By Victoria Chavers, Staff Writer —
In her extracurricular career, Cross Country senior Emily Poole has always tried to break away from the crowd with her talents.
A native of Ringgold, Ga., Poole attended Heritage High School, where she graduated third in her class with a 4.0 GPA. She also ran cross country and played the saxophone in marching band.
Despite enjoying band, she decided to give it up her senior year to commit to cross country, a sport that was a complete struggle for the standout Moc since her middle school years.
“In sixth grade, I was too slow to be on the team,” Poole recalled. “Then in seventh grade I was JV most of the time. My senior year I was finally, like, the first person on the team. I wasn’t on top till then.”
At the last meet, the Greater Louisville Classic, Emily placed 18th overall—the number one Moc that day.
Those races, though, are few and far in between. A typical week for the Cross Country team is part of a two-week cycle to prepare for the bi-monthly races.
“The week before a race week, we do a workout on Monday and Thursday,” Poole explained. “Then we do a long run. We do workouts, recovery, and long runs, basically.”
Although she probably won’t keep up such a rigorous routine after graduation, she enjoys occasionally running or jogging for fun.
Poole prefers longer races over short ones but enjoys running 5ks to see the progress she’s made since middle school. She also enjoys watching her teammates run, and admits she’s not fast enough to be part of the relay team but says they’re fun to watch. Cross country is a sport where the only cheerleaders are the other members of the team.
“Cross country is definitely not a popular sport,” Poole said. “People are going to watch football and basketball games, but not a lot of people come to watch track meets.”
Due to UTC’s lack of a track, it can be hard for students to support their fellow classmates at track meets. Most tracks have bleachers or stadiums, and Emily thinks people might actually go watch them run if they had somewhere to watch.
“I definitely enjoy watching people after I’m done with my race,” Poole said. “Maybe if we had a home stadium with bleachers, people would go.”
While she was in high school, Emily’s band actually came and played pep music to support the cross country team at a tournament.
“It was pretty awesome,” Poole reminisced. “I loved our band director. He was very supportive of [cross country].”
Poole will graduate with a Criminal Justice degree from UTC in May and immediately start graduate school to pursue a career in law enforcement.
Next up on the cross country slate is the Berry College Invitational on October 13.