Leaping Over the Hurdles into Elana’s Life

Sarah Clark, Senior Editor

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Elana Emerson is currently a senior at Cuba-Rushford who has attended school here all her life. She is going to attend Genesee Community College this fall and pursue a degree in the medical field with her dream job being a neonatal nurse practitioner. When she is at home, she tends to her farm with six steers and six chickens. She also owns three cats and a dog. Along with her animals, she has a younger brother and a sister who is already in college. During her career as a high school athlete, Elana has participated in volleyball, track, and swimming.

This year, the Cuba-Rushford girl’s volleyball team won sectionals against HAC (Harley Allendale Columbia). Elana has played volleyball for eight years and so it is evident that it has become a large aspect of her life. She started playing the sport because she had always had interest in it and she saw her cousin play and really wanted to try it out for herself. Then in fifth grade, she attended a volleyball camp and enjoyed that, so she continued playing the sport up to and including her senior year. For Elana, winning sectionals was her favorite sports moment of the year in volleyball. In her sophomore year the team lost in semi-finals and in her junior year the team lost in finals, so winning finals this year was “very exciting and emotional” for her. When speaking to her volleyball coach Mr. Tompkins, Elana was described as intense, hard-working, and relentless in a sense that “when she gets herself stuck on something, that’s all she’s focused on, it doesn’t matter whatever else is going on.” It was also noted that “Elana is the type of person who expects a ton out of herself no matter what it is, and the nice thing to see is she’s willing to work at it.” With others, sometimes they want to accomplish great things but are not willing to put in the time to accomplish those things, but with Elana, her actions match up with her goals.

Another sport Elana has been involved in is swimming. She did not get the chance to participate in the sport this year due to the fact that she would rather focus on her studies because she is in New Visions and their curriculum is difficult. She felt she would “have too much to juggle” and so she took a break from sports for the winter season. It is still evident however that she has a love for swimming as she has been active in the sport for four years. During her time in swimming, she also won the Rebel award for this sport.

With the spring sport season starting up this past week, Elana chose to continue with track. She has participated in track for five years now. This year, she is “so excited for the start of the season, and although it’s difficult at times she wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.” She is also very eager to reconnect with her team and see the members of her team that she would not regularly see in the average school day. For regular track meets, Elana competes in the 100 meter hurdles, the triple jump, the high jump, and on the occasion the 4 by 4. For invitations, she mainly sticks to the same events but sometimes she will partake in the long jump, shot put, and run an 800 meter run. During practices, she warms up with the team but often goes off on her own to practice for hurdles, the high jump, the long jump, and the triple jump. She has also won a sportsmanship award for track which also portrays the kind of athlete she is. When talking to her coach Mr. Volz, she was described as hard-working, dedicated, and enjoyable. “Sometimes you get a special athlete that comes in and says okay, what event can I do that no one else is really stepping up to do and try to make that my own, and Elana has been doing that with the hurdles. Hurdles are not something that most athletes just want to do. It takes a lot of work and dedication. Now that we’re getting into Elana’s senior year, the improvement I’ve seen in her from when she first started is really a testament to her hard work.” Elana has positively impacted her team and consistently works hard to achieve anything she puts her mind to.
Elana has also shown the qualities of a leader throughout the years she has participated in sports. Mr. Volz has described her as “a leader by doing.” Some students just automatically assume that because they are a senior, that means they are a team leader and others must listen to them. With Elana, this is not the case as “she wants to improve herself, but she also wants the team to improve themselves.” She always does things the right way to the best of her abilities and not just to get them done and over with. This also is not just something she displays in track as her volleyball coach, Mr. Tompkins, has stated that Elana is “a good model of what someone should strive to be as an athlete.” Throughout her entire high school career in volleyball, she has improved in “all aspects of her game” every year. She still continues to put in the hard work and effort required to be the athlete she is today, even as her senior year comes to an end.

Although she is an avid lover of sports, she is most likely only going to join clubs in college and not play sports because they take up too much time that she will not have. Her major, nursing, will be what occupies most of her available time. Even though she will not be participating in sports throughout college, sports have still taught her valuable life lessons including that she should “never give up on what [she thinks she] can accomplish.” To anyone that is even considering trying out for a sport, she advises them to “go for it as it’s high school and they only get a certain amount of time to try new things, but to keep an open mind that they’re not going to be as great at the sport as they think in the beginning. If they work at it, they’ll accomplish many things with it.”

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