Sophomore sprinter Emily Van Heel is a three time All-American track and field athlete. In four indoor and outdoor seasons, she has been the Tommies’ top point scorer in every conference championship meet she has participated in.
With the outdoor season just starting, Van Heel has already posted second place performances in the 100 meter dash, the 200 meter dash and the triple jump.
Coach Joe Sweeney said Van Heel is a great teammate.
“She’ll do anything she can to help the team win and that’s really important. You never want a star athlete to be a reluctant participant when you’re trying to win championships,” said Sweeney
Van Heel also ran in the winning 4×100 relay that was .40 seconds away from beating the Tommies’ best recorded time last year. Sweeney said Van Heel’s versatility has helped her dominate the competition.
“One of the challenges is using her in the right way because she can help you in so many ways,” Sweeney said.
Van Heel said it is her strong desire to reach the finish line that sets her apart from the pack.
“It’s pretty much just driving toward the finish line, even those last two strides mean a lot, so you go all the way through and just pushing,” Van Heel said. “I know we were on a 400 [meter race] and it hurts really bad at the end, but all you have to do is fight through it.”
Sophomore sprinter Maggie Harris said it is not only Van Heel’s athleticism that helps her teammate be a star but her humble attitude as well.
“She’s an amazing athlete and she doesn’t have to talk about how great she is, she just goes out there and she competes in her events and she does really well,” Harris said.
Even after a great start to the season, Van Heel said her best times are yet to come.
“[I’m] definitely not seeing the times that are going to be my best yet for sure,” Van Heel said.
Sara Kovach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.