Athlete Profile: Emily Scanlan

by: PHIL HAWKINS - North Marion Middle School's Emily Scanlan set the schools all-time long jump record at 13-10 in May and added a pair of seventh-grade records in the high jump (4-9) and 100 hurdles (19.14) in just her second year of competition.When North Marion High School hosted the Tri-Valley District Track and Field Championships one month ago, Huskies senior Veronica Norris cleared 4-10 in the high jump to snag the second of two conference qualifying positions to the 4A OSAA Track and Field State Championships.

Not far behind was Emily Scanlan, who finished just one inch shy of Norris to qualify for the high school state track meet. Or at least she would have, if Scanlan had actually been competing that day.

Scanlan, who is entering her final year at North Marion Middle School this fall, won the middle school district championship in the high jump on May 8 with a personal-record mark of 4-9, a full seven inches better than the runner up from Mark Twain Middle School.

Not only was the height a personal best for Scanlan, it was the best mark out of any seventh-grader to walk through North Marion Middle School’s halls. It was one of two school records Scanlan claimed that day, going along with setting the school’s record at any grade level in the long jump with a second-place jump of 13-10.

“It was really exhilarating,” Scanlan said. “As soon as I beat my high jump record I was so happy. And with the hurdles and the long jump, it was just a great feeling.”

Scanlan is referring to the school’s seventh-grade record in the 100 hurdles she had set the week before with a first-place time of 19.14. She just missed out on that time at districts, but still came home with a second district title after coming in first in 19.34.

A three-sport athlete in basketball and volleyball, Scanlan has the athletic frame and long stride of track and field athlete. Although she’s only been competing in track for two years, her natural affinity for the sport has made her a natural in the sprints and jumps.

“I just started in sixth grade because they didn’t have it earlier,” she said. They only had jog-a-thons and mile runs. When I got into middle school, my parents talked about track and I thought, ‘Oh, I really want to do that. It sounds fun.’”

Scanlan admits that her long legs are a key advantage in events that require running and jumping like the long jump, which she tried last year as a sixth-grader. This past spring, she added the hurdles and high jump to her repertoire and quickly realized that she had a shot at breaking several school records.

“There’s a plaque in our school and it shows all the different records in our grades for boys and girls,” she said. “My mom saw them and we both wrote them down. I wanted to beat those goals.”

Scanlan opened the season in April with a mark of 4-4 in the high jump and 11-11 in the long jump. She added two inches to her high jump height and a foot to her long jump mark in the middle of the season before pulling out her PR-performances at districts.

While her time in the hurdles and mark in the long jump would have put her around 10th in the high school district standings, Scanlan’s height in the high jump would have been good enough for fourth place at the district qualifier. She has one more year of competition before moving up to the high school level, but Scanlan is already pleased with her current accomplishments as she seeks to improve over the summer and into next season.

“It makes me happy in that I know I’ll be able to accomplish what I want to accomplish,” she said. “I know I’ll do really well in district track meets.”

Being fairly new to the sport, Scanlan is open to trying out new events as she continues to build on her successful season. Although she’s content with the four events she competed in this year, she’s leaving the door open for new possibilities in eighth grade.

“I think I could try out some other track events, but I just have to see how it goes,” she said. “If I find that I really like another event, then I’ll stick to that.”

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