Family tradition: Emily Christian signs up to run in King | Sports


CHURCH HILL — A healthy sibling rivalry in a health-conscious family led to a fourth college athletic scholarship.

On Friday afternoon, Emily Christian became the fourth daughter in the family to win an athletic scholarship, signing a letter of intent with King’s University at a signing ceremony in Volunteer’s gymnasium.

“His sister Whitney goes to King, Megan to Milligan and Katie to King to do stunts,” said Sam Barton, Church Hill athletics coach and assistant volunteer coach. “So she comes from a line of athletes.”

“It gave us a lot of encouragement,” said Emily, who has been racing track since second grade. “We encourage each other and we always want to push each other to be better than each other. Of course, this sibling rivalry and all that really pushes us all.

“It’s fun because it’s always something to talk about. It’s always something that comes up in conversation. If I beat one of my sisters, that’s what we’re talking about,” Emily laughed.

“It’s a privilege to coach,” Barton said. “I’ve had it since middle school, so this is my sixth year with it. She won the college long jump state championship, so she was always a top athlete.

“She never really complained about anything. She is ready for anything. She wasn’t a hurdler in college, but I kind of turned her into that. She started her freshman year, then lost her second year to COVID. So she’s really technically, she’s only been doing it (regularly) for two years,” Barton said.

“She can do just about anything. That’s why we’re going to have her run the pentathlon. She’s kind of an all-around athlete who can do just about anything. She comes from a good family. “said Barton.

“She’s been part of our track and field program for four years now,” said Jim Ailshie, volunteer track and field coach. “She is an extremely hard worker. We really start athletics the first part of November and work on hurdles and conditioning until when we start our season in March. And I think she organized some indoor competitions.

“We almost cut to the chase, to be an elite competitive runner in high school, you have to train almost all year round. Sure, she plays volleyball, but she really doesn’t take many breaks. And through her hard work, she had great accomplishments during her time at Volunteer,” Ailshie said.

“She is about to break the 300m hurdles record. I think she ran 48.73, which is currently the best return time in the 300 meter hurdles in the AA classification. And right now, even after her time this year, 50.7 or somewhere there, she’s ranked number one in the AA rankings,” Ailshie said.

“In the 100 hurdles, she ran 17.07 in the section last year and missed out on state qualifying by 0.02 and finished fifth. But on a good day, she could finish in the state’s top three next May. It’s just three stages and how many obstacles you can clear in three stages. And if she can finish all 10s like she did last year, she can run a phenomenal time. Her best time was when she cleared all 10 obstacles in three steps,” Ailshie said.

“Long jump, her best distance is 16-7, which is an exceptional jump. Every time you go over 16 feet, you do extremely well. I think right now she’s ranked fourth in the AA rankings said Ailshie, who spoke about the importance of all-around athletes.

“As a team, when someone can do multiple events, like Emily with the pentathlon, the two hurdles, the relays – those are the types of athletes that colleges are looking for because it adds depth to your team of college track where you can rack up more points,” Ailshie said.

“So she will be very valuable to King. I think it’s just a great opportunity for her to compete at the NCAA Division 2 level,” Ailshie said.

“In college, it depends on what they want her to do,” Barton said. “She can occupy different positions. It’s very valuable in college, whether it’s long jump or hurdles, or if they want her to do the pentathlon or something.

“She is very fast too. She’s not just a hedge. She can also run the 200m and take part in the relays. It’s a kind of Swiss army knife. You can put it almost anywhere you want. When you have an athlete who can do just about anything and complete, it helps your team as a whole,” Barton said.

Christian was all smiles on signing day.

“I feel great, excited,” she said. “It’s really indicative of what’s really going to happen in the next few years. Whitney ran track there and then graduated in December. Katie is here. She will be there for her senior year.

Christian said that factored into his signing with King.

“It made the decision a little easier because just the feeling of having my sister there,” Emily said. “Then I will know someone there. And I know a lot of people through Katie and Whitney, so that makes it a little easier.

Christian plans to major in education.

“I want to teach elementary and be part of a school system so I can coach,” said Christian, who spoke with coaches from King’s program. “I spoke with them about doing the long jump, hurdles, of course, and some sprints. I like the 200. Otherwise, the 100 hurdles.

Before that, of course, is his senior season at Volunteer with some goals Christian would like to achieve.

“They take the top four for the state,” she said. “Last year I finished fifth by 0.05 seconds. So, I’m really hoping to get to the state this year and I’m really pushing for it. The best shot I have right now going to the state is in 300 hurdles. And, of course, I could probably do 100 hurdles too, and maybe do some long jumping. And our 4×100 relay also has a very good chance.

Christian’s personal goals align with the team’s goal of qualifying for statehood as a team, which is fitting given what she’s named as the high point of her career. in high school at Volunteer.

“Team cohesion,” she said. “I feel like this year is the year we’ve been closest as a team on the track.”


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