison to the open field, all singing the Trojan cross country song. The girls line up and cramp together as tightly as possible. They try to suppress the feeling of anxiety and focus on staying calm. For Emma Kearney ‘21,  the pressure to remain level-headed is greater than most runners.

Although most runners experience the occasional sprain or tear, Kearney is plagued with an injury unlike most. A problem with her vocal cords hinders her ability to do her best in workouts and meets. This condition makes breathing very difficult while doing high-intensity exercise.

“Mentally I have to stay as calm and focused as possible because as soon as I start to freak out it takes over,” Kearney said. “Physically I’m going to go to speech therapy but my first appointment is in two weeks, so I haven’t done anything physically.”

Although Kearney is afflicted by this condition, she doesn’t let that stop her from having high ambition. One of Kearney’s main goals is to qualify and run at state, which is a common goal for most varsity runners.

As a result of her intense summer training, that goal is achievable according to the girl’s cross country coach, Mike Parker. Parker also considers Kearney to be one of the top runners due to her endurance and experience as a distance runner on the track and field team. 

“Yeah, no doubt about that. This year she’s had a great summer training so I think that’s put her in a position this year to really do well,” Parker said. “She did great during track last year, she was on a four by eight state discord so I just think all those things together have led to where she’s at now.”

Emma is really good at having a positive attitude,” Elizade said. “Every day at practice she is always encouraging and leading by example. ”

Erin Elizade ‘20, a fellow teammate of Kearney, agrees with Parker. Elizade has seen Kearney’s hard work and leadership displayed during practices. Elizade also notes that Kearney is a fighter who always stays optimistic. 

“Emma is really good at having a positive attitude,” Elizade said. “Every day at practice she is always encouraging and leading by example.”

Another component of Kearney’s success is the team environment. Before each race, the girls shake each others hands and wish good luck to each of the girls that are running. Kearney also acknowledges the family-like relationships between her and her teammates. 

“My favorite part about running is the people and the environment. Everyone is nice, supportive and overall just great people,” Kearney said. 

Although Kearney enjoys the sense of belonging and accomplishment felt after a workout, she is uncertain about her future. Kearney does hope to continue running after high school, but believes that she’ll prefer to run for leisure.

I want to continue running in college but maybe more in a running club than running for a college,” Kearney said.